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Understanding benefits gastric bypass: scientific explanation

Published on: May 10, 2023

Table of Contents

Gastric Bypass Surgery: The Science and Benefits Explained

Introduction

Obesity is a complex and multifactorial disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is associated with several health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease[1], leading to a reduced quality of life and increased healthcare costs. Although diet and exercise are the first-line treatment for obesity, for some individuals, weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery, may be a viable option.

Understanding gastric bypass surgical procedure:

That modifies the stomach and small intestine’s anatomy to restrict food intake and reduce the absorption of nutrients. This procedure has been shown to be an effective treatment for obesity, leading to significant and sustained weight loss, improved quality of life, and a reduction in obesity-related comorbidities. The scientific basis behind gastric bypass surgery lies in the modification of the gut hormones, which regulate appetite and metabolism, leading to decreased hunger and increased energy expenditure.

The benefits, gastric bypass surgery is not without risks, and it requires careful patient selection and postoperative management. In this article, we will provide an overview of the science and benefits of gastric bypass surgery, as well as its risks and considerations[2]. By understanding the science behind gastric bypass surgery and its potential benefits, individuals with obesity can make informed decisions about their treatment options and achieve long-term weight loss success.

Understanding what is gastric bypass surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery is a type of weight loss surgery that involves creating a small pouch from the stomach and rerouting the small intestine to this pouch. This procedure restricts the amount of food consumed and reduces the absorption of calories and nutrients, leading to weight loss. Gastric bypass surgery is typically reserved for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 or those with a BMI between 35 and 40 with comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea that are difficult to manage with non-surgical interventions.

By understanding the science behind gastric bypass surgery and its potential benefits, individuals with obesity can make informed decisions about their treatment options and achieve long-term weight loss success.

Understanding the types of gastric bypass surgery

There are two types of gastric bypass surgery: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and biliopancreatic diversion with a duodenal switch. The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most common type of surgery[3], accounting for over 90% of all procedures performed. This procedure involves creating a small pouch from the stomach and connecting it directly to the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the duodenum. The biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch is a more complex procedure that involves removing a more significant portion of the stomach and rerouting the small intestine to both the new stomach pouch and the duodenum.

Understanding gastric bypass surgery is typically performed laparoscopically.

It involves making small incisions in the abdomen and inserting a laparoscope and other surgical instruments. This minimally invasive approach reduces the risks associated with traditional open surgery, such as bleeding, infection, and prolonged hospitalisation [4]. The length of hospital stay after gastric bypass surgery is typically 2-3 days, and most individuals can return to their normal activities within 2-3 weeks.

To be eligible for gastric bypass surgery, individuals must meet specific criteria, including a BMI greater than 40 or a BMI between 35 and 40, with comorbidities that are difficult to manage with non-surgical interventions.

In addition, individuals must have a history of unsuccessful attempts at weight loss with non-surgical interventions and be committed to making the necessary lifestyle changes after surgery.

Science behind gastric bypass

Understanding the science behind gastric bypass surgery lies in the anatomical changes made to the stomach and small intestine, which result in altered gut hormone signalling and changes in energy balance. Modifying the gut hormones significantly impacts appetite regulation and metabolism, decreasing hunger and increasing energy expenditure.

Gastric bypass surgery leads to rapid and sustained weight loss, which can profoundly impact the body’s metabolic function. This is partly due to the changes in the gut hormones, which regulate appetite and metabolism. After gastric bypass surgery, there is an increase in the production of the hormone peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)[5], which are associated with decreased hunger and increased satiety. These changes lead to a reduction in food intake and can result in significant weight loss.

Understanding the changes in appetite regulation, gastric bypass surgery also leads to changes in energy expenditure. After surgery, there is an increase in the resting metabolic rate, which contributes to the maintenance of weight loss over time. This increase in energy expenditure is partly due to the increased production of brown adipose tissue, which is associated with increased thermogenesis and energy expenditure.

Understanding the impact of gastric bypass surgery on gut hormones and metabolism

The impact of gastric bypass surgery on gut hormones and metabolism has been shown to significantly impact comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea. Studies have shown that gastric bypass surgery significantly improves glycemic control, blood pressure, and sleep apnea severity. These improvements are thought to be due to changes in gut hormone signalling and metabolic function.

The science behind gastric bypass surgery is based on the anatomical changes made to the stomach and small intestine, which result in altered gut hormone signalling [6] and changes in energy balance. These benefits changes lead to decreased hunger, satiety, and energy expenditure, contributing to the significant and sustained weight loss after surgery. The impact of gastric bypass surgery on gut hormones and metabolism also significantly impacts comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea, making it a potentially life-changing intervention for individuals with obesity.

Benefits of gastric bypass surgery

Regular physical activity is an essential component of long-term success post-gastric bypass surgery. It can accelerate weight loss, improve cardiovascular fitness, enhance mood, and promote better sleep [11]. Furthermore, exercise can assist in maintaining lean body mass, thus preventing excessive muscle loss commonly associated with rapid weight loss [12].

Patients are generally advised to start with light and low-impact exercises, such as walking or cycling, as soon as possible. The goal is to gradually increase the duration and intensity of activity as the body heals and adapts to the changes [13].

A balanced exercise regimen incorporates aerobic activities, strength training, and flexibility exercises. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week, and muscle-strengthening activities, at least two days a week [14].

