Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass is one of the most frequently performed weight loss surgeries in the United States. Patients who undergo this procedure will experience an early sense of fullness and reduced desire to eat. 

Patients who work with our nutrition, fitness and mental health experts to make lifestyle changes after surgery will see the best results. Learn more about Life After Surgery

  • Two years after surgery, weight loss averages 70 percent of excess body weight
  • Studies show that after 10 to 14 years, patients maintain most of their weight loss, on average losing 50 percent of excess body weight
  • A 2000 study of 500 patients showed that 96 percent of some health conditions (back pain, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression) improved or resolved 

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass: How does it work?

Diagram: Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric BypassIn most cases, gastric bypass surgery is a laparoscopic - or minimally-invasive - procedure. The surgeon works with instruments and a camera inserted through small incisions in the abdomen. 

The surgery does two things: 

  • It uses staples to create a small stomach pouch that holds just under an ounce. A smaller stomach means you feel full faster. 
  • It connects this stomach pouch to the middle of the small intestine, just past the duodenum. Bypassing a portion of the small intestine reduces how much food your body absorbs. 

The procedure does not remove the remainder of your stomach, which is stapled shut inside of you. The other end of your small intestine is connected to the Roux limb, creating the "Y" shape that gives this surgery its name. 

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass: What are the risks? 

As with any elective surgery, patients must weigh the health benefits against any possible risks. Bypassing the duodenum causes the body to absorb fewer nutrients in addition to less food and calories. Risks may include: 

  • Poor Iron Absorption/Anemia: Can be problematic for patients with chronic blood loss - such as excessive menstrual flow or bleeding hemorrhoids 
  • Heightened Bone Calcium Loss: Women already at risk for osteoporosis should be aware of this risk. May result in bone pain, loss of height, humped back and fractures of the ribs and hip bones in patients who do not eat a proper diet and take vitamin supplements 
  • Chronic Anemia due to Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Can be managed through B12 pills or injections 
  • "Dumping Syndrome":  When patients eat foods too high in sugar or fat, the stomach may rapidly empty its contents into the small intestine, causing nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness and diarrhea. Some patients are unable to eat any sweets after surgery.

After surgery, the bypassed stomach, duodenum and small intestine segments may be hard to see on X-rays or with endoscopy. Patients who experience unrelated ulcers, bleeding or malignancy should be aware of this result.

Learn more about the Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass in our health encyclopedia.

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Weight Management Center

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Fox 8 Interview

Fox 8 Interview

Is weight loss surgery right for you? Dr. Fuzz Fernandez discusses to pros and cons with Fox 8 in Winston-Salem, NC.

Last Updated: 11-14-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.