Gastric Bypass Surgery, also called Roux-en-Y, is an invasive procedure that helps a person lose a substantial amount of body weight. The surgery can help an obese patient lose up to 85% of his excess body weight, and develop long-term positive dietary habits.

The method is proven to be a potential treatment for various conditions, including type II diabetes and comorbidities. Technically, the surgery changes how the small intestines and stomach handle food. During the procedure, the stomach is rerouted, thus limiting calorie absorption, which leads to rapid loss of excess body weight.

Gastric bypass surgeons use the finest technology and state-of-the-art infrastructure to make sure the surgery is safe for patients and ensures success too.

Gastric bypass is an extremely beneficial procedure for patients with hypertension, diabetes, and other complications. It is the right choice for people who have tried all other ways to lose weight, including diets and workouts, but nothing worked for them. Rated as a gold standard procedure, gastric bypass is a frequently performed weight loss surgery that can help patients establish their goal of a healthier lifestyle and even restore their confidence.

How is Gastric Bypass surgery performed?

Gastric bypass procedure involves a method that reduces weight. Here, the surgeon works by reducing the stomach of the patient and connects the same to the distal portion of his intestine. As a result, the stomach becomes smaller and it holds less food. Moreover, the food consumed does not even pass through the small intestine’s first part, which reduces calorie absorption.

Precisely, this weight loss surgery creates two mechanisms to promote weight loss:

  • Reduces the size of the stomach
  • Creates a shortcut way to pass the digestive structure through the small intestine

In a way, this method is a more restrictive as well as malabsorptive procedure, as it restricts the intake of food and modifies our digestive system’s absorptive capacity.

Roux-en-Y is the second most frequently used bariatric surgery procedure worldwide, while gastric sleeve ranks first. The International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders, or IFSO, disclosed in its recent global registry that out of all the bariatric procedures practiced worldwide, approximately 31% accounts for gastric bypass. These techniques are mostly laparoscopy.

Roux-en-Y is a rare procedure, which is deemed unnecessary because of the latest advances achieved by the medical community with laparoscopic education and technology.

Recovery from gastric bypass surgery is relatively faster than other procedures. Patients are expected to stay in the recovery room of the hospital for 2 days. It is mandatory to rest after this surgery. Most patients can get back to their normal lives after 30 days. In these 30 days, patients should follow a strict diet, which is very specific to the different phases of the surgery.

After the surgery, patients are given a liquid diet only. Gradually, patients transition to pureed diet and then graduate to soft solid foods, with an increase in their daily calorie intake. However, this transition has to be slow and progressive.

With gastric bypass, patients can achieve drastic results than any other weight loss procedure. It is primarily because gastric bypass combines two unique approaches. After the surgery, patients experience rapid weight loss in 3 months. They are also expected to shed more than 70% of their body weight in the first year after the operation.

Excess weight can be determined by the difference between the ideal weight of a person and his/her present weight before the surgery. According to another IFSO report, patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery lost anywhere between 27% and 37% of excess body weight after one year of the surgery.

Generally, total weight loss depends on various factors. The biological nature and genetic make of a patient determine the result of the surgery. Another important factor responsible for the results is diet and physical activity.

During the first half of this procedure, the surgeon shall carefully divide the stomach into two different parts with the help of laparoscopic technology. A small pouch would be created, which would be connected to the lower portion of the jejunum or small intestine. The pouch can hold up to one cup of food, thus restricting the portion size. As a result, patients feel fuller very fast. The food consumed would travel to the intestines, thus preventing fat and sugar absorption in the first section, and a combination of nutrients within the lower portion of the small intestine, which is also the area of the other connection.

The idea of constructing a smaller stomach bypassing the duodenum and rerouting foods into the small intestine’s lower portion ensures that the food is not processed. Therefore, it restricts nutrient and calorie absorption.

How does Gastric Bypass surgery work?

Gastric Bypass is a gold standard bariatric surgery. It is one of the most frequently performed procedures recommended to people having a BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 35. The surgery reduces the stomach size by creating a small pouch.

When there is a change in the small intestines with the malabsorptive potion, it induces food and allows it to pass through, instead of getting absorbed. These techniques together ensure rapid weight loss.

