Gastric Bypass

What is it?

The gastric bypass is still regarded as the “gold standard” of weight loss surgery by many Bariatric surgeons.

The top of the stomach is formed into a very small pouch and most of the stomach is “bypassed” resulting in you being less hungry and only able to eat small portions of food.

What does the surgery involve?

The surgery is a keyhole (laparoscopic) procedure that is performed under general anaesthesia and takes about 1 to 2 hours to perform.

The top part of the stomach, just below where it is joined by the oesophagus (gullet) is divided using keyhole stapling devices to form a small pouch.

The small bowel, which leads from the stomach is divided about a metre down from the stomach and the lower end is brought up to join to this pouch.

This means that food passes down the oesophagus and directly into the small bowel, at a level not accustomed to solid food.

The remainder of the stomach is left in place and drains out of its usual exit, the duodenum and down the normal small bowel which is rejoined a further metre down the bowel.  This means that the digestive juices from the stomach, liver and pancreas still join the bowel, but lower down.

Banded bypass

In the “banded” bypass operation, the initial surgery is the same as the usual procedure.  However, in a small step a thin band is placed around the pouch that is formed in the stomach.  Through a combination of pressure and preventing those pouches from increasing in size it is felt that these increase the overall weight loss and make it last longer.  These benefits are at the expense of a slightly more severe restriction on eating and a minor incidence of problems caused directly by the pressure of the band.

How well will I do?

The main effects are that the patient feels much less hungry and is able to eat only very small amounts after the surgery.  The average patient will lose about a third (33%) of their weight.  This is the fastest weight loss of common operations. Our nurses, dietitian, psychologist and surgeons will help prepare you for recovery and coping with the changes in your eating behaviour.

If a patient eats too much sweet foods at once after a gastric bypass the body may overcompensate and they may suffer from low blood sugar effects.  This is called “dumping syndrome”.  If you did suffer this it may act to discourage future indiscretions and the nature of the surgery is that most patients find it easier to avoid such foods after the procedure.

All patients are advised to take lifelong multiple-vitamins.  You should also have regular checks of key nutrients in you blood in case you need extra supplements.  Your surgeon will discuss potential complications as part of your preparation.

What is my recovery like?

Patients would be expected to remain in hospital for 1 or 2 nights.  There will be structured dietary advice and you will be advised to take only liquid foods orally for the first 4 weeks.  Most patients will usually return to desk jobs in about 4 weeks and more active work at 6 to 8 weeks.

Often patients take 2 or 3 weeks until they feel able to drive again, as guided by DVLC advice.  The first band fills are in 4 weeks after surgery

Packages and prices

Gastric bypass packages are offered in partnership with BMI Healthcare.  The BMI Healthcare website should be consulted for any price or package changes and the following is a description at the time of writing only.

The package price includes consultation with the dietitian and surgeon, pre-assessment and anaesthetic assessment, the procedure and associated hospital stay, the management of any problems in the first 30 days after the procedure and regular consultations with the dietitian and surgeon after the procedure.  The follow-up package lasts for one year.

  1. Initial BMI Healthcare Bariatric Enquiry Centre appointment with dietitian £50
  2. Psychology assessment £220
  3. Laparoscopic gastric bypass package (BMI <50kg/m2) from £10,995
  4. Laparoscopic gastric bypass package (BMI <50kg/m2) from £11,995


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