The laparoscopic Roux-en-y gastric bypass consists of separating the stomach into two sections using rows of titanium staples and then dividing the stomach surgically. The small upper segment connected to the esophagus continues to receive food, while the large lower segment connected to the duodenum no longer comes into contact with ingested food. The large lower segment is left intact and still has blood supply and drains a small amount of fluid and gastric secretions into the small intestine or duodenum. Because this portion is not used, it shrinks in size and stays dormant.
This procedure is performed laparoscopically using 5-6 incisions which may allow patients to recover more quickly and experience less scarring than with more invasive procedures. Several small incisions are made and a laparoscopic tool is inserted. You will typically be required to stay in the hospital for 1-2 nights following surgery. You may require intravenous fluids and medication for pain after surgery. Your diet will be progressed very slowly after surgery with only clear liquids while in the hospital.
The stomach is surgically divided into a small and large portion. When the small, functioning upper stomach pouch is full, patients will experience a sense of fullness; at first this will occur with only a few small bites. Appetite is also markedly reduced. In this way, the intake of food is dramatically limited. Food and nutrient absorption is limited due to the shortened small intestine. Weight loss is most rapid in the first 6-12 months and continues during the second year at a less rapid rate.
Potential major complications include staple line leaks, strictures, bleeding, infection and malabsorption of nutrients. Due to potential malabsorption of nutrients following surgery, patients will be required to take vitamin supplements for the rest of their lives.