Gastric Bypass Procedures Performed by Board-Certified Surgeons at Tampa General Hospital

Gastric bypass is one of the most common types of bariatric surgery. This procedure helps patients lose weight in two ways: first, by limiting the amount of food that can be consumed, and second, by changing how food is digested. This is considered a combination form of bariatric surgery. Apart from a small sample of liver tissue, nothing is removed from the body during a gastric bypass; instead, the intestines are rerouted to circumvent the stomach.

At Tampa General Hospital, we specialize in Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery. This procedure can be performed laparoscopically (guided by a camera inserted through small incisions in the abdomen), although a very small percentage are performed through a traditional, open approach (through an incision between the breast bone and the navel).

When performing a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure, our board-certified surgeons:

  • Divide the stomach into two components. The larger section is stapled off, but left in the body to continue producing hormones and acid. The smaller section (capable of holding approximately one ounce of food) remains connected to the esophagus and serves as the new stomach.
  • Disconnect the small intestine from the stomach and divide it into two sections, both of which are reconnected to the new stomach. One section is used to allow food to travel to the lower intestine, and the other section is used to transport digestive juices. Digestion then occurs in this lower section of the intestines.
  • Remove the gallbladder, if necessary. This is done as a preventive measure, as people who lose weight very rapidly (as is usually the case after gastric bypass surgery) often develop gallstones.
  • Take a very small tissue sample from the liver to determine if obesity has caused any damage to the organ.

RYGB surgery is less invasive than other weight loss operations, and is associated with a national mortality risk of less than 0.5 percent. Side effects include protein-calorie malnutrition and diarrhea. Additionally, because of the change in the way the body absorbs food after a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, patients must take vitamins and certain supplements for the rest of their lives to prevent nutritional deficiencies. After the surgery, a patient is only able to consume small quantities of food and beverage.

While results vary from patient to patient, a study published in the peer-reviewed Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine indicate that patients can lose up to 80 percent of their excess weight within five years of the surgery. After a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, patients may also note a steady improvement of additional weight-related medical conditions, such as sleep apnea and high blood pressure.

For more information about the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure or the criteria candidates must meet to be considered for weight loss surgery at Tampa General Hospital, contact the TGH + USF Health Bariatric Center  by calling (813) 844-7473 or emailing bariatriccenter@tgh.org.