A gastric bypass can either be done as an open surgery with an incision on your abdominal area, or it could be done laparoscopically. Laparoscopic gastric bypasses use a lighted tube that has a very small camera attached to it. The laparoscope is pushed into your abdomen through a few incisions. Your surgeon may elect to do the gastric bypass laparoscopically because this means a shorter hospital stay and less time spent in recovery. Some of the other benefits of a laparoscopic procedure include smaller scars, less pain and a reduced risk of hernias or infections. Many patients could be eligible for laparoscopic gastric bypasses.
When Would I Need a Gastric Bypass?
Being obese could result in a lower quality of life. Obese people could have poor health and be at a higher risk for depression. Your physician may suggest gastric bypass surgery if your BMI (body mass index) is 40 or above. You might also need the surgery if your BMI is 35 and you’re suffering from some of the following obesity-related illnesses:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Sleep apnea
- Severe arthritis
Physicians would only recommend the surgery to patients who are severely obese. For men, this would be patients who are at least 100 pounds overweight. For women, this would be patients that are at least 80 pounds overweight. Both male and female patients would be eligible for the surgery if they can not lose a large amount of weight and keep it off through diet and exercise.
The Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery
Some of the risks of this surgery include the following ailments:
- Internal bleeding
- Leaks from incisions
- Potential blood clots
- Respiratory problems
Some potential long-term complications can include:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Malnutrition (which can happen if you don’t take your required vitamins and minerals)
- Gastric dumping syndrome (rapid heartbeat, nausea, and fainting after a meal
- Staple failure (in the area where the pouch was made
- Internal hernias
- Possible need for additional surgeries
- Weight gain (if you eat junk food and don’t exercise)
Getting Ready for Gastric Bypass Surgery
To have a better chance at having a successful gastric bypass surgery in Mexico, you will need to have it done by a competent surgeon who is affiliated with a quality bariatric center. It is there that you will undergo an educational program that will prepare you for what lies ahead.
You will first be tested for nutritional deficiencies. If needed, you will be prescribed supplements that will correct those issues before the surgery. At this time, you may be asked to have tests and appointments with other healthcare providers such as nutritionists.
Your surgeon will ask their smoking patients to stop all use of tobacco several weeks before having a gastric bypass in Mexico. This is because smoking slows the rate of recovery and increases the risks of surgery. If you foresee having an issue with quitting, seek out professional help or online resources to help you out in this area.
Let your surgeon know about any vitamins, over-the-counter drugs or prescribed medications that you are taking. You should even tell them about any herbs that you take on a regular basis, as all of these can interfere with the drugs that you will take after the surgery. Some surgeons may ask you to stop taking ibuprofen, aspirin, warfarin, vitamin E and other blood thinning drugs a week before your surgery. Lastly, you will want to alert your surgeon to any reactions to anesthesia that you have had in the past.
What Will Happen During the Surgery?
When you have an open or laparoscopic gastric bypass, you will first be put under anesthesia. The medical staff will start an IV and may give you medications to help you relax before the surgery. The anesthesiologist will use drugs to control any pain you may have so that you will be unaware of the events around you.
When you get to the operating room, your surgeon and their staff will monitor your progress using medical equipment. The creation of the stomach pouch and the actual bypass will take several hours.
What Will Happen After the Surgery?
You will be in recovery for 2 to 4 days after the surgery. For 3 to 6 weeks after the surgery, you will only ingest liquified foods. Your doctor may slowly add soft foods, then regular items, back to your diet about a month after the procedure. You will be instructed to chew your food slowly and carefully and to not drink liquids 30 minutes before or after your meals.
Before you go back home, you will want to talk with your surgeon about caring for your wounds, pain relievers that are safe to take, and the right time to resume your normal routine. Your surgeon will tell you when and how often you should change the surgical dressing on your incision.
Talk to your physician right away if you have one of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Chest pain
- Shoulder pain
- Leg pain
To prevent nutritional deficiencies after gastric bypass surgery, your surgeon will recommend the following vitamins and nutrients:
- Vitamin D supplements
- Calcium supplements
- Iron supplements
- Vitamin B12
After a gastric bypass, you may experience dry skin, body aches, hair loss and mood changes. You might also deal with extreme temperature changes in your body. These issues tend to disappear after your weight stabilizes.
There will be follow-up appointments with your surgeon after the procedure is completed. You will also need to see a nutritionist or dietitian, who will teach you what and how to eat after the size of your stomach has been drastically reduced. Some doctors may also suggest that you see a psychologist to deal with the mental and emotional changes that can come after such a dramatic lifestyle alteration.
Many gastric bypass patients experience nutritional deficiencies after the procedure is completed. For this reason, it is recommended that you get your blood tested every 6 months for the rest of your life so that you get the optimal amount of vitamins and nutrients in your system.
What You Should Know Before Going to Mexico
Before you go to Mexico for your gastric bypass surgery, make sure that you have the following pieces of information at hand:
- The names of all tests and procedures
- The reason that you want a gastric bypass done
- The risks and benefits of all tests and procedures
- The locations and names of the doctors doing your tests and procedures
- A timeline and method for getting test results
- Costs for all tests, procedures and the surgery