Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB)

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is a weight-loss surgery that reduces the size of the stomach and restricts the amount of food a person can eat. This surgery also changes the way the body absorbs food and turns it into energy (metabolism). Fellowship-trained surgeons at our Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Center have performed hundreds of these procedures. RYGB has changed the lives of many people who were unable to reach a healthy weight through nonsurgical methods.

Our surgeons use minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques whenever possible. As a result, patients recover faster and have reduced scarring after surgery.

What Is Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass?

RYGB is a procedure in which doctors reduce the size of the stomach to a pouch about the size of an egg and attach it to the intestine. It is the most common surgical weight-loss procedure in the U.S. People typically lose 50 to 75 percent of their excess weight in the first 12 to 18 months after this surgery.

Because RYGB greatly reduces stomach size, you will need to eat smaller meals to prevent the pouch from stretching. However, you may find that hunger is greatly reduced because creating a smaller stomach helps regulate ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone. In addition, because food now empties directly into the stomach, the way the body metabolizes food is different, and you may need to take vitamin supplements regularly.

To perform this surgery, one of our highly skilled surgeons:

  • Removes most of the stomach, leaving a pouch the size of an egg.
  • Brings up the roux limb of the small intestine and connects it to the pouch.

The surgery takes about 1 to 2 hours, and you can expect to spend about two and a half days in the hospital. The procedure is difficult to reverse.

Who Should Consider Bariatric Surgery?

Patients should consider bariatric surgery if they have a BMI of 40 or higher, which is considered extremely obese. Other patients may not have a BMI of 40 or higher, but are also eligible for the procedure if they experience health conditions related to their weight, such as:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • High blood pressure

In addition to the eligibility parameters above, there are additional considerations that should be made. A patient should attempt extensive traditional approaches to weight loss through diet and exercise before considering surgery. If the traditional method does not work, surgery may be the best option for them.

In order to ensure long-term results, patients will also need to commit to lifelong changes in their diet and exercise habits. This will include committing to a very regimented diet plan, monitoring your health regularly and incorporating exercise into your daily routine.

Benefits of Gastric Bypass

With any bariatric surgery, there are many benefits that come immediately and gradually over time. These can include:

  • Extensive weight loss – The most obvious effect of bariatric surgery is weight loss, which will occur steadily over the course of  a year or more. In the first several months, patients will lose between five and fifteen pounds per week, and then in the next three to four months patients will lose between one and two pounds per month. At around one year, they will have reached their goal weight, although individual results will vary.
  • Remission of Type 2 Diabetes – Patients that have Type 2 Diabetes prior to surgery often see their condition go into long-term remission, which will also permit them to no longer be reliant on regular doses of insulin.
  • Improved heart health – Cardiovascular health is known to be improved considerably with bariatric surgery. Many patients have this procedure because of heart conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and bariatric surgery is known to improve all conditions and even cure them completely.
  • Improve symptoms of many weight-related conditions – Bariatric surgery will improve the symptoms of many weight-related conditions, and in some cases cure them entirely. This can include sleep apnea, gallstones, joint damage and metabolic syndrome.

As far as comparing gastric bypass to other bariatric procedures, the notable unique differences are:

  • You can lose about ten percent more of your excess body weight with a gastric bypass
  • There is an increased risk of dumping syndrome with a gastric bypass

Generally, a patient that has a BMI of 45 or higher is considered for a gastric bypass procedure as opposed to vertical sleeve. To learn more about the differences between bariatric procedures, visit our page on the types of weight-loss surgeries

Risks and Complications of Gastric Bypass

There are health risks in the short term and long term with a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure.

The short-term risks related to the procedure itself include:

  • Infection
  • Respiratory challenges
  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding

The long-term risks months and years after the procedure include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Low blood sugar
  • Hernias
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bowel obstruction

A Minimally Invasive Approach

Our surgeons use laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical technique, in nearly all patients undergoing RYGB to reduce the risk of complications. To perform laparoscopic surgery, doctors make several small incisions in the abdomen, rather than the large incision used in open surgery. These small incisions provide access for surgical tools, including a laparoscope, a thin tube with a small camera to view the procedure.

Minimally invasive surgery promotes:

  • Faster healing
  • Faster return to normal activities
  • Less scarring
  • Lower risk of surgical complications

Contact Us

To learn more about bariatric and metabolic surgery at Cooper or to schedule an appointment, please call 856.673.4500 or join us for a free weight-loss surgery informational seminar.

Refer a Patient

If you are a doctor who wants to refer a patient to Cooper, please call 856.673.4500.