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Is Gastric Bypass Surgery Right for You?

Gastric bypass surgery has been around for years to help obese people lose weight quickly and permanently.  The procedure has come a long way and now the operation and recovery time is quicker.  If you are struggling to take off excess weight you have probably wondered is gastric bypass surgery right for you?  Let’s explore what the procedure is and whether you are a candidate.

How it Helps You Lose Weight

The surgery reduces the size of your stomach and small intestine so that you can’t eat the same quantities of food that you used to.  Here are the ways that bypass surgery can help you lose weight.

  1. You eat less. The surgery makes your stomach physically smaller and that limits the amount of food that you can eat.  It doesn’t take much food before you feel full and satisfied, thus you consume less calories.
  2. Absorbing fewer calories. Your small intestine is where you absorb most of the calories but the surgery bypasses a part of your intestine so fewer calories are absorbed and that leads to weight loss.
  3. Balancing your hormones. The hormone ghrelin affects your appetite but the surgery reduces the level of ghrelin and that in turn cuts your appetite.  Smaller appetite means you eat less and that helps to take the weight off.

The Surgery

The procedure has evolved a great deal since surgeons first started performing gastric bypass operations. Today the procedure is done in less than an hour.  Your surgeon will use a laparoscopic stapler to make your stomach smaller while bypassing part of the intestine.  Food goes from your mouth to a small tube like stomach and digestion continues in the remaining intestine.

Recovery Period

Since the surgery is minimally invasive you can usually get back to your normal routine in a week or so.  You can experience some pain in your abdominal area particularly at the incision site.  The surgery is usually an outpatient procedure or “day surgery” but you will have to follow a special diet immediately.  For the first couple of days you may be on a completely liquid diet, then soft food and after a month or so normal food again.

Gastric bypass surgery can help with dramatic weight loss but all other options should be exhausted first.  Speak with your doctor and discuss the pros and cons of the surgery and from that conversation you can make an informed decision as to whether or not gastric bypass surgery is for you.

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