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Department of Surgery
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 Obesity

Columbia University Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery
Surgical Procedures & Innovations  Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass


Today, there are several surgical procedures used for achieving weight loss. The most common are the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, or simply, the gastric bypass and the Gastric Band, or adjustable gastric banding system.

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
Gastric Banding
Gastric Banding

Gastric Bypass is the most common form of weight loss surgery in the United States because it results in reliable weight loss with acceptable risks and minimal side effects. In gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon staples off a large section of the stomach, leaving a tiny pouch. Patients simply can't eat as much as they did before surgery, because this small pouch can only accommodate a few ounces of food at a time, and they subsequently lose weight. Additionally, because most of the stomach and some of the small intestine has been bypassed, some of the nutrients and calories in your foods will not be absorbed. Appropriate candidates for this surgery are those who are 100 pounds or more overweight.

It is important that patients who have had a gastric bypass procedure make a lifelong commitment to making the necessary changes in their diet. This includes maintaining an adequate intake of protein, taking vitamin and mineral supplements including a multivitamin, B12, iron and calcium, and avoiding sweets and fatty foods.


Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery

Since 1997, the Columbia University Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery has been performing a laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure. In laparoscopic surgeries, surgical instruments are inserted through small incisions rather than a large one. Patients benefit by having a faster recovery time than with traditional surgery, a lower risk of hernia, and less scarring. Laparoscopic surgery also protects the patient's immune function, whereas open surgery can compromise the immune system and even promote the growth of any existing tumors. Possible complications of bowel obstruction and leaks should be discussed with your physician.


Success Rates for Gastric Bypass Surgery

Weight loss surgery is considered successful when 50% of excess weight is lost and the loss sustained up to five years. For example, a patient who is 100 pounds overweight should lose at least 50 pounds; a patient who is 200 pounds overweight should lose at least 100 pounds. And they should be able to maintain loss successfully for the following five years.

Estimated weight loss in the first 1- 2 years after a Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass is approximately 1/2 to 2/3rd of excess weight. 50% excess weight loss has been documented 10 years and more after Gastric Bypass.


Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric Bypass Surgery achieves weight loss by decreasing intestinal absorption of food; instead of following its usual path, food bypasses a portion of the stomach and small bowel. In addition to surgical complications, some people experience long-term deficiencies of vitamin B12, folate, and iron. "Dumping syndrome," in which the consumption of sugar causes abdominal cramping and diarrhea, can also occur. Some people will also regain some weight in subsequent years.


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