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Gastric Bypass Surgery

AnMed Health’s gastric bypass surgery in Anderson aims to shrink the stomach down to control food intake and reduce calories. It is important to understand the gastric bypass surgery so you can make an informed decision about whether or not you should consider this type of weight loss surgery.



What is gastric bypass surgery?

Gastric bypass is a surgical procedure gastric is one of the most common bariatric surgeries done throughout the world. Gastric bypass surgery isn’t just about losing weight. It can reduce the risk of obesity-related health problems such as:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Cancer Infertility

How does gastric bypass surgery work?

Gastric bypass surgery shrinks the stomach down to a size that won’t hold as much food. The patient will get full much faster and therefore eat substantially fewer calories.

The gastric bypass surgeon creates two sections out of the stomach, essentially forming pouches. The upper pouch is small and sealed off from the lower one. It now serves as the stomach. The bottom pouch, known as the remnant, remains but does not process food.

The bariatric surgeon then cuts the small intestine and attaches it to the small, top pouch. As a result, food bypasses much of the stomach and enters the small intestine directly. The little pocket at the top that attaches to the small intestine holds just one ounce of food instead of the three ounces typically held by the whole stomach.

By connecting the small intestine directly to the top pouch, the design keeps bile from entering the part of the stomach and esophagus, too, which was a common problem with previous versions of the surgery.

Weight loss requires you to eat fewer calories than you burn to lose fat. Since everything you do, even the things you don’t think about like breathing, requires energy, you will burn a certain amount of calories a day just to survive. The exact number varies based on key factors like how much you weigh, your gender, and your age. A smaller stomach means you eat fewer calories and lose weight.

A Mayo Clinic study found that, on average, people lose about 70 percent of their total weight in two years after gastric bypass. They lose weight rapidly during the first six months, usually anywhere from five to 15 pounds a week. It will likely begin to taper off to one to two pounds after the six-month mark.

However, not everyone’s experience will be the same. Some people may lose weight at a faster rate than others. Some patients have different goals, and that affects what foods they eat. Someone looking to lose just half their weight goal in the first year may consume more calories than someone who wants to drop pounds faster.

Not everyone is a candidate for gastric bypass surgery

There are qualifications a physician will look for before recommending any bariatric surgery. They may vary depending on insurance provider qualifications but, on average, a candidate must fit into one of these categories:

  • They must have a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 40 or be more than 100 pounds overweight
  • They must have a BMI equal to or greater than 35 and at least one obesity-related co-morbidity
  • They must be unable to achieve healthy and sustainable weight loss over a timeframe despite their efforts

Two key phrases matter when determining qualification for gastric bypass: BMI and obesity-related comorbidity.

Body mass index is a value derived from the weight and height of a person. In other words, is your weight appropriate for your height. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 to 24.9. Anything under that is underweight. A BMI from 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and from 30 to 39.9 obese. BMIs over 39.9 is morbidly obese.

Obesity puts you at risk for developing medical problems known as comorbidities, which is why people decide to consult a gastric bypass surgeon in Anderson. The most common obesity-related comorbidity includes diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and cardiovascular disease. Losing weight can reduce your risk of these chronic illnesses. People diagnosed with diabetes can even reverse their condition entirely with lifestyle changes and weight loss.

Gastric bypass risks

Gastric bypass is major surgery, so it does come with some risks, including:

  • Excessive bleeding 
  • Infection
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Lung or respiratory issues
  •  Leaks in the gastrointestinal system

There are also long-term risks associated with gastric bypass procedure. It may increase your chances of:

  • Bowel obstruction
  • Gallstones
  • Hernias
  • Low blood sugar
  • Malnutrition
  • Stomach perforation
  • Ulcers
  • Vomiting

Dumping syndrome is a condition often seen with bariatric surgeries like gastric bypass. Dumping syndrome means that food and gastric juices move from the stomach to the small intestine abnormally fast. That quick movement can lead to symptoms like:

  • Nausea
  • Feeling bloated
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Dirrhea
  • Flushing
  • Rapid heart rate

Dumping syndrome can occur after the wrong foods, such as sugar. It is essential to report any signs of complications from gastric bypass surgery to your doctor.

Success rate of gastric bypass surgery

Anyone considering having gastric bypass surgery needs to understand both the potential benefits and the risks to decide if it’s right for them. One factor to think about is how successful this procedure is, too. Gastric bypass surgery costs can be high and come with risks, so how well it works is important information.

