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Gastric Bypass Surgery

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Learn more about gastric bypass surgery at King Edward VII’s Hospital

We know taking the first steps towards weight loss surgery can be daunting.  Here you can find out more about our London weight loss surgery specialists and find out if this treatment is the right option for you. On this page King Edward VII’s Hospital London bariatric consultants answer your questions about the procedure.

Why would I need gastric bypass surgery?

The majority of patients requiring gastric bypass surgery need it because they’re very obese and they’ve struggled to lose weight via other means including diet and exercise.

What symptoms does gastric bypass surgery address?

Being obese means having a BMI (body mass index) of 40 or above (or a BMI of 35 or above along with a condition such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure that’s associated with obesity).

Gastric bypass surgery shrinks the stomach so that you’re unable to eat very much before feeling full and therefore do not consume as many calories. This means that it will help you lose weight and reduce your risk of or manage other health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

When should you speak to your specialist about gastric bypass surgery?

If you’re very overweight or obese and you have other health problems associated with your weight, then speak to your GP about gastric bypass surgery. They may discuss a healthy lifestyle diet and exercise plan with you. If this proves unsuccessful, then you may be eligible for gastric bypass surgery.

How is gastric bypass surgery performed?

Gastric bypass surgery is performed under general anaesthetic meaning that you’ll be asleep throughout. It’s a type of keyhole surgery and your surgeon will make a few small cuts in your abdomen and use long, thin surgical instruments to gain access to your stomach.

They’ll then use surgical staples to create a small pouch at the bottom of your oesophagus where it meets your stomach. Food will then enter this small pouch, bypassing the rest of your stomach, before passing to your small intestine.

The procedure takes between one and two hours.

What is the recovery like for gastric bypass surgery?

Your recovery from gastric bypass surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure.

Your nursing team will help you get out of bed once you’ve recovered from the anaesthetic and will give you advice on how best to recover and look after your surgical wounds based on information from your surgeon.

Most patients can go home from hospital two days after surgery and fully recover within three weeks.

It’s normal to begin a liquid only diet after gastric bypass surgery and you’ll be given advice on moving onto pureed and mashed food before introducing small amounts of solid foods around six weeks after surgery. You will also be given advice on any vitamin supplements you may need.

It’s important that you follow the diet given to you by your surgeon in order for your surgery to be a success.

Are there any risks/complications associated with gastric bypass surgery?

As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist or surgeon beforehand will help you avoid any adverse reactions.

Gastric bypass surgery has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:

• Bleeding
• An infection at the surgical site
• Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
• Swelling
• Nerve damage
• A leak from your stomach into your abdomen
• Gallstones
• Hernia
• Stomach ulcer

How can I prepare for gastric bypass surgery?

Prior to gastric bypass surgery, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare, as each patient is different with different needs.

Common preparations for gastric bypass surgery include:

• Routine blood tests, x rays or scans as requested by your surgeon
• Taking steps to stop smoking if you smoke
• Attempting to lose weight
• Remaining active and doing regular exercise

Are there alternatives for gastric bypass surgery?

Diet and exercise can help many people to lose weight but if you’re struggling to lose weight via these means, then a gastric bypass may be the best option for you. You may also be eligible for different weight loss surgery, including a mini gastric bypass or a gastric band.




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