Bariatric surgery is a tool to help morbidly obese individuals lose most, if not all, of their excess weight. During the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure, the size of the stomach is significantly reduced, limiting the volume of food a patient can consume, and the digestive tract is altered, decreasing the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs. When coupled with critical lifestyle changes, gastric bypass surgery can result in extreme weight loss within the first year after surgery.
A mini gastric bypass is a less invasive alternative to standard gastric bypass; but produces similar results. This procedure is performed laparoscopically, meaning the surgeon works through several small incisions and uses a tiny camera (called a laparoscope) and a television screen to guide special instruments through the incisions.
- After the bariatric patient has appropriately prepared for surgery, the surgeon creates a narrow tube, as opposed to the pouch in a standard bypass surgery.
- Next, the surgeon separates the remaining stomach with staples or stitches.
- The tube is then connected directly to the jejunum (lower intestines), approximately six feet from the starting point. This connection bypasses the upper portion of the small intestine (the duodenum) where the body absorbs most of the food's nutrients. When the patient consumes a meal, the food goes directly from the tube to the lower portion of the small intestines. The rest of the stomach is sealed so food is not able to enter it.
Perhaps the most important benefit of gastric bypass is the decreased risk of co-morbidities, or conditions that are caused by morbid obesity. Once a patient undergoes a gastric bypass procedure and loses excess weight, he or she may experience relief from symptoms associated with obesity-related health conditions, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, arthritic pain, high blood pressure, and edema.
The procedure itself is performed in less time than traditional gastric bypass surgery, typically taking no more than an hour. Since the surgeon does not conduct mini gastric bypass surgery through one large incision, there is a lower risk of post-surgery complications. Patients are typically released from the hospital after 24 hours and have a shorter recovery period than patients who undergo traditional gastric bypass surgery.
Any surgical procedure carries the risk of complications. However, since a mini gastric bypass is typically performed laparoscopically, certain risks are minimized. There is minor risk of infection, or leakage between the staples connecting the revised stomach pouch and the intestines. Some patients experience "dumping syndrome," which occurs when food passes too quickly through the digestive tract. Side effects include nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea.
The mini gastric bypass procedure typically costs less than Roux-en-Y surgery. On average, patients will save a few thousand dollars if they qualify for the mini gastric bypass procedure, as it typically costs between $16,000 and $22,000.
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