The surgeon would use surgical staples during the procedure for creating a pouch starting at the upper portion of the stomach and isolating it from the other part of the stomach. A part of the small intestine would be bypassed only to be reconnected to that artificially installed pouch. As a result, it creates a much shorter route for food to travel inside the digestive system. Hence, less food and nutrients are absorbed.

Gastric bypass surgery is carried out by making an incision in the upper abdomen, or an open procedure, or with the help of a small incision using smaller instruments and one camera that guides the surgery, or laparoscopic technique. In an open procedure, the incision is usually large.

Besides a smaller digestive system, some experts believe that any amount of weight loss post-bariatric procedure results from reduced ghrelin blood cells. Ghrelin is a newly found hormone released by the endocrine cells inside the stomach. The level of ghrelin in the blood increases before meals and during starvation or restricted food intake.

History and Trend of the Gastric Bypass

People struggling with obesity can now find a ray of hope with gastric bypass surgery. The procedure decreases stomach size and alters the process of nutrient absorption, which, as a result, leads to dramatic and quick weight loss. Gastric bypass surgery can kick start a much better and healthier lifestyle, thus giving people long-term weight loss results.

Although medicine has been practiced for centuries, bariatric procedures are comparatively recent. Dr. Cesar Roux was the first Swiss surgeon to perform bariatric bypass surgery in 1892. However, the procedure was not developed to assist weight loss; it was intended to cure gastrointestinal obstructions.

Initially, the procedure was a success. However, in 1911, the surgical procedure was discontinued because of increasing incidences of peptic ulcerations and mortality rates.

During the following years, obesity became a pressing concern for patients. To help individuals, doctors, and the medical community developed new surgical techniques to assist patients in regaining their mobility for healthier living.

The first ever bariatric surgery for weight loss was performed in 1954. During the procedure, the upper, as well as the lower intestine of the patient, were connected. Thus, the calorie-absorbing areas were bypassed. However, the surgery led to serious side effects like malabsorption.

In 1963, another new technique was added, the jejunocolic shunt that connected the small intestine’s upper part to the patient’s colon. This was a major improvement, but not without any side effects like uncontrollable diarrhea.

With more research, doctors found new ways that improved the procedure. With the help of surgical staples, surgeons, in 1967, reduced the stomach size and bypassed only a small part of the patient’s small intestine. Technically, they performed the mini-gastric bypass surgery. However, during that time, doctors called it intestinal bypass. Eventually, the procedure evolved into a gastric bypass or Roux-en-Y, which is also a successful bariatric procedure.

How much weight will I lose after the Gastric Bypass?

Gastric bypass guarantees weight loss. However, how much exactly you can lose depends on various factors, such as diet, lifestyle, exercise, and commitment to make lifestyle changes. In addition, the new stomach size and the length of the roux limb also make a significant difference.

A Mayo Clinic study reveals that compliant patients are motivated to lose half the body weight in less than 2 years. In addition, patients lose weight rapidly within six months of the surgery. After a year or so, patients settle with the final weight. Around the same time, patients lose 65% to 70% of their body weight.

Here, patients should note that there is a difference in the starting body weight and the excess body weight. Moreover, they would not lose 70% of their starting body weight.

If you want to follow a timeline for weight loss, it would look something like this:

  • First 3 months: 25% to 35% of excess body weight
  • At 6 months: 45% to 55% of excess body weight
  • At 12 months: 65% to 70% of excess body weight
  • At 18 months: 70% to 80% of excess body weight

The amount of weight loss expected after a gastric bypass is directly correlated with the post-surgical; commitment. Patients should follow a clean and healthy diet together with regular exercise. Even before that, the surgery must be accomplished such that eating capacity and appetite reduce.

It is possible to achieve your weight loss goals after a gastric bypass surgery when you are determined and you have the will to do it. Depending on the age and medical condition, a surgeon may also adjust the estimated timeline for weight loss.

Improvement of Obesity-Related Health Problems

Patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery can also experience improvements in their existing health problems. Using the most advanced technology and exclusively developed amenities, the team of surgeons and doctors aim to deliver a safe and successful surgery with effective care.

