Our team of experts is at the forefront of weight loss surgery. We will work with you to find the best weight loss procedure for your goals and needs. The gastric bypass is one of the surgical options we offer at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Laparoscopic techniques use only a few small incisions (cuts), unlike traditional open surgery. This is safer and gives you a faster recovery time than open surgery. You have less scarring and a smaller risk of infection.
Gastric bypass surgery reduces the size of the stomach and limits how much food the stomach can hold, leading to weight loss. The surgery also alters the levels of hormones that control hunger. This makes you less likely to overeat.
During gastric bypass surgery, your surgeon first makes your stomach smaller by dividing your stomach into a top section and a bottom section. The top section that's created is called the pouch. It's about the size of an egg and can hold 1 to 2 ounces of food.
To complete the bypass part of the surgery, your surgeon connects a part of your small intestine to the pouch. When you eat food, it moves from the pouch through this new opening into your small intestine. This means food bypasses (goes around) the upper part of the small intestine. These steps of the surgery lead to neurohormonal changes which reduce hunger, increase feelings of fullness and help you lose weight.
After treatment, you can expect to:
You may have better health following surgery, like fewer symptoms from weight-related health conditions. After treatment, the following conditions may improve or even resolve completely:
You need to have a certain body mass index (BMI) to qualify for surgery. You may qualify for surgery if:
Healthcare professionals use BMI to check your risk for weight-related diseases. BMI is based on a formula that considers your current weight and height. While it’s not a perfect method, it can be a useful health indicator for many people. To find out your BMI, you can use our BMI calculator. If you don’t qualify for bariatric surgery, we offer other options like endoscopic treatments and medically supervised treatments.
We can help you make lifestyle changes before the surgery. You will also have a few consultations to meet with your care team. These include:
Gastric bypass surgery usually takes 1.5 to 2 hours. Most patients stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 days and return to work in 2 to 4 weeks. After surgery, you move through a staged meal plan which consists of:
Yes, we offer ongoing support to help you keep the weight off. Our comprehensive team—which includes surgeons, dietitians, psychologists, and physician assistants—helps support you to ensure you remain successful long after your surgery has been completed.
We currently offer two types of information sessions—a 13 minute online session, which can be taken on-demand, or a live session conducted virtually with a member of our surgical team. These sessions are offered in both English and Spanish. During these sessions, you'll hear about the details and benefits of each weight loss surgery and learn more about the program. For help finding a session, you can visit this page or contact us at 617-525-3597.
Ali Tavakkoli, MD
Chief, General and Gastrointestinal Surgery
Scott Shikora, MD, FACS
Director, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (Dr. Shikora is no longer accepting new patients)
Neil D. Ghushe, MD
Malcolm Kenneth Robinson, MD, FACS
Eric G. Sheu, MD, PhD
David Spector, MD
Thomas C. Tsai, MD, MPH
Ashley Haralson Vernon, MD
After you have viewed our info session online or attended a virtual information session, please call us at 617-525-3597 to schedule an initial evaluation to discuss treatment options.
Brigham and Women's offers experience, excellence, and patient-focused care. If you are interested in referring a patient, you can call 617-525-3597 for additional information or to register a patient for a free information session.
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