Gastric bypass surgery has become an increasingly popular procedure for people suffering from morbid obesity. When diets and exercise routines continually fail, or when obesity-related health issues become life threatening, doctors may recommend gastric bypass surgery as a solution to dramatically reduce a patient’s weight.
Surgeons first experimented with weight loss surgery almost 40 years ago after noticing that patients who had portions of their small intestines removed for other reasons lost a tremendous amount of weight after their surgery, no matter how much they ate. The theory was that food would pass through the intestine so quickly that the body would only absorb a portion of the calories.
Although the earliest weight loss surgery procedure was extremely successful in producing weight loss, it also prevented the body from absorbing essential nutrients and caused sever nutritional deficiency diseases, many of which were fatal. Today, surgeons have developed procedures to limit the amount of food that can be eaten while still allowing essential nutrients to be absorbed by making the available stomach smaller and bypassing a portion of the intestine. The surgery means that patients can only eat a few bites of food before feeling full.
Of course, obesity is a complicated issue, and its causes go beyond mere physical symptoms. Often, emotional and psychological issues are the root cause of excessive weight gain, even for people who have been heavy since childhood. Although weight loss surgery can address the physical issues surrounding obesity, patients are often required to undergo a psychological screening prior to the procedure.
Support groups and online discussion forums for pre- and post-op gastric bypass patients are a relatively new development, and they can be vital to ensuring a patient’s success following surgery. Doctors strongly encourage people who have undergone weight loss surgery to join a support group as part of their recovery. Hearing the insights and experiences of others who have been through the same life-changing process can help new patients manage the dramatic physical and psychological changes they will experience after surgery, and stay on the path to weight-loss success.
This article provides an overview of health issues related to gastric bypass surgery and is not intended to replace the advice of a medical practitioner. Please consult your doctor prior to making any major medical decisions.