Gastric bypass surgery is a proven method that resolves obesity-related diseases and comorbidities like:

  • Hypertension
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Varicose veins
  • Infertility

Patients who choose to improve their health conditions with a Roux-en-Y surgery can get the following benefits:

  • Joint pain relief
  • Type 2 diabetes remission
  • Sleep apnea resolution
  • Reduced risk of hypertension-related diseases
  • Reduced risk of heart diseases
  • Healthier lifestyle
  • Long-term and rapid weight loss
  • Self-confidence

Gastric bypass surgery is reversible. If any patient experiences long-term complications, reversal is often suggested. Though there are some risks associated with a reversal surgical procedure, surgeons take proper care to make sure it is a success.

The results and advantages of the surgery depend largely on a wide range of factors, such as prescription compliances, recommendations of nutritionists and experts, commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and genetic predisposition.

Eligibility and Candidacy in Mexico

Before progressing any further, patients need to understand whether they qualify for gastric bypass or not.  Factors affecting your candidacy include:

  • Body Mass Index: BMI is an important criterion for any weight loss procedure. For gastric bypass, however, it is more important because the surgery is an invasive one compared to other procedures. So, gastric bypass is typically reserved for patients with a BMI of 50 and above. If a patient has BMI lower than that, a gastric sleeve would be suggested.
  • Previous Surgery: Doctors recommend gastric bypass to those patients who’ve already had a LAP-Band or gastric sleeve surgery. If you don’t get the expected results, this complicated surgery may be the right option to give you the best results.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women are not the right candidates for any weight loss procedure. If you are pregnant or planning a family, doctors recommend you to wait until childbirth and then consider your decision.

Recovery after Surgery

It takes 3 to 6 weeks to recover completely from a gastric bypass. Having said that, real recovery could last for a lifetime. That’s mainly because immediately after the surgery, patients should adopt a healthy and strict diet and develop the habit of exercising to sustain their weight loss.

To optimize the chances of a successful result, it is critical to follow the post-operative instructions of the surgeon. Instructions generally include the follow-up schedule, types of foods and liquids to consume, and activities that patients should restrict.

Follow-Up

The first step to recovery begins with regular follow-up. Surgeons follow a scheduled follow-up, such as:

  • 3 to 4 weeks after the surgery
  • 4 to 5 weeks after the surgery
  • Every 3 months thereafter for the first one year
  • After one year, every 6 months
  • After the second year, annual follow-up is recommended for life

The primary goal of these scheduled follow-up sessions is to:

  • Assess for surgery-related complications like a gastrointestinal leak, infection, etc
  • Monitor for any signs of deficiencies in vitamins and minerals through regular blood tests
  • Tracking weight loss
  • Manage any abnormal symptoms like mood swings, skin dryness, or body aches

Patients generally stay in the hospital for 2 to 5 days after the surgery. Patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery may have to stay only for 2 days. During the stay, patients would be monitored for their vitals and symptoms, if any.

On the first day after the surgery, patients are given a clear liquid. On the second day, at lunch, patients may be given full liquids and some protein shake, if they can tolerate it.

Start expanding your lungs post-surgery with an instrument called an incentive spirometer. A doctor would recommend blood thinner as prevention for blood clots.

In the hospital, the urinary catheter is removed after the surgery. Begin gentle leg and feet exercises, get out of the bed, and walk around. Take the help of your physical therapist or nurse.

Intravenous medications would be replaced with oral medication.

Once discharged, patients can go back home. Gradually, they can advance to soft foods or a pureed diet, and in 6 weeks they can have a normal diet.

Patients are also recommended nutritional supplements like complex multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium, iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin C.

As patients cope with the physical aftermath of the surgery, their emotional health also improves. It is advised to have company for the first couple of days after the surgery.

When you are recovering from the surgery at home, you may need some assistance for regular habits like going to the bathroom or even taking a bath. Do not hesitate.

