Fort Worth is a city full of “cowboys and culture,” but it’s also known for some of the most tantalizing food in the US. From chili cook-offs to Tex-Mex-style feasts, many meals may cause weight increases that could contribute to obesity. Obesity means you’re not just overweight; you’re increasing your risk of potentially life-threatening weight-related health issues. Of course food is only one factor linked with the development of obesity. Genetics and other lifestyle habits also play a role, and most people can attribute their condition to several causes.

Almost 32 percent of Texas’ population was considered obese in 2014. Texas ranked as having the 11th highest adult obesity rate in the nation, and health groups predict that more than half of the state’s residents will soon face obesity. If you’re looking for weight-loss solutions, gastric bypass surgery may be a viable option. Dr. Hossein Bagshahi, our board-certified surgeon, can help you determine if this or another bariatric procedure is right for you.

What Is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery, also known as Roux-en-Y, is a weight loss procedure designed to reduce the size of your stomach and restrict calorie absorption. The technique excludes the majority of the stomach and reroutes part of the lower intestine to achieve significant weight loss. Although there are several types of bariatric surgery, this procedure has been performed for several decades and historically was considered the “gold-standard” in weight loss surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery isn’t for someone looking to shed a few pounds; it’s geared toward those who need to dramatically decrease their body mass index (BMI) and are suffering from obesity-related health concerns.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Gastric Bypass?

While this bariatric method offers numerous benefits for the right candidate, it’s not appropriate for everyone. Some of the advantages of gastric bypass surgery are:

  • Produces significant long-term weight loss for most patients
  • Restricts the amount of food that can be consumed, decreases the sensation of hunger for better appetite control
  • Produces favorable changes in gut hormones that reduce appetite and enhance satiety and improve diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, hyperlipidemia, and decreases joint pain to name a few.

It’s also important to recognize certain drawbacks that could affect your progress or results, including:

  • Technically a more complex operation than adjustable gastric banding (AGB) or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG), and has a higher rate of early and late complications compared for sleeve gastrectomy.
  • Can lead to long-term vitamin/mineral deficiencies, particularly deficits in vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and folate
  • Requires adherence to dietary recommendations, life-long vitamin/mineral supplementation, and follow-up compliance
  • More strict restrictions related to medications such as extended-release formulations of your medications, use of NSAIDs, and oral steroids.

A detailed review of surgery, post op requirements and review of risks, and benefits will be covered at your consultation.

Is Gastric Bypass Right for You?

Gastric bypass surgery is one of the most effective weight loss options available today. For patients who struggle with being overweight, who have tried dozens of alternatives and failed, gastric bypass surgery is often a solution that works to achieve significant weight loss and improved overall health. However, not everyone is a good candidate for this surgery.

There are certain medical, physical, and even emotional criteria that need to be considered if you’re thinking of getting gastric bypass surgery. Here are some things to think about to know if you might be a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery:

You Should Commit to Losing Weight with Lifestyle Changes

One common misconception about gastric bypass surgery is that the person will lose weight and keep it off no matter what. The reality of gastric bypass surgery is a little different. If you aren’t fully committed to the idea of losing weight, for one reason or another, even with gastric bypass surgery, you could gain weight in the future if you do not commit to proper eating habits and routine physical activity.

The way that gastric bypass surgery works is by stapling the top part of the stomach and creating a small gastric pouch (the size of a walnut or egg) and excluding the remainder of the stomach. Next, the small intestine is disconnected and reconnected to the gastric pouch. This allows restriction from the small stomach pouch. and a small amount of malabsorption of fats and protein, by bypassing a portion of the small intestine before food encounters the bile stream from the liver and digestive enzymes from the pancreas. One of the biggest factors that leads to weight loss, satiety, and improved insulin metabolism is the gut physiology and hormonal changes a gastric bypass causes in the body.

You Should Be in Reasonable Health to Tolerate Anesthesia and the Surgery

Obesity by itself is a very unhealthy state, as such patients are typical designated as an ASA 3 classification for anesthesia. Historically, operations on obese patients were avoided due to risk of anesthesia and surgery itself. However, improvements in anesthetic gases and techniques, combined with peri-operative monitoring and decreased trauma from laparoscopic surgery, have dramatically decreased the risk of surgery in the obese population.

A typical pre-operative work-up can include a cardiac evaluation and clearance, a sleep study, labs, nutrition education, psychological assessment, and evaluation of gastrointestinal symptoms, if required.

Your Medical Insurance May Cover the Cost

If you are a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery, your medical insurance company may cover the cost based on your physician’s professional recommendation. If you are considering gastric bypass surgery, review your medical policy or speak to an insurance representative to make sure it would be covered. Be advised that most bariatric surgeons do not accept Medicaid. you can call our office to discuss your medical insurance policy and perform an “insurance verification” of benefits to see if your plan will cover the cost of surgery.

You Should Try Other Methods First

Gastric bypass surgery is a serious surgery that you should only consider if all else has failed. Before resorting to any weight loss surgery, speak to your bariatric physician to find out if there are other noninvasive weight loss options available to you. Chances are, your doctor will be able to suggest at least one that you might not have tried yet.

If you suffer from being overweight, gastric bypass surgery may be a viable option, but considering the factors that make a good candidate first is a wise move. For more information about gastric bypass surgery cost, contact us today.

What Should I Expect During the Gastric Bypass Procedure?

Gastric bypass surgeries are performed in a hospital under general anesthesia, which means you’ll be unconscious during the procedure. While some operations are performed using traditional large incisions in your abdomen, Dr. Bagshahi typically performs the procedure laparoscopically, which is much less invasive and offers a quicker healing time.

