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Gastric bypass surgery has been contemplated by many overweight people. Some can’t afford it and their insurance to approve it. Some fear it because of the risks. Others decide to go for it. What do you know about life after gastric bypass surgery?
With obesity on the rise in America, people are becoming more sensitive to the health risks of being considerably overweight or obese. A resent research report found that out of a large number of patients who had bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) in the period from 1995 to 2004, only one percent died within a year of their operation and around 6 percent died within five years.

When you consider the age and sex of these people and match the statistics against that for the general population, these percentages are relatively high. Just what does this tell us about the risk to our health after this controversial weight loss procedure?

Complications

Nearly ten percent of people have complications after gastric bypass surgery. These are generally minor and include:
  • Wound infection
  • Ulcers
  • Digestive problems
  • Bleeding

Between one and five percent of people have life-threatening complications after gastric bypass surgery. These are more serious and include:
  • Blood clot
  • Leak of surgical connections to the intestines
  • Heart attack
  • Serious infection
  • Profuse bleeding

Side Effects of Gastric Bypass Surgery

Iron and Vitamin B12 Deficiency – This occurs more than thirty percent of the time. Around fifty percent of patients with an iron deficiency develop anemia as well.
Stomal Stenosis – This involves the narrowing of the connection between the stomach and the intestines and this occurs around ten percent of the time, leading to nausea and vomiting after eating.
Ulcerations - These develop in around ten percent of patients.
Staple Mishaps - The staples may sag or pull loose.
Hernias - These may develop along the visceral wall of the abdomen.
Stomach Enlargement - The bypassed stomach may enlarge, resulting in hiccups, flatulence, and bloating.

Other Common Side Effects

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Excessive Flatulence
  • Dehydration
  • Food Intolerance
  • Changed Bowel Habits

Weight Loss and Improvements to Health

After gastric bypass surgery, the weight loss can be dramatic. The average patient loses around sixty percent of their extra weight. For instance, a 400 pound person who is 250 pounds overweight would lose around 150 pounds. In addition to weight loss, many health problems that are related to the obesity will improve, lessen, or go away entirely. These include high blood pressure, asthma, sleep apnea, and diabetes.
Lifestyle Changes

You can expect to have a decrease in absorption of nutrients after a gastric bypass operation. This will lead to many health conditions like anemia and osteoporosis, due to the lack of iron and calcium absorption. Taking nutritional supplements and getting your blood checked regularly will be part of your routine. Losing weight will require much motivation and a definite change in behavior. You must adapt to eating very small meals and start exercising.

Weight Loss Surgery Options

There are many of other weight loss procedures besides gastric bypass. Some of these other types of weight loss surgery include:

Adjustable Gastric Banding or "Lap Banding"

Gastric banding, also known as Lap Banding, is the second most commonly performed weight loss surgery. It makes up around fifteen percent of the weight loss procedures formed in the United States. This procedure involves a gastric band being placed surgically around the upper portion of the stomach and the ring can be tightened and loosened. If need be, this procedure can be completely reversed, too.

Vertical Banded Gastroplasty

This kind of surgery combines "stomach stapling" with gastric banding. Vertical banded gastroplasty is rarely performed due to lower rates of weight loss and higher rates of complications.

Biliopancreatic Diversion

This surgery is similar to the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure. With the biliopancreatic diversion surgery, the surgeon will reconnect the stomach poouch much further down the small intestine so that fewer calories will be absorbed. Because it is more difficult to perform and it leads to more nutritional problems, biliopancreatic diversion is only done around five percent of the time.