There are 2 steps during gastric bypass surgery:
- The first step makes your stomach smaller. Your surgeon uses staples to divide your stomach into a small upper section and a larger bottom section. The top section of your stomach (called the pouch) is where the food you eat will go. The pouch is about the size of a walnut. It holds only about 1 ounce (oz) or 28 grams (g) of food. Because of this you will eat less and lose weight.
- The second step is the bypass. Your surgeon connects a small part of your small intestine (the jejunum) to a small hole in your pouch. The food you eat will now travel from the pouch into this new opening and into your small intestine. As a result, your body will absorb fewer calories.
Gastric bypass can be done in two ways. With open surgery, your surgeon makes a large surgical cut to open your belly. The bypass is done by working on your stomach, small intestine, and other organs.
Another way to do this surgery is to use a tiny camera, called a laparoscope. This camera is placed in your belly. The surgery is called laparoscopy. The scope allows the surgeon to see inside your belly.
In this surgery:
- The surgeon makes 4 to 6 small cuts in your belly.
- The scope and instruments needed to perform the surgery are inserted through these cuts.
- The camera is connected to a video monitor in the operating room. This allows the surgeon to view inside your belly while doing the operation.
Advantages of laparoscopy over open surgery include:
- Shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery.
- Less pain.
- Smaller scars and a lower risk of getting a hernia or infection.
This surgery takes about 2 to 4 hours.