Being a Patient with bypass gastric

Despite these guidelines, listening to your body and not pushing beyond your current physical capabilities is essential. Be patient with yourself, as it may take time to build endurance and strength. If you experience pain, dizziness, or other unusual symptoms during exercise, it’s essential to stop and seek medical advice [15].

Integrating physical activity into daily life can make it more manageable. Simple changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from the store, or taking short walk breaks can significantly increase your overall activity level.

Remember, your fitness journey post-surgery is unique to you. It’s not about perfection but consistent efforts towards a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Quality of life post-gastric bypass surgery

The benefits of gastric bypass surgery extend beyond weight loss

Gastric bypass surgery is an effective treatment for obesity and its associated comorbidities impacting an individual’s overall health and quality of life.

Significant weight loss and maintenance are the most apparent benefits of gastric bypass surgery. Studies have shown that individuals who undergo gastric bypass surgery can expect to lose 50-70% of their excess weight within the first two years after surgery, with long-term weight loss maintenance seen up to 10 years post-surgery. This sustained weight loss can significantly impact obesity-related comorbidities, such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea, leading to improved overall health.

Improved quality of life is another crucial benefit of gastric bypass surgery. Obesity is associated with a reduced quality of life due to physical limitations, decreased mobility, and social stigmatisation. After gastric bypass surgery, individuals report improvements in physical functioning, mood, and self-esteem, improving overall quality of life.

Reduction of obesity

Understanding of reduction in obesity-related comorbidities

Reducing obesity-related comorbidities is the most significant benefit of gastric bypass surgery[7]. Studies have shown that gastric bypass surgery can significantly improve glycemic control, blood pressure, and sleep apnea severity. These improvements are thought to be due to the changes in gut hormone signalling and metabolic function after surgery.

Understanding gastric bypass surgery can potentially reduce healthcare costs associated with obesity-related comorbidities. By reducing the incidence and severity of obesity-related illnesses, individuals who undergo gastric bypass surgery may require fewer medical interventions and hospitalisations, leading to overall cost savings.

The benefits of gastric bypass surgery extend beyond weight loss and can significantly impact an individual’s overall health and quality of life[8]. Significant weight loss and maintenance, improved quality of life, and reduction in obesity-related comorbidities are all potential benefits of gastric bypass surgery, making it a potentially life-changing intervention for individuals with obesity.

Conclusion

In conclusion, gastric bypass surgery is an effective treatment option for individuals with obesity who have been unsuccessful with non-surgical interventions. The procedure involves anatomical changes to the stomach and small intestine, which alter gut hormone signalling and lead to significant weight loss, improved quality of life, and reduced obesity-related comorbidities[9]. The benefits of gastric bypass surgery extend beyond weight loss, as individuals report improvements in physical functioning, mood, and self-esteem. However, the surgery is not without risks, and careful patient selection and postoperative management are crucial to ensure long-term success.

It is essential to recognise that gastric bypass surgery is not a quick fix or a cure for obesity, and it requires a significant commitment to lifestyle changes and long-term follow-up. Individuals considering gastric bypass surgery should carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks of the procedure and discuss their options with their healthcare provider.

As research continues to investigate the mechanisms behind gastric bypass surgery and its impact on health outcomes, the procedure will likely become an even more effective treatment option for individuals with obesity[10]. By understanding the science behind gastric bypass surgery and its potential benefits, individuals with obesity can make informed decisions about their treatment options and achieve long-term weight loss success.

References

  1. Buchwald H, Avidor Y, Braunwald E, et al. Bariatric surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2005;292(14):1724-1737.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15479938/
  2. Ochner CN, Jochner MC, Caruso EA, Teixeira J, Xavier Pi-Sunyer F, Gallagher D. Effectiveness of gastric bypass surgery in a cohort of super-obese patients. Obes Surg. 2011;21(6):763-767.
  3. Adams TD, Gress RE, Smith SC, et al. Long-term mortality after gastric bypass surgery. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(8):753-761.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17715409/
  4. Hsu LK, Benotti PN, Dwyer J, et al. Nonsurgical factors that influence the outcome of bariatric surgery: a review. Psychosom Med. 1998;60(3):338-346.
  5. Pories WJ, Swanson MS, MacDonald KG, et al. Who would have thought it? An operation proves to be the most effective therapy for adult-onset diabetes mellitus. Ann Surg. 1995;222(3):339-350.
  6. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Bariatric surgery procedures.  Accessed May 9, 2023.https://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-procedures.
  7. Buchwald H, Avidor Y, Braunwald E, et al. Bariatric surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2004;292(14):1724-1737.
  8. Schauer PR, Bhatt DL, Kirwan JP, et al. Bariatric surgery versus intensive medical therapy for diabetes – 5-year outcomes. N Engl J Med. 2017;376(7):641-651.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28199805/
  9. Lee WJ, Lee YC, Ser KH, Chen JC, Su YH, Chen SC. Experience of 1,000 cases of laparoscopic mini-gastric bypass: changing the paradigm of bariatric surgery. World J Surg. 2012;36(2):322-328.
  10. Ponce J, Nguyen NT, Hutter M, Sudan R, Morton JM. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery estimation of metabolic and bariatric procedures performed in the United States in 2016. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2018;14(3):259-263.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26476493/

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