Gastric Bypass Summary

Gastric bypass surgery is done to assist patients with weight loss. The surgery restricts the amount of food you can eat, and the amount of calories that your body absorbs. The surgery is performed on patients who have been unsuccessful losing weight through diet and exercise.

Gastric bypass surgery is considered if:

  • BMI is greater than 40
  • Weight is in excess of 100 pounds the recommended weight
  • BMI is above 35 and an individual has sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes or heart diseas

Length of the procedure: 3 hours

Hospital Stay: Most patents are released form care 3-5 days after their procedure.

Recovery before traveling home: Patients seeking gastric bypass through medical tourism can return home within 1 to 2 weeks of their procedure.

Travel Tip: Gastric bypass is a major surgery. Most surgeons recommend that patients wait 2 weeks before returning home. This allows for adequate healing and recovery, along with access to your surgeon should a complication arise.

Procedure Details

Your surgery will begin with the administration of general anesthesia. This surgery can be done in two different ways. It is done through an open incision in the abdomen or through a laparoscopic procedure.

If you have the open procedure the surgeon will make a large incision in your abdomen. If you have the laparoscopic procedure they will make 4 to 6 small incisions in the abdomen, Laparoscopic surgery is not recommended for individuals with heart or lung disease, those who weigh more than 350 pounds or those who have had previous abdominal surgeries.

The steps of gastric bypass are the same whether the stomach is accessed through and open incision or by using a laparoscope. The surgeon makes the stomach smaller by dividing it into two sections using staples. the newly created top section is a small pouch wear the food you eat will go.

After the surgeon creates the food pouch they will connect part of your small intestine to the pouch. This allows the food you eat to bypass the lower part of your stomach and part of your small intestines. This is what helps you absorb less calories.

After the Procedure

After the procedure you will be taken to recovery. Your vitals will be monitored carefully during this time. When you have woken from the surgery and your vitals are stable you will be moved to a regular hospital room.

When you wake from your procedure the staff will ask that you sit up in bed and walk around with assistance. You may have catheters to drain fluid from your bladder and belly. These will be removed within 1 to 3 days of the procedure. You will receive medication to prevent clots and to help control pain.

To be discharged from care you must:

  • Eat pureed food without vomiting
  • Move without excessive pain
  • No longer require IV pain medication


Gastric bypass surgery is very successful for most patients. In fact, most lose between 10 to 20 pounds a month for the first year after the procedure. The majority of patients lose half their extra weight in the first two years. Many see improvements in weight related medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and high cholesterol.

Risks and Complications

As is with any surgery there are risks associated with gastric bypass surgery. The following is a list of the most common risks and complications:

  • Reaction to anesthesia or medication
  • Breathing problems
  • Blood clots
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Blood loss
  • Pneumonia
  • Stomach injury
  • Intestinal injury
  • Organ injury
  • Stomach leak
  • Depression
  • Gallstones

Contact your physician if any of the following occur:

  • Temperature above 101 degrees
  • Incision bleeding
  • Discharge from incision is thick, yellow, green or milky
  • Incision is red or warm to the touch
  • Pain uncontrolled by medication
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent cough
  • Loss of appetite or loss of thirst
  • Skin or eye white turns yellow
  • Stool is loose or you have diarrhea
  • Vomiting occurs after you eat