Complications and Risks

Any surgery has a certain amount of risk associated with it. Bariatric procedures are complicated and the risk is manifold. However, the chances of complications are relatively low. Some of the common risk factors include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Ulcers
  • Vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition
  • Dumping syndrome in which sugary foods are digested quickly, making their way to the small intestine to cause an increased insulin production
  • Gallbladder stones
  • Anesthesia reactions
  • Stomach pouch stretching
  • Prolonged digestive disorders like constipation, diarrhea, and nausea

Complications are rare and the mortality rate is lower than 0.2%.

To reduce such risks after the surgery, closely follow the instructions of your surgeon and live a healthy life.

However, the only long-term risk factor is the malabsorption of nutrients, which leads to severe deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, and especially vitamin B12. It is easy to prevent these complications – simply follow the diet prescribed by nutritionists and surgeons, take the dietary supplements to recommend, and maintain a schedule. Patients undergoing weight loss surgery should be fully aware of the fact that they might need dietary supplements for the rest of their life.

As gastric bypass has severe malabsorptive properties, it can cause high sensitivity to some foods. Some patients may even develop an intolerance. Patients must acknowledge the fact that their body goes through a massive change, which may change their reactions to some foods. For instance, some studies show that patients develop high intolerance to dairy products and alcoholic beverages.

Diet After Gastric Bypass Surgery

Diet plays a critical role in helping people recover from a gastric bypass procedure. After the procedure, the surgeon recommends patients to a dietitian and a nutritionist to take care of the food chart. Closely following the recommended diet can help patients lose weight and stay safe.

The purpose of a guided diet plan is to allow the stomach to heal after the surgery. Too much food can stretch the stomach, which we do not want.

Start eating smaller meals that the stomach can digest comfortably and easily.

When you continue with a diet plan, you are going to lose weight and maintain it.

Avoid all kinds of complications and side effects with a nutritious and healthy diet.

However, diet recommendations may vary depending on the individual situation. Typically, a gastric bypass surgery diet follows a step-by-step approach to get patients back to their normal solid foods. The process is gradual, but how quickly a patient moves through the stages depends on how fast the body heals and adapts to the changes in food habits. Patients can start eating normal solid foods after 3 months from the surgery.

At every stage, patients should be extremely careful to introduce new foods. Here’s what you should follow:

  • Avoid dehydration; drink at least 64 ounces of different types of fluids per day
  • Sip liquids whenever you want, but not with your meals. Wait for at least 30 minutes post-meal and then drink water or anything else
  • Drink and eat slowly to prevent dumping syndrome – it is very common as foods enter the small intestine quickly and excessively to cause nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, and sweating
  • Eat protein-rich, lean foods
  • Choose only low fat and sugar-free foods and drinks
  • Quit alcohol
  • Restrict caffeine intake, as it causes dehydration
  • Take multivitamin supplements as directed
  • Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing

On the first day after the surgery, patients are only given clear liquids to drink. Once you handle clear liquids well, you can start having fluids like unsweetened juices, broth, coffee or decaffeinated tea, skimmed milk, sugar-free popsicles, or gelatin.

After a week, patients can eat pureed and strained foods. These foods have a smooth paste-like consistency, without solid particles. Patients can have four to six tablespoons of this food. Pureed foods can contain cottage cheese, lean ground meat, fish, poultry, scrambled eggs (soft), strained creamy soups, cooked vegetables, and soft fruits.

Blend these foods with any liquid like water, unsweetened juice, broth, and skimmed milk.

After having pureed food for several weeks, consult your doctor before adding soft foods. These foods should be tender, small, and easy to chew. Patients can have three to six meals per day, each meal consisting of half a cup of wholesome food. Best examples of soft foods include flaked fish, ground lean meats, poultry, cottage cheese, eggs, dried cereal, rice, cooked vegetables, canned fruit, or soft fruit without skin and seeds.

After 8 weeks, patients can return to normal solids. However, start gradually with three meals per day, each meal consisting of one to one and a half cups of solid foods. Do not allow your stomach to fill. Depending on the tolerance, patients may vary their meals and portions.

Introduce new foods slowly and gradually. Let your dietitian decide the best course of a meal for you as some solid foods may cause nausea and vomiting after the surgery. Foods that may be problematic include bread, raw vegetables, carbonated drinks, red meat, tough meats, fibrous vegetables, fried foods, spicy or seasoned foods, seeds and nuts, popcorn.

