Gastric Bypass FAQs

Am I qualified to have gastric bypass surgery?

You are qualified to have the surgery if you are morbidly obese (morbid obesity is defined as a body weight over 100 pounds above your ideal body weight, or a body mass index (BMI) above 40) and have tried to loose weight without success.

Will I be sick after the surgery?

The most common complaint after surgery is nausea or vomiting. This is usually related to the patient’s eating habits (eating too fast, over eating, or not chewing thoroughly enough) and resolve without treatment. Other less common medical conditions, like ulcers (occurring in 2-5% of patients) or intestinal obstruction (occurring in 2-4% of patients) may also cause nausea or vomiting, and both of these conditions are serious. If you have nausea or vomiting after surgery, you will need to promptly notify our office so we can best assess why you may be ill.

How does the surgery work?

Gastric bypass surgery works to help you loose weight via several methods:

  • Restriction: Since the new stomach pouch after surgery is small (usually 1-2oz) and the opening from the new stomach pouch to the intestines is small (only 10-15mm), the amount of food that you can eat is limited. Therefore you are only able to consume a small amount of food at one time (3-4oz), and will feel full.
  • Malabsorbtion: After surgery approximately 5-8 feet of your normal digestive track is bypassed. The digestion of food starts only after this bypassed section of your intestine, when the food you eat mixes with the gastric juices from your old stomach at what is called the “Y” junction. You do not absorb calories in the bypassed section of your gastrointestinal tract as before; therefore you absorb less of the calories that you eat on a daily basis.
  • Dumping Effect: Due to bypass of stomach and first portion of intestine, food with high sugar & fat make patients sick & have diarrhea. Patient should avoid these types of foods that are high in calories & fat.
  • Appetite: By bypassing the stomach and intestines there is a reduction in a certain hormone (called the Ghrlein Hormone), and additional hormonal changes that help to (curb hunger). This is the reason why gastric bypass patients lose weight, faster than patients who only have restrictive surgery.

What happens to the bypassed portion of my stomach after surgery?

After surgery, the bypassed portion of your stomach still works much like it did before your surgery. When you taste, smell or chew foods, the bypassed stomach still secretes digestive juices that move down to mix with the food you eat at the end of the “Y” Junction.

Do I need to take vitamins and supplements?

After surgery, the stomach and first portion of your intestines (called the duodenum) are bypassed. This prevents you from normally absorbing certain elements from your food like iron, calcium, and vitamin B12. Because of this malabsorbtion, lifetime supplementation with these nutrients is needed. Also, due to the smaller than normal amounts of food that you can consume, a multivitamin rich in thiamine (vitamin B1) is required for life.