Gastric bypass surgery is a specialized kind of surgery that helps you to lose weight because it changes how your stomach and your small intestine process the food you eat. After you go through bypass surgery, your stomach will be smaller, and that means you’ll feel full by eating much less food. The food you eat will also bypass parts of your stomach and small intestine that absorb food.

What is gastric bypass surgery?

During gastric bypass surgery, you will be administered general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep and prevent you from feeling any pain or discomfort during the procedure. There are two major steps involved in this type of surgery, the first of which reduces the size of your stomach. To accomplish this, a surgeon will use staples to divide your stomach into a small upper section and a bottom section, which is somewhat larger.

That upper section is the place where any food you eat will be directed, and it is roughly the size of a walnut. It can only hold about one ounce of food at a time, and that reduced size is what will ultimately cause you to eat much less food and eventually lose weight.

The second step in the procedure is the actual bypass component. The surgeon will connect a part of your small intestine to another small hole in the upper section of your stomach. This will cause any food that you eat to travel directly from that upper section into this opening, and on into the small intestine. This completely bypasses the main part of the stomach so that all of the food and calories you eat will not be directly absorbed.

This kind of surgery can be done in two ways. The traditional way calls for a large surgical cut to be made in your belly, through which the surgeon will be able to access and operate on your small intestine and stomach.

The more advanced method is called laparoscopy, and it uses several small cuts through which instruments and a tiny camera are inserted. The camera provides the surgeon with all the information needed to insert the instruments and perform the surgery properly. When this type of surgery is performed, there is less pain afterward, as well as a shorter hospital stay for the patient.

There’s also less risk of any kind of infection, as well as a reduced risk of the patient developing a hernia. In either case, the time required to complete gastric bypass surgery is somewhere between two and four hours.

What to expect after gastric bypass?

One of the things you can expect after gastric bypass surgery is that you will lose roughly 50% of your extra weight. The time required for the weight loss varies for each patient. You can also expect to stay in the hospital for two or three days following surgery if laparoscopic surgery was performed, although it could be longer if open surgery was used.

About 40% of all patients experience some kind of reaction or side effect after having the surgery performed, but only about 5% of these turn out to be serious complications. One of the common developments after gastric bypass surgery is gallstones, with as many as 50% of all patients develop gallstones following gastric bypass surgery. If you should develop gallstones, you may also have accompanying nausea, vomiting, and possibly abdominal pains. Around 20% of people require surgery in order to have their gallbladder removed following bypass surgery.

Another possible complication is Dumping Syndrome, which occurs whenever you eat a meal loaded with sugar after going through bypass surgery. The sugary food races through your stomach and can cause nausea, vomiting, and a noticeable weakness.

Constipation is another possibility following weight loss surgery, and your doctor will make specific recommendations as to how you can handle it for your particular circumstances.

You should avoid using granular fiber products though because these will often cause obstructions instead of relieving them. It’s also possible to develop infections at the site where incisions were made for the surgery. This can occur for up to three weeks following surgery, and they will need to be addressed immediately so that the infection won’t get worse.

What does gastric bypass surgery cost?

Weight loss surgery can be very expensive, typically running between $20,000 and $25,000, and the actual cost to you will depend on several factors. The first factor is the specific kind of surgery that you are undergoing because each will have a different fee attached to it. Some of the various types of weight loss surgery include gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, stomach stapling, biliopancreatic diversion, and gastric banding.

The next major factor is the fee that will be charged by your surgeon, and that will be determined by your surgeon’s level of expertise and the level of complexity associated with your operation. The last major factor in determining how much your weight loss surgery will cost is the fee charged by the hospital. This will also vary because each hospital has different charges for its operating rooms, as well as any support tasks carried out by medical personnel like nurses.

What if you don’t have insurance?

There are a number of ways you can pay for weight loss surgery, even if you don’t have insurance. In some cases, you will be able to secure a medical loan. You may also be eligible for a hospital payment plan, and this will allow you to spread out the cost of a surgery over a number of months or years, to make it more affordable.

There is a credit card called CareCredit, which can be used for certain medical expenses, and if you can pay off your surgery in 24 months or less, you won’t have to pay any interest.

If your health insurance policy carries a high deductible with it, you may qualify for a health savings account. This type of account works very much like a personal savings account, except the funds are exclusively used for expenses related to health issues, such as weight loss surgery.

Final thoughts

If you’re wondering where you should have your weight loss surgery performed, you should put the North Texas Medical Center at the top of your list. With state-of-the-art technology available, and top-notch surgeons on staff to perform your weight loss surgery, you’ll have the whole operation done in a short period of time, and then you can look forward to your new life. Contact NTMC today to ask any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment for a consultation.