There are several different types of gastric bypass surgery that may be performed on an individual that is severely overweight to help them lose a great deal of weight quickly and keep the weight off for a number of years, possibly for the rest of their life. Individuals that are approved for gastric bypass surgeries are more than 100 pounds overweight and regular regiments of diet and exercise have failed to result in significant weight loss. This surgical procedure greatly reduces the amount of calories that are absorbed by the body on a daily basis, resulting in dramatic weight loss for the patient.
One of the first methods used for a gastric bypass was the loop gastric bypass, also known as the mini-gastric bypass. First used in 1967 during the initial gastric bypass surgeries, the loop gastric bypass used a small loop of intestine to reattach the segregated portions of the stomach back to the small intestine to complete the gastro-intestinal track. Today, a Y-junction is used in the majority of gastric bypass surgeries.
Advantages of the Loop of Mini Gastric Bypass
Initially, the loop gastric bypass was used because it was easier for the surgeon to perform than other methods. Using a loop of intestine to create the openings for the contents of the stomach to flow into the small intestine was simple to perform and made it possible to complete the surgery in a short period of time. The method reduced the size of the stomach to about 10% of its former size and resulted in the patients experiencing rapid weight loss in the months following the loop gastric bypass.
Over time, concerns arose about the number of complications that were arising in patients that had undergone a loop gastric bypass and a number of the complications that were appearing were life threatening to the patients. It was determined that the loop method of gastric bypass surgery sometimes allowed fluids from the small intestine to flow into the smaller stomach pouch and, in some cases, into the esophagus of the patient. This fluid was causing burns, ulceration, and severe inflammation in the stomach and esophagus of the patients that were affected.
Loop Procedure Modification
The procedure for a loop gastric bypass was modified into the two methods that are commonly used today, the distal and proximal methods of gastric bypass surgery, which each use a Y-junction to connect the two portions of the stomach to the small intestine. These methods greatly reduce the risk of the fluids from the small intestine being introduced into other areas where the corrosive fluid may cause injury. It was determined that using the Y-junction for the connection was much safer for the patient and the loop gastric bypass method was abandoned by licensed physicians.
Surgical Staple Complications
The new surgical methods for a gastric bypass are not without their own risks. Recently, reports have surfaced that the surgical staples and the medical staplers used in those procedures could fail or malfunction, which can result in the staples not being closed properly. Staples that are not closed all of the way or do not penetrate properly can leak fluids and foods from the stomach into the abdominal cavity, causing numerous life-threatening complications that require the hospitalization of the patient to treat. It is very important for individual to weigh the risks of a gastric bypass procedure when determining whether the procedure is right for them.
Defective Sugical Stapler Alert
In May 2007, a jury found that a woman’s death was caused by a defective surgical stapler. The jury awarded the victim's family $5 million.
To date, the FDA has received reports of approximately 100 deaths related to surgical staplers. In addition, they have received approximately 9,000 reports of “adverse events”, including injuries and complications from surgical staples and the stapler unit itself.