What the Surgeon Does During Gastric Bypass Surgery
The surgeon will first talk over the procedure with you, explaining everything he/she will do. They will explain how they expect recovery to go if your surgery goes textbook well, and you’ll be given another scenario on what can happen when things go wrong.
Just like a marriage, gastric bypass should never be entered into lightly. This is a lifetime commitment to changing your eating habits. Not only could you lose weight from this surgery, it’s quite possible to lose one’s life as well.
Believe it or not, as much as some people say they want to be thin, extreme weight loss, changes your life in dramatic ways. Sometimes your body isn’t the only thing that takes a beating; your personal life may suffer as well. Sometimes a person may not be able to adapt to their new life. Some miss the food, some miss being the fat girl/boy. Some become promiscuous. Marriages often fall apart. Most surgeons require psychological counseling prior to surgery to determine whether or not their patients will be able to handle the enormous changes they need to implement in their lives.
During gastric bypass surgery the surgeon detaches the larger portion of the stomach and sews it closed. However, the detached portion is left in place, still hooked up to blood supply; this keeps it available should a new stomach ever need to be fashioned from the remaining tissue. A new, much smaller, pouch is created out of the reserved upper part of the stomach. Then the bowel is detached from the unused portion of the surplus stomach and reattached to the tiny new pouch which is between the size of a walnut and an egg. This results in a much smaller stoma which will hold much less than the old stomach used to hold. This will severely restrict the amount of food the patient can take in, resulting in weight loss. Sometimes a portion of the bowel is also removed. The more bowel which is removed, the less calories (and nourishment) the patient will absorb after surgery which will result in additional weight loss. (However, the removal of bowel can also increase the risk of the patient suffering chronic diarrhea.)
Directly after surgery the patient will be unable to eat at all until it is established that there are no leaks in the new stoma. Once they have determined that there are no leaks, the patient will be placed on a clear liquid diet at first and then slowly introduced to soft foods. Patients often eat out of baby spoons. At this stage a full meal will fit in a cold medicine dosage cup. Patients are encouraged to get up and start walking for exercise, usually within the first few hours after surgery.
Hospital stay times have been cut to only a few days in most cases, especially if the patient suffered no complications and was able to have the surgery done laparoscopically. Sometimes longer hospital stays may need to be much longer if infections or complications are a factor.