Laparoscopic techniques have dramatically decreased complications related to open surgery and lead to shorter recovery time and length of time required to return to work. After gastric bypass surgery, you will be up and walking as soon as anesthesia wears off the same evening. You will stay in the hospital overnight for monitoring during your recovery and typically be discharged the day after surgery, once you can tolerate oral liquids, walk, have well-controlled pain and nausea, and experience no issues related to surgery. Most patients return to work in four to seven days depending on their activity levels and job requirements, some patients may need more time before returning to work.

What Happens During Gastric Bypass Recovery?

Following surgery and discharge from the hospital, you will follow a recovery diet plan that includes two weeks of liquids, two weeks of pureed food, then slowly introduce soft foods and eventually solid food. You will receive a post-surgery guide booklet to outline the diet recovery plan, types of protein supplements, meal examples, and detailed multivitamin regimen required for long-term success. You will slowly increase your physical activity and exercise levels, and you will work on developing a lifelong habit of exercise and increased physical activity for physical and mental health as well as to keep the weight off long term.

Are There Any Gastric Bypass Side Effects?

Obesity can cause a number of health-related issues, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and heart disease. While gastric bypass surgery can provide long-term weight loss, like any surgical procedure, risks are involved. Gastric bypass surgery changes the way your body handles food, so it’s vital that you incorporate healthy lifestyle changes to ensure your body gets all its required nutrients. In some cases, patients may experience certain effects as a result of the procedure, particularly if they eat beyond the capacity of the stomach pouch, indulge in foods that are not recommended, or otherwise disregard the optimal diet. Aside form risks immediately related to surgery such as bleeding, infection, leaks, (otherwise covered in your surgical consent at the time of pre-op) these effects can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dumping syndrome (mainly caused by high sugar or high fat foods, things that a bypass patient is instructed to avoid)
  • Development of gallstones
  • Nutritional deficiencies (follow multivitamin and dietary instructions and maintain long term follow up to avoid these, or treat them if they arise)
  • Bowel obstruction (intense abdominal pain after gastric bypass should not be ignored as this could be related to an internal hernia, which can be life-threatening)

Our goal is to provide proper pre-op education in your decision to find the procedure that suits you, prepare you to have surgery, and develop a long-term relationship that establishes continued long-term aftercare. This is designed to ensure you are losing weight in a healthy, effective manner and to address any “alarm symptoms” that may arise post-op.

Is There a Gastric Bypass Diet to Follow?

You should be aware that there is no magic bullet when it comes to bariatric surgery. You will undergo a nutrition assessment and pre-op nutrition education, which will outline the pre-op diet, post-op recovery diet, multivitamin and supplement regimen, and proper eating habits to develop after recovery from surgery.

Pre-Op Diet

You will receive a post-surgery guide booklet to outline pre-op and post op diet plan. Prior to surgery we review eating behaviors, habits, teach mindful eating, work on avoiding poor food choices, and reduce calorie intake in general. Dr. Bagshahi encourages patients to start taking a multivitamin, a probiotic, and fiber supplements, as these are important factors in the gut microbiome and are related to healthy metabolism, bowel habits, and overall improved GI health.

In the weeks before surgery, you will go on a liquid diet to decrease the liver size and intra-abdominal fat, which will create more space to work during surgery and also help manage eating behavior immediately after surgery. This makes it possible to avoid diet-related complications with staple lines as the stomach and bowel is healing.

Post-Op Diet

In general, your diet will be limited by stomach-size restriction and malabsorption, and your body will gradually adapt to the changes. With a smaller stomach, you simply cannot take in as much food as you did previously, and with malabsorption of macro and micronutrients, absorption will be different between the various procedures. So, it’s important to prioritize your nutritional requirements and follow dietary and supplement recommendations to achieve successful healthy weight loss.

Protein

Your skin, bones, muscles, and vital organs all depend on protein, and you should first of all ensure that you take in an adequate supply. In the immediate days and weeks after gastric bypass surgery, this may need to be in predominantly liquid form, using protein supplements outlined in your surgery guide booklet.

Carbohydrates

Long term It’s also important to maintain an adequate intake of complex carbohydrates. Avoid refined and simple carbohydrates with a high glycemic index. Complex carbohydrates will minimize spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, preventing the craving for sugary snacks and refined carbohydrates, which can easily derail your efforts to maintain your new healthy weight. Unrefined carbohydrates and vegetables are also a great source of essential vitamins and minerals.

The amount of these solid foods your body can absorb will increase over time, but in the early days you need to focus on liquid and soft foods and high protein diet. You should always take in plenty of water and other fluids, but this intake should be spread throughout the day.

The ideal gastric bypass surgery diet is not very different from the best diet for anyone. Surgery is used as a tool to help control appetite through volume restriction and appetite suppression. These approaches can achieve significant weight loss, and they can help patients work on developing a healthy lifestyle by choosing more nutritious foods and developing healthy activity levels through increased mobility at a lower weight.

How Much Does Gastric Bypass Cost?

The price of gastric bypass surgery may be covered by your medical insurance. We can provide insurance verification, if needed; simply contact our office. Please note most bariatrics surgeons do not accept Medicare. Price should not be the only determinant of where you receive surgery and who performs the procedure, as this could have unintended and serious consequences. It’s important to consider your safety, the quality and training of a potential bariatric surgeon, and facility accreditation when choosing a weight loss surgeon and practice. We cannot discuss other patients’ treatment plans and costs; however, we will review the price of your program with you in full during your initial consultation. Everyone deserves access to good health, and we will work with you to find weight loss financing and other payment options to best suit your needs.

The best way to determine if this procedure is right for you is to discuss your concerns, goals, and medical needs with a qualified bariatric surgeon. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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