The general consensus is that the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass tends to have the best success rates of all the bariatric surgeries available. Long-term follow-up data indicate that people who have this procedure tend to lose about 65 percent of their total weight. About 85 percent of them manage to maintain 50 percent of their initial weight off, meaning they gain back about half of the weight they initially lose.

The failure rate for the surgery is only 10 to 15 percent. Failure would mean the surgery doesn’t work or needs to be reversed at some point. Serious complications like protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies are uncommon, but they do happen.

How Much Does Gastric Bypass Surgery Cost?

The cost of gastric bypass surgery depends on multiple factors, including whether the insurance covers the procedure. Some insurance companies do pay for bariatric surgery if you fit specific criteria. For example, they may pay for it if you have obesity-related co-morbidities such as diabetes. They may also agree to it if your BMI indicates morbid obesity.

Covering the procedure doesn’t necessarily mean they pay for it in full. Often policies require you to pay a percentage of the gastric bypass surgery cost via copayment or coinsurance fees. That may be a flat fee, such as $500 per surgery and $50 per office visit. Instead, your expense may be a percentage like 20 percent of the overall cost of the surgery.

It may be necessary to meet your deductible first, as well. So, if your policy carries a deductible of $5,000, you would have to pay that before the insurance kicks in with their portion of the payment.

Some insurance providers consider weight loss surgery as an exception. In other words, they list it as something they will not pay for even though they usually do cover some portions of a surgery. If that is the case, you would need to raise funds on your own.

Gastric bypass surgery costs can range between $20,000 and $25,000, although numerous factors impact the price. For example, the cost can vary based on the amount of recovery time you spend in the hospital. Rest assured that if you’re ready to pursue gastric bypass surgery, the team at AnMed Health can help you navigate all your costs and financial options so you know what to expect.

Preparing for gastric bypass surgery

Preparing for gastric bypass surgery starts months before the procedure. Usually, you begin learning how to live a healthier lifestyle, which includes managing calorie intake and exercising. The doctor may suggest that you maintain a regular workout routine that follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline of 150 hours of moderate exercise a week.

You should plan on eating between 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day, as well, or whatever range the physician suggests is right for you. It might be necessary to avoid caffeinated beverages up to one month prior to your surgery. The surgeon may ask you to meet a pre-op weight loss goal before scheduling the procedure, as well. For example, the healthcare provider may require you to lose 10 percent of your body weight upfront successfully.

Depending on your insurance provider’s requirements, you may have to take up to six months worth of lifestyle classes that provide instruction about diet and exercise. The classes can help target problematic eating patterns and cover potential nutritional issues. They might look for ways that you sabotage your healthy eating strategies, too.

It is necessary to undergo bariatric nutrition consultations to discuss post-surgical diet plans in some cases.

Some standard guidelines for prior to surgery include:

  • Eliminating the intake of saturated fats, including whole milk, fatty meat, and fried foods.
  • Eliminate or reduce the intake of carbohydrates, including sugary snacks, pasta, potatoes, and bread.
  •  Eliminate high-sugar beverages, including juices and soda
  • Exercise portion control
  •  Avoid binge eating
  • Don’t smoke cigarettes.
  • Don’t drink beverages with meals.
  • Take a multivitamin daily
  • Drink protein shakes

The pre-op diet should consist primarily of protein shakes and high-protein, low-calorie foods that are easily digestible. Protein is an important nutrient before and after surgery because it helps build muscle. As you near the scheduled procedure, the physician may switch you to an all-liquid diet.

Gastric bypass surgery: what to expect

Gastric bypass surgery is done under general anesthesia, so you’ll be asleep during the procedure. You may stay one or two nights in the hospital.

There are two methods for Roux En-Y gastric surgery. The traditional large incision surgery is less common but does still happen. With this procedure, the surgeon makes one or more large incisions in the abdomen to do the restructuring. This surgery will take more recovery time because of the large incisions.

The more common approach is laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon makes small incisions and inserts instruments through them to gain access to the stomach and small intestine. This method provides faster recovery and involves less bleeding, which is preferable.

The gastric bypass surgery takes several hours, and once complete, you will stay in the recovery room for a few more hours so the medical staff can monitor you as you come out of the anesthesia. You might experience minor discomfort, mostly from the incisions and muscles in the abdomen.

