Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

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UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Bariatric Surgery Program has been advancing the field of weight-loss surgery for more than two decades.

Our team offers the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the most reliable bariatric procedure for long-lasting weight loss and treatment of obesity-related health concerns.

Success with the Most Effective, Most Studied Bariatric Surgery

Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y (pronounced "roo-on-why") gastric bypass is one of several weight-loss options UT Southwestern offers to treat obesity and related health complications.

The gastric bypass is considered the most reliable operation for long-lasting weight loss because of its multiple mechanisms. In addition to creating a smaller stomach pouch (which results in smaller meals), the procedure also results in less digestion and less absorption of calories. With a realistic diet and exercise plan, patients can reasonably expect to lose about one-third of their total body weight within a year of the operation and 65 percent to 75 percent of excess weight in 12 to 18 months.

Highlights of Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

  • The most extensively studied bariatric operation
  • The most effective operation for weight loss
  • Helps to reduce the perception of hunger
  • Reduces the stomach from the size of a football to the size of a golf ball and bypasses several feet of small intestine
  • Trains patients to eat less, and in turn absorb less fat
  • The most effective treatment for diabetes, often resulting in immediate improvement
  • The most effective treatment for heartburn/acid reflux in severely obese patients
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What to Expect with a Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

People considering a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y bypass are encouraged to speak with others who have undergone the same procedure to better understand the benefits and long-term lifestyle changes that must be made. Patients are also encouraged to attend a monthly support group before and after surgery.

Preparing for the surgery

Prior to the procedure, patients will:

  • Meet with our bariatric specialists to discuss pre- and post-operative details
  • Meet with a psychologist for an evaluation and testing to prepare for the diet and exercise requirements for successful weight-loss management
  • Be required for two weeks before surgery to drink only high-protein shakes and eat one sensible meal daily
  • Be on a liquid diet the day before surgery, drinking only high-protein shakes and zero-calorie beverages
  • Be encouraged to exercise in the weeks leading up to the procedure

It’s essential to carefully follow diet and exercise guidelines before surgery and to prepare for a regimented diet afterward. Our registered dietitians work with patients to develop individual meal plans and fitness goals before and after surgery.

About the surgery

A bariatric surgeon performs a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in two parts, using a tiny camera and long instruments that are inserted through small incisions.

The surgeon first creates a small stomach pouch – about 1 ounce in volume – by separating the top part of the stomach from the rest of it. Next, the surgeon divides the first segment of the small intestine, brings the end of that segment up, and connects it to the “new” small stomach pouch.

The top portion of the divided small intestine is then reconnected further down the small intestine. This allows the stomach acids and digestive enzymes from the bypassed stomach and first portion of small intestine to mix with food.

Patients who undergo a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass typically spend one or two nights in the hospital after the procedure. Depending on their condition and medical history, most people can return to work within two to three weeks.

Life After Surgery

Post-operative diet
As with all types of bariatric surgery, patients must immediately follow a special diet for the rest of their lives after undergoing a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

It generally takes six weeks after the procedure to “retrain” the stomach to eat. The first two weeks consist of consuming only liquids. During a six-week transition period, foods are gradually reintroduced to the altered “new” stomach and remaining gastrointestinal system. Our bariatric surgery team supervises this process.

Post-operative exercise
As soon as the bariatric surgeon says it’s time, patients can begin a rigorous exercise program to help them lose weight and avoid regaining it. Research shows that exercise helps patients lose more weight more quickly while increasing their aerobic fitness.

We recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, such as jogging or swimming laps, per week.

Post-Operative Care
All bariatric surgery patients are required to have regular follow-up appointments. These visits ensure that weight loss occurs in a healthy, consistent manner. They also help prevent minor complications from turning into major ones. The bariatric surgery team also regularly monitors patients’ vitamin and mineral levels.

Patients who have undergone a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass typically visit a registered dietitian, a bariatric advanced practice provider, or a bariatric surgeon every three months for the first post-operative year, twice the second post-operative year, and then annually.

Attend a Bariatric Surgery Information Seminar

Attend one of our free, no-obligation bariatric surgery seminars to meet our team and learn about the procedures we offer. Our bariatric surgeons, dietitians, and other team members describe each procedure, explain what patients must do before and after surgery, and answer questions. To reserve your seat, complete and submit the sign-up form.

Weight Loss Success Story

Barbra Lena underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost 125 pounds. Read her success story.