Weight Loss Surgery in Houston Helps Improve Your Health
UT MIST Center for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery offers surgical gastric bypass to its Houston area patients who wish to lose up to 80 percent of their excess weight. This procedure helps patients lose weight by (1) reducing the size of their stomach and (2) changing how the stomach and small intestine process food.
Following surgery, food bypasses certain parts of the stomach and small intestine, so that the body does not absorb all of the calories consumed. Because it can only absorb fewer calories from ingested food, the body resorts to burning stored fat reserves for energy, resulting in weight loss.
For gastric bypass surgery, Houston UT MIST surgeons are among the most highly trained and experienced bariatric specialists in the United States, and they offer some of the most sophisticated minimally invasive technologies and techniques available. During your consultation, they will explain the benefits and risks of gastric bypass surgery and help you decide if it is an appropriate treatment option for you.
What Happens During a Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Roux-en-Y, or RYGB, is the most common form of gastric bypass surgery performed at UT MIST—and throughout the world. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery uses a combination of restriction and malabsorption to help patients lose weight. During the procedure, your surgeon creates a smaller stomach pouch, which restricts the amount of food you can eat. He then attaches a Y-shaped section of your small intestine directly to that pouch. This allows food to bypass a large portion of the small intestine, which is responsible for absorbing calories and nutrients. A smaller stomach pouch cannot contain as much food; therefore, it helps you to feel full or satiated quickly. Over time, you will become accustomed to this, and will become used to eating less food. Bypassing a portion of the small intestine means that your body absorbs fewer calories (malabsorption). The end result is gradual weight loss, as your body turns to its own stored fat as a source of energy. After a gastric bypass, the stomach and intestines will absorb fewer nutrients from the food you eat, so you will have to take vitamins and other supplements long-term.
What Are the Benefits of Gastric Bypass Surgery?
A weight loss surgery such as a gastric bypass may be a suitable option if you are very obese and have had little to no continuous success losing weight through diet and exercise improvements.
Along with weight, doctors use the presence of certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure or type II diabetes, to assess whether a patient may benefit significantly from this procedure.
Most gastric bypass patients who closely follow their doctor's diet and exercise regimen can expect to lose between 60 to 80 percent of their excess weight over the course of 18 months. At five years after the operation, this weight loss has shown to be well maintained at 50 to 70 percent of excess body weight.
In addition to feeling better overall and moving about more easily to accomplish everyday activities, gastric bypass surgery offers many potential benefits, such as the following:
- Resolution of high blood pressure
- Control of type II diabetes
- Decrease in high cholesterol
- Relief of back and joint or osteoarthritis pain
- Resolution of obstructive sleep apnea
- Improvement in asthma, arthritis, or acid reflux
- Relief of urinary stress incontinence
- Possible reduction or resolution of venous disease symptoms, such as swelling in the legs
- Better balanced hormones, resulting in increased metabolism
- Potential to greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for medications due to relief or resolution of adverse health conditions
- Improvements in mood and self-esteem
The amount of weight lost after gastric bypass surgery is individualized. Our patients have found that much of the long-term effects depends on the physiology of your body and on how well you follow the post-surgery diet and exercise program. It is important to remember that this surgery alone is not a solution to losing weight. You will learn to eat less, but in order to meet your individual weight-loss goals, you will need to carefully follow your doctor's and dietician's exercise and eating guidelines.
What to Expect from Gastric Bypass Surgery at Houston UT MIST
Gastric bypass surgery is performed under general anesthesia, and it typically lasts between two to four hours. Nearly all gastric bypass surgery at UT MIST is currently performed with a minimally invasive, laparoscopic approach.
With laparoscopic surgery, the entire surgery is performed through several small incisions in your abdomen. A tiny camera called a laparoscope is inserted into one of those openings, enabling your surgeon to see on a video monitor the interior of your abdomen. He then inserts thin surgical instruments through the other small incisions to complete your bypass.
Once surgery is completed, your surgeon removes all surgical instruments and closes all incisions.
Recovery from Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery
After gastric bypass surgery, most of our patients remain in the hospital for between one and two days. You will be able to consume liquids after surgery, and most patients remain on a liquid diet for at least two weeks. Your diet is gradually advanced over a six- to seven-week period. Special stockings may also be provided to prevent the development of blood clots.
The areas where the incisions were made will feel sore and tender in the first few days following the operation. Doctors may prescribe pain medication to help manage these symptoms. Patients are typically asked to stand and take a short walk starting the day of surgery, to help remove any excess gas and prevent other complications, including blood clots. In the days following, walking multiple times a day is recommended.
To ensure your health and safety, you will be discharged and allowed to return home only after meeting crucial post-surgical criteria for gastric bypass. Before you are discharged, you will receive specific post- operative instructions regarding diet, pain medication, and exercise. It is very important to follow these instructions in order to ensure a recovery that is as smooth, safe, and comfortable as possible. If you do not follow these instructions, you may experience complications and/or poor results from the surgery.
The first follow-up appointment typically occurs a week after the gastric bypass. The second and third follow-ups are spaced out between a month each, provided recovery is proceeding normally. The exact schedules may vary from patient to patient, depending on how they heal.
Our gastric bypass patients typically lose most of their excess weight during the first 18 months, and they continue to lose weight for up to two to three years. A combination of healthy eating, exercise, and behavior modification enable most of our patients to keep their weight off for good.
What Are the Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery in Houston?
All surgeries, including gastric bypass, carry risks. At the UT MIST Center for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, we make every effort to inform patients about potential risks, some of which may include leaks, ulcers, internal hernias, and dumping syndrome, whereby food passes too quickly into the small intestine, or nutritional imbalances. During your consultation, your surgeon will thoroughly explain potential risks and answer any questions you have about this procedure.
Gastric bypass surgery is a relatively safe procedure, with an average complication rate of between five to six percent in the first 30 days following a laparoscopic gastric bypass.
To learn more, please review our PATIENT GUIDE for gastric bypass surgery.
Options for Weight Loss Beyond Gastric Bypass Surgery at Houston UT MIST
Depending on various factors, such as your medical history, present physical condition, and extent of weight loss required, your surgeon might recommend a different bariatric procedure, such as adjustable gastric banding (LAP-BAND® System), sleeve gastrectomy surgery, or duodenal switch.
In certain cases, an endoscopic or incisionless procedure for weight loss may be appropriate for you. Whatever option you choose, the team of UT MIST surgeons and staff will fully support you in your decision. We look forward to helping you on your life-changing path to better health and wellness.
If you are ready to make a positive change in your life, request a consultation online or call our office at (713) 892-5500 for more information about how you can start on your path to better health and wellness.
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