Gastric Bypass Surgery Risks

What are the common gastric bypass surgery risks? Should you undergo this invasive procedure?

People that are grossly overweight often choose to have gastric bypass surgery. This procedure changes the way your stomach and small intestine handle the food that enters your body.

The operation can help you lose large amounts of weight. However, there are several cosmetic surgery risks involved.

The surgery physically shrinks the size of your stomach, so that you will not be able to eat as much. You will feel full with a much smaller amount of food.

Gastric bypass surgery is an extreme response to hyper obesity

The Procedure

You will be put out for the operation with general anesthesia, so you won't feel a thing.

The first step is to make the stomach smaller. Your stomach will be divided with staples – small on top and larger on the bottom.

The small top section is now the only place for the food to go. This section is called the pouch, and is about the size of a walnut. It can only hold about one ounce of food.

The second step is to bypass the lower part of your stomach. The surgeon connects a section of the small intestine to a hole in the pouch. Everything you eat will now pass through this new opening and go into the small intestine. This means your body absorbs fewer calories.

Open vs. Keyhole Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is done by either open surgery, or by "keyhole" surgery through a laparoscope.

With open surgery, your belly is opened with a large surgical cut. The surgeon performs the operation with your stomach and other organs exposed.

Laparoscope is done with a small camera. The surgeon will first make four to six small incisions on specific areas of your belly.

The camera is inserted into one cut so that the surgeon can see what is going on inside on the external monitor. The other cuts are for the various instruments the surgeon needs to perform the surgery.

There are many advantages of laparoscopy. The biggest advantage is that you are not opened up, so the risk of infecting your other organs is greatly reduced.

Other advantages include a shorter hospital stay, less pain, faster recovery and smaller scars.

Not an Obesity Cure

Gastric bypass surgery is not an instant cure for obesity. It helps to reduce the amount of calories absorbed by your body, but you still have to stick to a healthy diet plan and exercise program.

You also have to know about the gastric bypass surgery risks, and how your life will be different after the surgery.

All possible risks should be discussed with your surgeon before you decide whether or not this is the right choice for you. Anesthesia and other gastric bypass surgery risks include:

  • Allergic reactions to medications
  • Blood loss
  • Blood clots
  • Breathing problems
  • Infections
  • Heart attack or stroke during or after surgery
Before you undergo gastric bypass procedures, learn the risk factors

You may have to have several tests before you are approved for the surgery. If you have certain health conditions, you may not qualify.

Smoking increases the risk of complications. You should quit smoking several weeks before the surgery, and not start up again after wards.

Tell your doctor if you may be pregnant. It is never a good idea to have any type of surgery while pregnant because the anesthesia could have serious effects on the fetus. Most doctors will refuse to give you anesthesia while pregnant – not even a local anesthetic for dental work.

You will not be able to eat for about three days after the surgery. After that you will be on liquids and then pureed foods for up to a week or more. During this time you will lose the most weight. But, drastic weight loss leaves your skin loose and saggy. You will want to get into your exercise routine as soon as possible.

Starting exercise too soon is dangerous. You should start slowly and let your pain be your guide. This is not the time to practice the old saying "no pain, no gain". If you feel the slightest bit of pain, stop what you are doing. Ignoring your pain can lead to a variety of complications, including ripping open your stitches and getting an infection.

Losing weight is a good idea for anyone with excess body weight. Being overweight is the cause of many diseases and health problems. If you don't think you can lose the weight you need to lose with diet and exercise alone, a gastric bypass might be the answer.

Just remember, gastric bypass surgery risks can be very serious. Read about other medical conditions related to obesity here.

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