Gastric bypass is a surgery performed to help in weight loss. Roux-en-Y is a common gastric bypass procedure. The procedure entails the reduction of the stomach size. “The gastric bypass surgery makes it possible for food to bypass a part of the small intestine1”. The small intestine is an organ of the body that allows the absorption of food into the bloodstream. Therefore bypassing a part of it only allows fewer calories to be absorbed in the bloodstream. Moreover, the reduction of the stomach size means that a person can only eat small amounts of food because it cannot hold large amounts. This helps to lose weight by causing consumption of fewer calories hence weight loss1.
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Why gastric bypass is done
A gastric bypass procedure is done on people who have obesity. Obesity is a major health problem and people who try to lose weight in traditional methods and fail to opt to go for gastric bypass. This is done to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with obesity. The operation is carried out in people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 and even higher2. Sometimes a patient may have a life-threatening condition due to being overweight and the procedure is recommended. For a person to qualify for gastric bypass one should have been obese for quite a long time. One should not be an alcoholic at the time of surgery or have untreated major psychiatric diseases. One must be over 18 years to be eligible for the procedure4.
Nutrition before gastric bypass
Before undergoing gastric bypass, it is important to have proper nutrition. Some physicians may ask their patients to lose some weight before gastric bypass3 as it makes losing weight after the surgery more successful. To lose this weight a patient may be required to change their diet and stick to a healthy diet. This may include taking a lot of water, eating foods rich in protein as well as exercising4. A patient should also eat fewer calories as this will help to get used to eating less. This is important because they will be in a better position to adapt to eating less, which is required after the surgery. Thus, a patient should consult a nutritionist prior to the procedure. The nutritionist will assess the patient and know their nutritional needs3. The nutritionist can recommend a diet for the patient that has fewer carbohydrates and fats especially saturated fats and refined sugars. This is important to reduce the deposition of fat around the midsection, which is the spot for surgical operation. The protein-rich foods help to supply the patient with sufficient proteins to avoid loss of muscle tissue because carbohydrates calories are cut therefore there is protein sparing and reduced muscle loss4.
Nutrition after gastric bypass
Post gastric bypass diet is very important for the patients. Patients who have undergone gastric bypass have been shown by analysis to exhibit various nutrient deficiencies caused by “malabsorption and changes in intake” 3(p82). This may require patients to take nutrients and vitamins supplements. Patients are required to alter their eating patterns greatly after going through gastric bypass. The patient must eat small amounts of food at each one time because the size of the stomach is small. Food must be eaten slowly and chewed to mush. This is done to avoid vomiting that may occur frequently causing a lot of pain to the patient. The patient should also observe a 30/30 rule this means that he or she cannot take liquids thirty minutes before and after eating because the stomach does not have space to hold food and liquids at the same time5. Patients must also avoid foods that have simple sugars. The sugars may cause a dumping syndrome. The syndrome is caused by food moving rapidly through the intestine as well as the stomach. This may cause sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat and severe diarrhea.
A patient also needs to see the surgeon for follow-up checkups to see if the body is healing well3. One should also avoid excessive intake of food after the surgery as this may cause complications such as vomiting and nausea. Overeating and eating the wrong types of food may cause ulcers or even worse rupture of the stomach. Therefore, it is important to follow postoperative instructions carefully to avoid troubles in recovering and achieve the goal of losing weight because the procedure has a success rate of between 70% and 80%2.
Finally, the gastric bypass procedure has become very attractive due to fewer complications associated with the new procedure Roux-en-Y. The procedure has helped people to lose weight and lead healthier lives. The surgery reduces the chances of dying from heart diseases, diabetes and other conditions associated with obesity. However, it is important to remember that all surgeries have their risks. Gastric bypass is associated with long-term problems such as osteoporosis due to a deficiency of nutrients. People should try to lead healthy lifestyles to avoid morbid obesity because this leads to health problems later. Meanwhile, we cannot underestimate the importance of gastric bypass in dealing with obesity.
Curtis, J. Gastric bypass. 2009.
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Coates, PS, Fernstrom, JD, Fernstrom, MH, Greenspan, S, Greenspan, SL. Gastric Bypass Surgery for Morbid Obesity Leads to an Increase in Bone Turnover and a Decrease in Bone Mass. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2004; 89(3): 1061-1065.
Surgerman HJ, Nguyen, N. Management of morbid obesity. New York: CRC Press; 2005.
McGowan, PM, McGowan, M, Chopra, JM. Gastric bypass surgery: everything you need to know to make an informed decision. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional; 2004.
- Curtis, J. Gastric bypass. 2009.
- Coates, PS, Fernstrom, JD, Fernstrom, MH, Greenspan, S, Greenspan, SL. Gastric Bypass Surgery for Morbid Obesity Leads to an Increase in Bone Turnover and a Decrease in Bone Mass. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2004; 89(3): 1061-1065.
- Surgerman HJ, Nguyen, N. Management of morbid obesity. New York: CRC Press; 2005.
- Pre-Surgery Bariatric Diet.
- McGowan, PM, McGowan, M, Chopra, JM. Gastric bypass surgery: everything you need to know to make an informed decision. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional; 2004.