Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (also referred to as RYGB) is one of the most common weight loss surgeries performed in the United States. At The Bridges Center for Surgical Weight Management, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is frequently used because of its excellent weight loss results. Because the Roux-en-Y procedure combines both restrictive and malabsorptive elements, many patients experience faster results with gastric bypass compared to other bariatric procedures.*
The LAP-BAND® System, for example, is only a restrictive procedure (limits food intake); the duodenal switch is primarily a malabsorptive procedure (amount of calories that can be absorbed from food is limited). The RYGB procedure, on the other hand, incorporates both of these features, maximizing potential weight loss benefits.*
How It Works
In the procedure, which is done entirely with minimally invasive surgical techniques in our East Valley facilities, the surgeon dramatically reduces the size of the stomach to approximately the size of an egg. This a considerable transformation, given the fact that the stomach in a morbidly obese patient may be approximately the size of a football. As a result of having a decreased stomach size, patients eat less and feel full faster.
At this point, you might think that the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure sounds quite similar to a gastric sleeve procedure. The RYGB surgery, however, goes another step. In this procedure, the surgeon directly attaches the new stomach pouch to the small intestine, completely bypassing the remainder of the stomach and much of the small intestine. So, not only is the stomach size reduced, but many of the calories that are consumed are not actually absorbed into the body.
While Roux-en-Y gastric bypass may be done as an open surgery, it is oftentimes done laparoscopically. Using a minimally invasive approach, your surgeon at The Bridges Center can provide the same results with smaller incisions (and scars), less pain, and lower risk of hernia or infection when compared to an open procedure.
What Are the Benefits of Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass?
RYGB procedures are known to result in greater weight loss, on average, than restrictive bariatric procedures.* One institution cites the following advantages of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery from several different studies:
- Average 77% excess body weight lost one year post-op
- Average 50-60% excess body weight lost and maintained 10 to 14 years post-op
- Improvement or total resolve in 96% of health conditions associated with obesity: diabetes, back pain, sleep apnea, hypertension and depression
What Risks Are Associated With Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass?
There are risks associated with RYGB, as with any bariatric surgery. Patients who choose to undergo a Roux-en-Y procedure may be at risk for:
- Dumping syndrome. While not a serious health risk, dumping syndrome can be quite uncomfortable, causing symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, weakness and lightheadedness. Dumping syndrome may occur if too much sugar or too much food, in general, is consumed.
- Anastomotic leaks
- Strictures (narrowing of areas where intestines are joined)
- Malabsorption of iron and calcium, which can lead to anemia.
- Metabolic bone disease
- Other post-op risks, such as internal hernias and distension of the excluded stomach
Patients should also be aware that the stomach pouch might stretch back, thereby limiting the potential success of the procedure. Your health care team and East Valley weight loss surgeon at The Bridges Center will discuss the risks and benefits of Roux-en-Y to see if this procedure is a good fit for your health condition and goals.
Can Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Be Reversed?
While it is possible to reverse RYGB or modify the procedure to a sleeve gastrectomy, this decision is rare and would only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
What Happens After Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass?
It is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions as closely as possible following your procedure. Once your surgeon clears you to drink, you may consume water, clear broth, and other simple beverages. It’s important to stop drinking once you feel full. It will take time to adjust to your new stomach size. Take it slow.
Once you find success with a clear liquid diet, your health care team will help you transition to a fully liquid diet, which is normal for about one to two weeks for most patients. At this stage, you will continue to drink very slowly. It may even take 30 minutes to drink as little as two ounces. This is normal. Remember, taking it slow now can set you up for success later. During this phase, you will alternate between water (or low-calorie drinks) and high-protein beverages. Milk, soy milk, breakfast drinks like Carnation Instant Breakfast, and strained cream soups are all options during this phase.
After one to two weeks of a fully liquid diet, it may be safe to move on to pureed foods. As with all phases of RYGB post-op, introduce these foods slowly, alternating between the new dietary phase and the previous one. Pureed foods should have a consistency similar to baby food. You will continue to chart your protein intake during this period. Also, it is important to continue getting complete proteins, which your dietitian at The Bridges Center can help you select.
After about two weeks of a pureed foods diet, you may be able to move on to a soft food diet. Soft foods may be thought of as anything that you can easily cut with a fork. Continue to track protein intake. Try foods one at a time to see how your stomach reacts. As always, transitioning to a new phase should be gradual; continue to eat soft foods and pureed foods for some meals if your stomach needs time adjusting.
Finally, after two weeks of a soft food diet, you may be ready to move on to a regular diet. This is the final stage of the diet, in which you can add in raw fruits and vegetables. In this stage–and always¬–you should avoid simple sugars and fats. Drink six to eight cups of water (or low-calorie beverages) per day, and eat five to six small meals per day. For best weight loss results, continue to track your calorie intake (a typical goal may be between 800 and 1200 calories per day) and protein intake (minimum 60 grams per day). Follow-up with your health care team at The Bridges Center, continue taking prescribed supplements, and stay committed to your exercise routine.
Life After Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
RYGB surgery offers numerous benefits in addition to weight loss, including…
- Lowered blood pressure
- Normalized cholesterol levels
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Normalized blood sugar and Hemoglobin A1c values, oftentimes getting rid of type 2 diabetes and all related medications and insulin injections
- Reduced asthma symptoms
- Reduced sleep apnea
- Reduced lower back pain
At The Bridges Center, we believe that surgical weight loss is about so much more than a number on scale. The dramatic weight loss that is possible through bariatric surgery is nothing short of life-changing, creating a positive impact on a wide range of health conditions.* Why not start a new life in the East Valley through surgical weight loss?
Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass In Phoenix & Mesa, AZ
To learn more about Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and whether it’s right for you, we encourage you to attend a weight loss webinar or seminar at The Bridges Center. Learn about…
- Obesity and its health risks
- The Bridges Center’s proven program
- Our professional health care team
- Weight loss surgery options in Mesa and Phoenix, AZ
To register for a seminar, call 1-800-248-5553 or select the link below.