Want to lose weight but afraid to go under the knife? Listen up. Your long-time battle with the bulge will end for good with one solution—gastric bypass surgery. It involves changing the digestive system to change your appetite; that way, you eat and digest less amount of food. Aside from the significant weight loss, the surgery also helps minimize the risk of developing obesity-related diseases. Also called the Roux-en-Y surgery, the procedure primarily entails making a walnut-sized pouch at the upper stomach and putting a bypass around a portion of the small intestine and the stomach. Consequently, the food you eat bypasses most of the stomach and restricts the ability of your digestive system to take in calories. Hence, the term “bypass” surgery. Surgeons perform this operation using a small tube called a laparoscope that creates small incisions in the abdomen. A small video camera is attached on the instrument, and this device enables the surgeon to see the inside of the abdomen. The laparoscopic technique is generally preferred over the traditional open bypass surgery that makes large incisions in the abdomen. Compared to the open bypass surgery, the laparoscopic technique is less risky and less painful because of the small incisions. Also, it results in shorter recovery period. The procedure starts with the stapling of the patient’s stomach at the top to seal this area off from the rest of the stomach. As a result, the sealed portion or the pouch will be able to contain only an ounce of food. Separated from the entire stomach, the pouch is then connected to a small part of the small intestine. To be able to achieve that, the surgeon cuts a small part of the small intestine and sews it onto the pouch. The surgery is not for everyone, though. There are certain risks involved; and a prospective patient must understand them before undergoing the surgery. If you plan to undergo the weight loss surgery, consult a surgeon and ask all your concerns regarding the procedure. Usually, the surgeon explains the things you should expect during and after the surgery. Before the surgery, you will be given anesthetics to keep you asleep during the operation. The anesthesia is usually in the form of an intravenous (IV) line or analgesics. During the procedure, the surgeon inserts a tube into your nose down to the top of the stomach. To heal the staple line on the stomach, the tube is joined to a suction machine that empties the stomach pouch after the surgery. The surgery lasts for about two to four hours, but you will need to stay in the hospital for around three to five days for recovery. Expect some diet and lifestyle changes after the weight loss surgery. One to three days after the procedure, you will not eat anything to allow your stomach to heal. Then, for about three months, you will follow a diet that starts with liquids, progresses to soft and pureed foods, and lastly to regular foods. You will have to be cautious with your food intake because eating huge meals can cause extreme pain under the breastbone and vomiting. Also, you will notice some changes in your body and behavior three to six months after the gastric bypass surgery. These include dry skin, hair thinning, fatigue, body pains, and mood swings. These will be your body’s reactions to the quick weight loss resulting from the surgery.
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