Comparison of Gastric Bypass to other Types of Bariatric Procedures

There are many types of bariatric procedures. Patients are recommended a certain procedure so that they can be comfortable and healthy after the surgery. Depending on the condition of patients, doctors recommend the right type of surgery for them.

While gastric bypass is a common surgery and a very effective technique to treat obesity and related disease, sleeve gastrectomy is also a preferred procedure. In a sleeve gastrectomy, 80% of a patient’s stomach is removed.

Likewise, the LAP-Band surgery involved the use of a band-like silicone device, which is installed inside the top portion of the patient’s stomach to restrict the portion of food one can eat.

Some hospitals also provide options like Mini Gastric Bypass, Duodenal Switch, and revision surgeries.

Advantage of Gastric Bypass versus Gastric Sleeve Surgery

While both the procedures have some pros and cons, you would have to know them in-depth to understand their advantages.

Both gastric bypass as well as gastric sleeve surgery reduces the size of your stomach and makes it like a pouch. As a result, people lose weight in two ways:

  • The pouch starts filling up quickly and restricts food portion before you start feeling full
  • Production of ghrelin hormone responsible for hunger is also reduced

With gastric bypass surgery, a small pouch is created in the stomach by removing a major part of the stomach and the front part of the small intestine or bypassing it.

The newly introduced pouch is reconnected to the other part of the small intestine.

The bypassed portion of the stomach is then attached to the small intestines because it keeps providing digestive enzymes and acids.  The part of the small intestine, which is removed during the surgery, is mainly responsible for absorbing calories and nutrients. Since the section has been bypassed, nutrients are no longer absorbed by the body, which leads to weight loss.

On the contrary, the gastric sleeve procedure involves the removal of approximately 80% of the stomach completely. Instead, a small stomach pouch is sewed inside. No other alterations are needed.

Gastric bypass surgery is relatively more complicated than gastric sleeve surgery. While the former is a two-step procedure, the latter involves only one step.

Both the procedures are performed laparoscopically, which reduces hospital stay.

While bariatric surgeries are considered to be safe, there are some complications to note. For example, complications in the case of patients undergoing gastric sleeve include acid reflux, stomach fluid leakage, stomach obstruction, and stomach pouch narrowing or stenosis.

Similarly, patients undergoing gastric bypass may experience complications like stomach ulcers, stomach perforation, bowel obstruction, alcohol sensitivity, and nutritional deficiencies.

Risks, Side Effects, & Challenges

The success rate of gastric bypass surgery for weight loss is high. However, all types of surgeries involve some risks. Consult the surgeon to know more about the complications and risks involved.

The common complications of gastric bypass surgery include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Stomal stenosis
  • Malnutrition
  • Dumping syndrome
  • Peritonitis

Because gastric bypass limits the type of food you eat and nutrients, it may cause malnutrition. Moreover, it limits nutrient absorption in the body. To prevent this, you should work with the nutritionist to get proper nutrients. You may be prescribed some supplements with calcium, vitamin B12, iron, and vitamin B1.

Stomal stenosis is another complication that occurs when the new stomach opening tightens and narrows between the stomach and the small intestines. Tightening may lead to vomiting immediately after a meal or even after drinking water. Although the condition is treated, it should not be delayed. Patients experiencing vomiting after the surgery should report it to the doctor immediately.

Dumping syndrome is again very common for patients undergoing gastric bypass. When solid food particles get dumped into the small intestines from the stomach, it can cause complications. It is also a sign that the food is not digested properly. Patients may experience early dumping within 15 to20 minutes of a meal or late dumping after 1 to 3 hours of a meal. In either case, the condition should be cured by modifying your food habits.

Peritonitis is a serious complication associated with gastric bypass surgery. It is a leakage in the stomach that causes inflammation of the patient’s peritoneum – the membrane lining the abdominal cavity. Symptoms include fever, increased abdominal pain, pelvic pressure, back pain, hiccups, tachycardia, and restlessness.

