gastric bypass surgery
What is gastric bypass surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery, also called Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, is considered the “gold standard” of weight loss surgery. It is the most common—and most complex—bariatric procedure performed. It is most frequently used for people whose obesity is life threatening.

In this procedure, the stomach is reduced in size, and the first two-foot section of the small intestine is bypassed. This not only reduces the amount of food you can eat, it also decreases the amount of calories that your body can absorb.

How is it performed?

Gastric bypass surgery is performed in two parts. First, surgeons form a small stomach pouch from the top of the stomach by dividing it from the rest.

Next, the first portion of the small intestine is divided. The bottom end of the divided small intestine is brought up and connected to the newly created smaller stomach. The connection is known as a Roux-en-Y limb.

The food you eat will “bypass” the larger portion of the stomach and the first two feet of small intestine. However, important stomach acids and digestive enzymes from the bypassed areas will eventually mix with your digested food.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center bariatric surgeons are trained to use the da Vinci® Surgical System for gastric bypass procedures. During a robotic procedure, the surgeon inserts tiny robotic instruments and a camera into small incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon then controls the surgery from a nearby console.

How does it work?

Gastric bypass surgery works in several ways. First, the newly created small stomach pouch means you feel full sooner—and eat less. Consuming fewer calories results in weight loss.

In addition, because the food you do eat bypasses a large portion of your stomach and the first part of your small intestine, you absorb less calories and nutrients.

Most important, changing the route food takes through your digestive system reduces the production of hormones that control hunger and make you feel full, as well as the amount of glucose in your blood. As a result, your appetite is decreased. The procedure may also help reverse obesity that controls type 2 diabetes.

“Dumping syndrome,” which occurs when undigested contents of your stomach move too rapidly into your small bowel, can be a side effect of gastric bypass. Symptoms can be controlled by reducing the amount of sugar you eat—and that can result in weight loss, as well.

How much weight can I expect to lose?

Results vary, but the average patient can expect to lose 50 to 90 percent of excess weight in the 12 to 18 months after gastric bypass surgery.

More about weight loss surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center:

Location Information

To find a bariatrics specialist, call 
844-333-DOCS (3627).

MedStar Washington Hospital Center
106 Irving Street, NW
Physicians Office Building, Suite 3400
Washington, DC 20010