Gastric bypass surgery refers to a surgical process in which the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower "remnant" pouch and then the small intestine is rearranged to connect to both. Surgeons have developed several different ways to reconnect the intestine, thus leading to several different gastric bypass procedures (GBP). Any GBP leads to a marked reduction in the functional volume of the stomach, accompanied by an altered physiological and physical response to food.
The gastric bypass reduces the size of the stomach by well over 90%. A normal stomach can stretch, sometimes to over 1000 mL, while the pouch of the gastric bypass may be 15 mL in size. The gastric bypass pouch is usually formed from the part of the stomach which is least susceptible to stretching. That, and its small original size, prevents any significant long-term change in pouch volume. What does change, over time, is the size of the connection between the stomach and intestine and the ability of the small intestine to hold a greater volume of food. Over time, the functional capacity of the pouch increases; by that time, weight loss has occurred, and the increased capacity should serve to allow maintenance of a lower body weight.
When the patient ingests just a small amount of food, the first response is a stretching of the wall of the stomach pouch, stimulating nerves that tell the brain that the stomach is full. The patient feels a sensation of fullness, as if they had just eaten a large meal—but with just a thimble-full of food. Most people do not stop eating simply in response to a feeling of fullness, but the patient rapidly learns that subsequent bites must be eaten very slowly and carefully, to avoid increasing discomfort or vomiting.
Mortality and complication rates
Mortality and complications are affected by pre-existing risk factors such as degree of obesity, heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes mellitus, and history of prior pulmonary embolism.
Complications of abdominal surgery