New Developments in Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is an increasingly viable weight loss solution for morbidly obese individuals, thanks to new laparoscopic techniques that not only reduce the risks associated with the surgery, but also reduce the costs by shortening patients’ recovery time. Today, thousands of people who are unable to lose weight through diet and exercise regimens can find new hope with gastric bypass surgery, thanks to the latest developments in bariatric procedures.

Early experiments with gastric bypass surgery began nearly half a century ago, when doctors noticed that patients who had a portion of their intestines removed due to an illness or injury had a dramatic weight loss following the surgery. They discovered that when food is delivered quickly to a lower part of the intestine, the body is unable to properly absorb all of the calories. Although doctors recognized that this could be detrimental to an individual with a normal build, they determined that the inability to absorb calories and the consequent weight loss would be beneficial to individuals with extreme obesity.

Initial attempts at bariatric surgery were successful inasmuch as the procedures resulted in rapid weight loss; however, they also caused additional side effects, which in many cases proved fatal. Surgeons quickly discovered that patients who had undergone this type of gastric surgery could not absorb essential vitamins and nutrients, and consequently suffered extreme malnutrition. This led to the development of new bariatric techniques that bypass a portion of the intestine and minimize the size of the stomach by creating a smaller “pouch”. The procedure still results in rapid weight loss by limiting how much food can be eaten, but the body is also better able to absorb essential nutrients.

Similarly, early gastric bypass procedures were much riskier for patients because the surgery was far more invasive than it is today. Historically, surgeons would create a large incision just below the breast bone and use carbon dioxide gas to inflate the stomach cavity and stretch the skin away from the major organs, so they could perform the bypass surgery. In more recent years, surgeons have used new developments in laparoscopic surgery that enable them to perform a gastric bypass procedure using microscopic cameras and medical instruments inside the abdominal cavity. The laparoscopic technique only requires a few very small incisions, which dramatically reduces a patient’s risk of infection and also cuts down the recovery time in the hospital.

These continued advances in surgical techniques and equipment combined with an improved understanding of the body’s biochemical functions are helping to minimize the dangers of gastric bypass surgery while maximizing the potential for long-term weight loss. And, although surgical intervention is still generally viewed as a last resort, for individuals suffering life-threatening illnesses as a result of excessive weight, gastric bypass surgery provides the possibility for a bright future.

Want to learn more about different weight loss surgery procedures? Check out this two-minute video on Lap-Band vs. Gastric Bypass Surgery.

4 Responses

  1. LInda

    I had the gastric by-pass surgery five months ago and I don’t regret it at all. I’m off almost all the meds I was on before surgery and feel absolutely terrific.

  2. Rebecca Roth

    I had Gastric Bypass 14 months ago and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.