The Ideal Gastric Bypass Patient
The gastric bypass has been the gold standard in bariatric surgery for several decades. By combining restriction and malabsorption, it offers the best potential weight loss of the major bariatric procedures available today. And while the gastric bypass is no longer the most performed bariatric procedure in the United States (gastric sleeve is), it can still be the best option for patients looking to lose weight and eliminate certain obesity related diseases.
In this article, we will address the two main obesity related diseases that the gastric bypass is ideal for – type-2 diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease or Gerd.
When it comes to managing uncontrolled or poorly controlled type two diabetes, the gastric bypass has no rival in the bariatric world. In fact, upwards of 80 to 90% of patients undergoing a gastric bypass will experience improvement or complete remission of type two diabetes shortly after the procedure. It was once a mystery how this occurred. After all, this improvement is often seen before any significant weight loss and routinely happened within mere days or weeks of surgery. As we understood more about the metabolic system, it became clear that the modification to the intestine creates a sort of reset, re-balancing gut hormones and flora.
The gastric bypass is so effective, in fact, that many clinicians hope it will eventually be the definitive treatment for those with poorly controlled type two diabetes regardless of whether they are obese. With dire estimates of the US population suffering from diabetes or pre-diabetes within the next several decades, the gastric bypass may actually be an excellent tool to address this growing concern.
The gastric bypass is also incredibly effective as it relates to gastroesophageal reflux disease. In fact, other bariatric procedures including the gastric sleeve and the gastric band can worsen existing or create de novo reflux in a subset of patients. On the other hand, the gastric bypass resolves Gerd in a significant majority of patients
Does the gastric bypass make sense for every patient?
Many patients who qualify for bariatric surgery will have the option to choose, in consultation with Dr. Higa, which bariatric procedure they prefer. While the gastric bypass has excellent results and can offer significant excess weight loss, it also comes with some risks and considerations above and beyond those of a gastric sleeve or other purely restrictive procedures. Therefore, a thorough discussion and consultation is the best way to understand if this procedure may be right for you.
Is there anything else I should know about the gastric bypass?
It is important to remember that no matter what bariatric procedure you choose, including the gastric bypass the primary goal is not weight loss, but rather improvement of obesity related diseases. Gastric bypass patients have a great tool with which they can achieve this goal. However, it is not a magic bullet, and the true work begins after surgery when you need to change your exercise and dietary habits for the rest of your life.
We look forward to discussing the gastric bypass with you and invite you to watch Dr. Higa‘s online bariatric surgery seminar as well as to come in for a consultation to learn more.