I’m a 34-year-old woman and I hate the way I look. I’ve been overweight for most of my life and now weigh 18 stone and am a dress size 22. I've tried every diet but nothing lasted. Every activity, even walking, is an effort and I'm at the end of my tether. I read about gastric bypass recently. Can you tell me more about this operation?
Professor Peter Lodge Consultant General Surgeon, Spire Leeds Hospital
The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is recognised as the gold standard for weight loss surgery. The degree of weight loss achieved depends to some extent on how heavy you are at the time of surgery but most patients lose 2 to 3 stone in the first 6 weeks and a similar amount over the next 4 to 5 months.
The operation is designed for a gradual loss of weight, continuing over a two year period as procedures designed for more rapid weight loss have been associated with significant side effects in the past. This operation has been tested for more than 20 years but it is only recently that it has been carried out laparoscopically (using “key hole surgery”). The first stage is to create a small pouch from the stomach, reducing its capacity. The second stage involves bypassing a portion of the intestine to reduce food absorption. The newest weight loss surgery techniques enable almost all patients can go home within 24 hours of surgery.
Effectively, you can change your life overnight! Following successful laparoscopic surgery, most people are fully recovered within 2 weeks of the operation. As you lose weight it is important to increase the amount of exercise that you do. Weight loss surgery should be regarded as the start of a new life.