Gastric Bypass Surgery
Gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y surgery, may be performed as a traditional open surgery or as a laparoscopic procedure. Laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, procedures are performed through several small incisions, which help reduce recovery time and post-surgical pain. In the U.S., approximately 15,000 patients have had a laparoscopic gastric bypass, with significant weight-loss results.
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On average, gastric bypass patients lose about 100 pounds, maintained for at least 10 - 14 years. Clinical research has shown that this weight loss leads to a significant improvement in the health of the patients. Many suffering from Type 2 diabetes no longer require medication after weight loss surgery. Patients who could not previously have necessary joint replacements became good candidates for the operation, usually with excellent results. Gastric bypass has also been shown to improve back and joint pain, sleep apnea, leg swelling, slipped disks, and lipid levels.
In a 2000 clinical study of 500 patients having laparoscopic gastric bypass, Obesity Surgery reported that within six months the average excess weight loss for patients was 60 percent. After 12 months, most patients had lost 77 percent of their excess body weight. From 36 to 60 months following surgery, 80 percent of patients lost 50 percent or more of their excess body weight.
In just the last five years, the number of weight loss operations has doubled to about 50,000 annually. Mayo Clinic researchers report that gastric bypass "may be the current surgery of choice in patients requiring surgery for obesity," because it is a "safe, effective procedure for most patients with morbid obesity."
Like any surgery, there are risks to gastric bypass. These risks cannot be considered alone, but must be weighed against the risks of remaining obese, especially given the poor long-term track record of non-surgical methods of treating obesity. You should consult with your doctor to determine if you would be a good candidate for gastric bypass.