Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

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.

What is gastric bypass?

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.

How does gastric bypass work?

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.

What are the expected weight loss outcomes for gastric bypass?

After treatment, you can expect to:

  • Lose about 30 percent of your pre-surgery body weight
  • Feel increased energy and move more easily
  • Have fewer weight-related health problems

What are the additional health benefits of a gastric bypass besides weight loss?

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:

  • Sleep apnea
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
    • For patients that struggle with this chronic and disabling disease, surgery often leads to a rapid improvement in type 2 diabetes. Many patients leave the hospital no longer needing their diabetic medications.

Am I a candidate for gastric bypass?

You need to have a certain body mass index (BMI) to qualify for surgery. You may qualify for surgery if:

  • Your BMI is 40 or more. This means you’re about 100 pounds overweight.
  • Your BMI is 35 or more and you also have a qualifying medical condition (for example, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or sleep apnea).

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.

How do I improve and optimize my health before a gastric bypass?

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:

  • Consultations with a surgeon and physician assistant who review your medical history and helps you determine the best procedure for you
  • Consultation with a psychologist who assesses your weight and emotional history, and helps you with strategies for weight loss success
  • Consultations with a dietitian who offers a nutrition class, a nutrition assessment and a nutrition plan that complements your lifestyle

What is recovery like after a gastric bypass?

The operation takes about 90-120 minutes to perform and the hospital stay is 1-2 days. Patients usually return to work in 2-4 weeks. After the surgery, you will also need to take daily vitamin supplements. After surgery, you move through a staged eating plan which consists of:

  • Clear liquids, such as water and broth for 1 day
  • Protein drinks, yogurt, egg whites for 1 week
  • By day 7, more smooth textures can be added (cottage cheese, oatmeal, etc.)
  • At day 14, soft textures are included (chicken, turkey, fish, beans, etc.)
  • At day 35, most foods can be added back in, gradually

Marianne lost more than 100 pounds following weight-loss surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In this video, she describes how the Brigham’s Center for Weight Management and Wellness helped transform her health and life. Ali Tavakkoli, MD, co-director of the center, discusses how the team creates a life-long partnership with patients for long-term success.

Do you offer long-term weight management support after a gastric bypass?

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 offer:

  • Individual appointments with members of our team
  • Group meetings
  • Private online support forum for new and past patients
  • Email communication through Patient Gateway with your care team

How do I get started?

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.

Which surgeons perform gastric bypass?

Ali Tavakkoli, MD
Chief, General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

Abdelrahman Nimeri, MBBCH
Director of Bariatric Surgery

Neil D. Ghushe, MD
Bariatric Surgeon

Malcolm Kenneth Robinson, MD, FACS
Bariatric Surgeon

Eric G. Sheu, MD, PhD
Bariatric Surgeon

David Spector, MD
Bariatric Surgeon

Thomas C. Tsai, MD, MPH
Bariatric Surgeon

Ashley Haralson Vernon, MD
Bariatric Surgeon

How do I schedule an appointment to learn more about weight loss surgery options?

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.

I’m a doctor. How do I refer a patient?

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.

Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital

For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

About BWH