UAB Medicine

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric Bypass Surgery Example

Gastric bypass surgery is performed laparoscopically (using small incisions) by inserting small, specialized instruments into the abdomen.

The surgeon creates a small upper stomach pouch. Food passes from the esophagus into this small pouch before it enters the intestine through a small opening, bypassing the rest of the stomach and part of the small intestine.

Food does not mix with digestive enzymes until it has traveled 4 - 6 feet into the intestine.

Doing the surgery laparoscopically reduces pain, supports a  quicker recovery, and allows for a shorter hospital stay.

Many patients are released from the hospital 1 - 2 days following surgery and can return to work as early as 2 weeks following surgery.


Weight loss surgery is not a cosmetic procedure, and there is some degree of risk. Complications occur in approximately 5% of all bariatric surgeries. Your surgeon will discuss your personal risks at your consultation.

Patients are expected to follow a mandatory recovery diet and follow-up guidelines from the surgeon. By doing so, you can help minimize the risk of complications and better your chances of successful weight loss.


Post-surgery weight loss depends on many factors. Those who diet, exercise, and follow the guidelines set by their surgeon tend to have the best results.

Success is determined by the amount of excess weight lost. For example, if a patient is 120 pounds overweight and loses 60 pounds after surgery, they have lost 50% of their excess weight. Weight loss of more than 50% of the patient’s excess weight is considered a success.

Typically, gastric bypass patients loose between 60-80% of excess weight and have about an 80% chance of keeping the weight off.

The surgery and resulting weight loss can have a positive impact on many other conditions as well. Studies have shown improvements in hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, and arthritis associated with the weight loss.

Weight loss surgery can give patients an advantage in their effort to lose weight, but it is not a cure for obesity. Patients must be willing to commit to a lifestyle change of healthy diet, exercise, and follow-up appointments with their doctor to help realize their goal of weight loss.

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