Recovering from gastric bypass surgery

Immediately after the bariatric procedure, your diet will consist of liquids only. There must be no solid food in your stomach or intestines. This gives these organs time to heal.

The diet plan will start with liquids only, then advance to pureed foods, and eventually, you may eat some soft solids once the doctor says it is okay.

There will be restrictions on how much you can eat and drink. Your doctor will also likely recommend dietary supplements like a multivitamin during this time.

You may experience some discomfort as you start to lose weight. The dramatic weight loss can be a shock for your body. You may notice:

  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling cold
  • Dry skin
  • Thinning hair
  • Hair loss
  • Changes in mood

There are things that can improve your recovery from gastric bypass surgery. For example:

Walk as much as you can — Walking can help ease your pain and encourage healing. It will also improve your mood and get those sore, tired muscles some exercise. You may only be able to take a few steps at first, so start slow and build. Be sure to follow any recommendations by your care team, too, when it comes to limitations. They may advise you to avoid stairs, for example, until you heal.

Follow the diet Your post-op diet plan is probably the most crucial part of your recovery and may also be the most difficult. Just because your stomach is smaller doesn’t mean you won’t get hungry, but overeating or eating the wrong foods right now might be dangerous. Taking full control over your diet will give you a sense of accomplishment, too, and improve your mood as you deal with the discomfort.

Keep it positiveYou had gastric bypass surgery to improve your overall health, so keep that in mind. The more positive your attitude, the better you will feel and heal.

Find activities that don’t involve foodRecovering from gastric bypass surgery is a good time to take up a hobby or start reading a new book. Keeping your hands and mind occupied will help as you recover.

Take advantage of support groupsYou can start with online groups to help you through those first few uncomfortable days and give you encouragement. If you want, you go to some in-person groups as you heal. You’ll be able to sit and chat with other people going through the same thing you are and discuss the challenges and celebrate the accomplishments.

Don’t be afraid to ask questionsGastric bypass surgery is more than just a procedure; it’s a life-changing event. You should not hesitate to ask questions about what is normal after your surgery. The doctor will give you a list of things to watch for that might indicate complications, but you can still ask if something feels off.

Don’t be afraid to rely on the people in your life for help as you recover — This isn’t the time to be shy with the people who love you. If you need assistance or someone to talk to, then ask for help.

Life after gastric bypass surgery

Life after your gastric bypass surgery is going to include highs and lows at first. It will be exciting to experience fast weight loss. Imagine the new clothes you can buy. You’ll probably look and feel the best you have ever.

There will be some challenges, too. Overeating is a common barrier to success that many patients have to face. Overeating can be emotional and habitual, and in some cases, can cause a patient to regain lost weight. It’s essential to stay away from bad habits that might put you at risk for weight gain and complications from the surgery.

It’s vital for your overall health that you keep the size of your new stomach in mind and focus on small, nutrient-rich meals. Eating should be about nourishing your body. If you indulge in rich or fatty foods, you may overload your new stomach, develop dumping syndrome, and feel sick.

Gastric bypass surgery is a practical choice for individuals who are struggling with obesity and have not been able to lose weight any other way. Although there are some challenges and risks, it has a good success rate.

Gastric bypass surgery at AnMed Health

Gastric bypass is one of the many specialties offered at AnMed Health. Our dedicated nurses and gastric bypass surgeons will help you take control of your life and improve your overall health.

They will work with you before the surgery to ensure you have all you need to be ready when the time is right. You will meet with specialists to learn about your exercise needs and what you can expect after the procedure.

AnMed Health is a comprehensive medical program, so everything related to your gastric bypass surgery in Anderson, SC is in one location. You go to one place for your pre-surgical visits, one site for the procedure and aftercare, and one for your follow-up visits.

By offering a standalone program for bariatric services, we ensure that you have access to the top specialists in the field, too, including a bariatric coordinator that works with you to set up all necessary appointments. They will evaluate you for the program, make recommendations on how to get ready, and then be there if you have any questions as you progress to a thinner, healthier you. The staff goes through unique training specific to weight-loss surgeries, as well.

AnMed Health is accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), and we perform thousands of bariatric routines each year, with excellent patient outcomes. AnMed Health’s Bariatric program will give you a chance to enjoy life once again.

Call us today to schedule a consultation and see if you might be a candidate for this innovative approach to health management and weight loss in Anderson.