Gastric Bypass Surgery

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Gastric bypass surgery, also known as the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is a type of weight loss surgery that can help those who are morbidly obese lose a significant amount of weight. Developed in the late 1960s, gastric bypass surgery was one of the earliest successful operations for weight loss. In the years since, gastric bypass surgery has continually improved so that patients today experience fewer complications and better outcomes.

In gastric bypass surgery, surgeons separate the top part of the stomach from the rest of the stomach, creating a very small pouch about the size of an egg. The intestines are connected to the pouch, allowing food to bypass the rest of the stomach. As food is eaten, it travels from the pouch directly to the small intestine where it is digested and absorbed.

Benefits and complications of gastric bypass surgery

Gastric bypass surgery promotes weight loss by creating a stomach that can only hold a small amount of food, leading patients to eat less. Bypass surgery also stimulates hormones that help to minimize appetite. In addition, it causes mild inability to absorb micronutrients, preventing the patient from eating sweets and junk food because of a phenomenon called "Dumping Syndrome." After gastric bypass surgery, patients are typically able to lose 30 to 40 percent of their total body weight.

Gastric bypass surgery also can provide additional benefits for patients with other serious health conditions, including type two diabetes, severe heartburn, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure.

Of the various weight loss surgery options, gastric bypass tends to promote more significant weight loss than a lap band surgery or sleeve gastrectomy, but more complications as well. Potential complications of gastric bypass surgery include bleeding, bowel obstruction, leakage, hernias, blood clots, and vitamin deficiencies. With recent advances and improvements to the procedure, the risk of death from gastric bypass surgery is now less than two out of every 1,000 patients.

Understanding Bariatric Surgery Treatment Options for Obesity

In this video, Dr. Scott Shikora, Director of Brigham and Women's Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, discusses weight loss surgery options for weight loss and metabolic treatment in patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 or BMI greater than 35 with a major co-morbid condition. Weight loss surgery, or bariatric surgery, can result in meaningful and sustainable weight loss that has long term health benefits. Brigham and Women's Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery performs several weight loss surgery procedures including lap band surgery (adjustable gastric band), sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery at BWH

The Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) provides comprehensive weight loss surgery options for patients who struggle with morbid obesity. Our surgeons cumulatively have more than 70 years of experience performing weight loss surgery and can perform each procedure, including gastric bypass surgery, using laparoscopic tools that tend to ensure faster recovery, fewer complications and better outcomes.

To learn more about gastric bypass surgery and other weight loss surgeries, patients can attend an information session at BWH. To find a session that's convenient for you, call our new patient coordinator at 617-732-8500, ext. 1.

In addition to gastric bypass surgery and other weight loss surgeries, BWH offers a number of additional medical services across multiple specialties, including cardiac surgery, neurology, spine surgery, orthopaedic surgery and women's health services. Patients in need of a specific treatment, such as a laparoscopic hysterectomy, can use the Find a Doctor feature on our website to find physicians in their area.

Learn more about Laparoscopic Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Find a DoctorFind an expert Bariatric Surgeon from BWH for weight loss surgery.

Find an expert Bariatric Surgeon from Brigham and Women's Hospital for weight loss and metabolic treatment.

Quality and SafetyLearn how quality and patient safety are at the core of Brigham and Women's mission and vision.

Learn how quality and patient safety are at the core of Brigham and Women's mission and vision. 

Top HospitalRead how BWH is nationally ranked in 11 medical specialties by U.S. News and World Report.

Read how BWH is nationally ranked in 11 medical specialties by U.S. News and World Report.

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