Gastric Bypass Surgery Procedure

Surgeons use a small camera (a laparoscopic approach) to perform gastric bypass Roux-en Y surgery to ensure scarring after gastric bypass surgery is minimal. Small incisions are made to place the camera in the stomach to guide the bariatric surgeon through the procedure and to place the equipment inside the stomach.

Before Gastric Bypass Surgery

The patient is anesthetized, or put to sleep, and weight loss surgeons make the abdominal incisions. Normally four-six small incisions are made. Through one incision, surgeons place the camera inside the stomach to guide them through the surgery.

The other incisions allow surgeons to use state-of-the art equipment (all equipment is roughly the size of a pencil) to perform the Gastric Bypass Roux-En Y surgery. Once the incisions have been made, bariatric surgeons inflate the stomach with gas to make it easier to see and move the equipment around inside the stomach.

During Gastric Bypass Surgery

As the procedure is performed laparoscopically, surgeons view the procedure on a screen.

The safest, preferred method for the first stage of a gastric bypass procedure to create the new stomach pouch, is to completely separate the two sections to ensure they cannot fuse together again.

  • The stomach is cut in two and surgical staples are used to separate the two sections. The smaller of the two sections becomes the functioning stomach and is able to hold one-two ounces of food. Before surgery, your stomach can stretch to 1000 ml. Following surgery, it will only be able to stretch to 15ml, able to hold roughly the equivalent of one cup of food at any one time.
  • Once surgeons have created the two pouches, the bowel needs to be connected to the smaller pouch, bypassing the now idle section of the patients’ stomach. This is the complicated part of the procedure and the technique proven to achieve the best results with fewest complications is the Roux-en-Y technique.
  • The small intestine is divided, creating a Y shape. The lower part of the small intestine (the jejunum) is connected to the smaller stomach pouch, providing a channel for food to leave the stomach and enter the digestive tract.
  • The two sections of the Y-shaped small intestine are connected to allow the unused portion of the stomach to drain fluids.
  • The Y shape shortens the intestine, meaning food has a shorter journey to reach the large intestine. Bypassing the upper section of the small intestine (the duodenum), restricts the amount of food absorbed by the body. (The malabsorption element to Roux-en Y gastric bypass)
  • The connection (stoma) between the stomach pouch and the shortened bowel is purposefully narrow. The benefit of narrowing the connection between the stomach and the intestine is that food takes longer to leave the stomach; hence the feeling of fullness after food lasts for longer. Slowing down the digestive system is an effective method for weight loss.
  • Once the gastric bypass procedure is completed, a drainage tube will be placed into the incision to drain excess fluid that can build up in the now unused stomach pouch.                            


Because the gastric bypass is performed as a laparoscopic procedure, patients recover quickly after this method of weight loss surgery.

There is a shorter recovery period because there is not a big scar to heal; there is little pain from the incision itself and there is less risk of complications. Gastric bypass patients begin to see the results of surgery almost immediately, as initial weight loss is rapid. Read more on results of gastric bypass surgery.

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