Cost of Gastric Bypass: Insurance Coverage Vs. “Self Pay”

On average, the cost of a gastric bypass procedure medical travel package starts from $5,50, in Mexico.

Once you decide to undergo the surgery, you would be given a breakdown of the package, which generally includes:

  • Surgeon’s fee, anesthesiologist fee with payables required for the surgery
  • Aftercare, nutrition program, and dietitian fee
  • Before and after surgery lab work
  • Medication
  • Companion stay at the hospital
  • 2-night stay at the hotel

Some of the package prices may vary depending on the condition of the patient.

While bariatric procedures and weight loss surgery is not included in most insurance plans, do not forget to check with the insurance provider.

However, in Mexico, regardless of your income, budget, or background, you can get affordable care. Most of the hospitals and facilities accept Credit Card and Self Pay options. Third-party finance is also accepted through leaders like United Medical Credit. 

Surgery Preparation & Recovery

As you prepare for gastric bypass surgery, you would have to go through a series of tests and lab work. It is the priority of the surgeon and his team to ensure your safety after the surgery. As you arrive at the hospital, you would have to undergo the following:

  • EKG or electrocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray
  • Lab work
  • Cardiologist evaluation

These are steps to ensure that the patient is healthy enough for the bariatric procedure.

Recovery is an important part of the procedure. Before getting discharged from the facility, nutritionists and dietitians would schedule individual consultations to help you understand your new diet and adjust. Some facilities also require patients to perform the barium swallow process before discharge. During the post-operative assessment, the patient is given a solution of barium sulfate, which is tracked through the digestive tract using an X-ray. This ensures no leaks inside after the surgery.

Take the Gastric Bypass Knowledge Quiz

Q: How much weight do you want to lose?

  • Half of excess weight
  • Moderate amount (a quarter of excess weight)
  • All my excess weight

Q: Did you explore other options for weight loss?

  • Yes, I tried different diets and workouts
  • I tried, but I was not serious
  • No

Q: Are you?

  • Male
  • Female
  • Pregnant Female
  • Prefer not to disclose

Q: What are your weight and height?

Q: Is there any other weight-related health complication you want to address?

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep apnea
  • All three
  • None

Q: Do you have severe food cravings?

  • Yes
  • No

Q: Do you understand that gastric bypass surgery has side effects and complications?

  • Yes, I did my research
  • No, tell me more

Q: Does your insurance plan cover gastric bypass surgery?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I don’t know

Q: Do you understand that a specially designed device would be left inside the body post-surgery?

  • Yes, I am good
  • No, unless that is the only option

Find a Surgeon

In Mexico, you can find some of the best bariatric surgeons. All the surgeons practicing in the country are board-certified, experienced, and skilled. The best surgeons available in Mexico have a nearly 100% success rate.

You can consult a local doctor and request suggestions.

You can also attend free seminars or online webinars that weight loss surgeons offer.

Schedule your appointment online (if you live in a different country) or in person, to know more about the surgery and your candidacy.

Advantages of Gastric Bypass in Mexico

People choose to have the bariatric procedure done in Mexico due to various reasons. Firstly, the country offers exceptional medical practitioners, such as bariatric surgeons, plastic surgeons, hair transplant specialists, cosmetic surgeons, and dentists.

In addition, there are many more reasons to choose this country:

  • Affordable medical treatment, especially surgical procedures like gastric sleeve and gastric bypass
  • Qualified, experienced, and board-certified weight loss surgeons
  • Proximity to the United States and Canada
  • State-of-the-art infrastructure and medical equipment
  • Hospitable, friendly, and safe
  • Convenient insurance and payment options

Differences of Having Gastric Bypass in Mexico

Mexico offers quality bariatric treatments. Besides being the most affordable country for weight loss procedures, it is also a viable place for gastric bypass surgery and weight loss procedures. Mexico is also a resourceful country that brings in hundreds of medical tourists every year. Medical tourism in Mexico is one of the best ways to explore the country and get your treatment done at the same time. You can book a surgery after research and choose a package. However, remember that cheap does not mean it is safe. So, look for reviews and testimonials and research thoroughly before choosing a surgeon.

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