Gastric bypass surgery is one of the most common types of weight loss surgeries performed in the United States. The process of the surgery is to shrink the size of the stomach and connect it to a lower part of the small intestine. When this bypass happens, it reduces how much food is absorbed by the small intestine, which leads to weight loss.

In general, the best candidates for the surgery are those who have tried to lose weight with diet and exercise but have been unsuccessful, those who are morbidly obese or those who are obese with a serious weight-related health condition such as type II diabetes or severe high blood pressure.

The number one benefit of gastric bypass surgery is significant weight loss. This generally leads to a reduction in the incidence of hypertension, type II diabetes, asthma, joint pain, sleep apnea and arthritis. There could also be a decrease in the risk for heart diseases, pulmonary diseases, and cancer. Finally, there is generally an increase in self esteem and quality of life for those that undergo the surgery.

On the other hand, as with any surgery there is the risk for complications. These include hernia, hemorrhage, bowel obstruction or infection. Specific to gastric bypass surgery is the risk of ulcer or leakage at the site of the surgical connection between the stomach and the bowel. Another complication that is attributed to gastric bypass surgery is known as “dumping syndrome.” This is a condition where ingested foods go through the stomach too quickly and enter the small intestine without being digested first.

Some people also suffer from depression after the surgery because they need to change their relationship with food and stop relying on it for their emotional well-being. There is also the excess skin and fat to deal with. A lot of people need other surgeries to remove the skin and liposuction to get rid of the fat.

It is also important to note that while the surgery certainly helps with weight loss, it should only be considered a tool and an entire lifestyle change is necessary. A healthy diet and regular exercise are the best way to reach the weight loss goal and maintain that weight.

The decision to have gastric bypass surgery is not one that should be taken lightly, but the benefits can definitely outweigh the risks. Those who think they would be a good candidate for Gastric Bypass Surgery should consult with their doctor.