Weight Loss Surgery - Gastric Bypass

This weight loss surgery makes the stomach smaller. It also bypasses part of the stomach and small intestine so that fewer nutrients are absorbed.




This weight loss surgery makes the stomach smaller. It also bypasses part of the stomach and small intestine so that fewer nutrients are absorbed.



A gastric bypass is a weight loss surgery that uses surgical staples to make a pouch out of the top part of the stomach. A part of the small intestines is then connected to the pouch. This results in food bypassing a portion of the stomach and small intestine. It is also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

  • The stomach pouch is small and will fill quickly. This gives the person a feeling of fullness and decreases the amount of food that can be eaten at one time.
  • Food will no longer pass through certain parts of the stomach and small intestines. Therefore, the body will not be able to absorb all the nutrients from food that is eaten.

Some benefit plans may provide coverage for weight loss surgery if you meet certain requirements and/or receive prior authorization. Please review your coverage documents and/or call the number on your health plan ID card for more information.

Weight loss surgery is not a cure for obesity. Certain lifestyle changes are necessary for the surgery to be successful. Some lifestyle changes include getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and following the recommendations of your healthcare providers. Prior to considering weight loss surgery, you should know your BMI, or Body Mass Index. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has an online tool to help you determine your BMI. Here are some guidelines that are used to determine who may be a candidate for weight loss surgery.

  • You have no significant mental illness or active dependence on drugs or alcohol.
  • You have severe obesity that has been present for more than 5 years and has not responded to diet, exercise and medication.
  • You have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 40 or more. For men, that typically means over 100 pounds overweight. For women, it typically means over 80 pounds overweight.
  • You have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 35, along with another medical condition that could be improved by weight loss (for example, diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure or heart disease).

Prior to surgery, you will meet with a dietician and mental health provider. The goal of these visits is to teach you about the diet you must follow and make sure you are ready for the significant lifestyle changes you must make to have a positive outcome. You should tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before surgery. These may include:

  • A special diet and exercise program
  • Medications you should not take before the surgery, such as blood thinners
  • Regular medications you should take on the day of your surgery
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the surgery

If you are a smoker, you should quit as smoking can interfere with your recovery. The longer you are not smoking before surgery, the better your chances for a smooth recovery.

During your surgery, you will receive general anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free. With general anesthesia you are put into a deep sleep and are unable to see, hear or feel anything.

  • You will stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days to recover from the surgery.
  • During the first day or two, you will not be able to eat and may have a tube in your nose to keep your stomach empty. When you are ready to eat, you will start with liquids and pureed food.
  • You may need pain medication and help at home while you recover.

Some benefit plans may provide coverage for weight loss surgery if you meet certain requirements and/or receive prior authorization. Please review your coverage documents and/or call the number on your health plan ID card for more information. The estimates shown apply when the service is determined to be a covered service, eligible for in-network reimbursement.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having weight loss surgery?

  • Are there any alternatives to weight loss surgery?
  • Which type of weight loss surgery is best for me? What are the benefits and risks of each?
  • Why are you recommending one particular weight loss surgery over another?
  • What is your experience in doing this type of surgery? What is your complication rate?
  • Is there any special preparation for the surgery? (If so, get clear instructions on what you need to do.)
  • What type of anesthesia will I have? What are the possible side effects?
  • What are the possible complications for this surgery?
  • How will I feel after the surgery? Will I have to modify my activity?

After your surgery, you should know what you had done, what medication was given, and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider after discharge. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans. Your surgeon should also tell your primary care physician the details of your surgery and treatment plan.

  • Don't forget to make arrangements for transportation to and from the facility and help at home.

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

Weight Loss Surgery - Gastric Bypass
Weight Loss Surgery
Weight Gain
Roux-en-Y
Gastric Bypass
Bariatric Surgery


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