Surgery is only one part of a comprehensive weight-loss process. Patients who choose weight-loss surgery must be willing to comply with diet and exercise restrictions both before and after their procedure.
In preparation for surgery, our specialists will meet with you to discuss pre-operative and post-operative details. All patients must be able to exercise and comply with a restricted diet, which requires careful attention to food selection and overeating. It is essential to carefully follow diet and exercise guidelines prior to surgery and prepare for a regimented diet after the surgery. Our dietitians and physical therapists will work with you to develop individual meal plans and fitness goals for before and after the surgery.
Patients are encouraged to speak with others who have undergone weight-loss surgery to better understand the benefits and long-term lifestyle changes that must be made.
Both laparoscopic and open gastric bypass surgery modify the patient’s digestive tract so that the body absorbs fewer calories from food. The surgeons use laparoscopic or open procedures to “bypass” specific parts of the digestive system.
Surgeons use staples to cut off access to a lower portion of the stomach and create a small upper pouch to take the place of the stomach. After bisecting the small intestine, the lower part of the small intestine is attached to the new stomach pouch. Patients lose weight because most calories are absorbed in the upper part of the small intestine and food intake bypasses the lower part of the stomach. During the procedure, the upper portion of the small intestine is reattached to the lower small intestine, near the large intestine.
Most patients are treated with minimally invasive techniques. However, depending on the patient’s specific condition, our weight-loss specialists may recommend a standard surgical technique, which uses a larger, single incision to perform the gastric bypass operation.
Patients typically spend one day in the hospital after open gastric bypass surgery. Depending on your condition, medical history, and type of operation performed, total recovery time is approximately two to six weeks.
You must immediately adhere to the pre-planned food restrictions. A dietitian will continue to work with you to address issues related to the diet plan, such as foods that might cause discomfort. A bariatric specialist will also provide precise diet and fitness plans to enable your success and to reduce the risk of complications.
UT Southwestern also sponsors a support group for patients who have had weight-loss surgery. The group helps patients cope with the emotional experiences and lifestyle changes that are a part of an effective weight-loss program.