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What is Mini Gastric Bypass Surgery?

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  • Written By: Stuart Z.
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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Gastric bypass surgery is a weight-loss procedure typically reserved for the morbidly obese. In this type of bariatric surgery, the stomach and intestines are rearranged in the hopes that the patient will consume less food and less calories will be absorbed as the food is digested. A mini gastric bypass surgery is very similar, only the small intestines are not severed. The mini surgery typically has a shorter procedure time and fewer complications than a traditional surgery. It's also typically cheaper.

In traditional gastric bypass surgery, a small pouch is formed in the stomach using staples. This pouch is usually round and located in the upper part of the stomach. The small intestines are then severed, typically less than six feet (1.8 meters) from the stomach. The bottom end of intestines that leads further down to the digestive tract is then reconnected to the newly formed stomach pouch, while the other end is reattached to the intestines. This results in a "bypass" where no food enters the majority of the stomach or the small section of the intestines not directly connected to the pouch. A distinctive “Y” shape is formed by the rearranged intestines, which is the basis for an alternate name of the surgery — also known as Roux-en-Y (RNY) surgery.

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Like RNY surgeries, mini gastric bypass surgeries also involve creating a small pouch in the stomach using staples. Unlike RNY, however, the mini procedure involves a long, narrow pouch which is reconnected directly to a site on the intestines approximately six feet (1.8 meters) from the stomach. The intestines are not severed in this procedure. Again, this results in a bypass where no food enters the majority of the stomach or the section of the intestines not connected to the pouch.

Since the intestines are left intact by mini gastric bypass surgery, the length of the procedure is considerably shorter. Most surgeries can be completed in less than an hour, whereas RNY surgeries require at least four hours to complete. Barring any unforeseen complications, RNY patients typically require a hospital stay of at least four to eight days, but mini gastric bypass surgery patients can usually be released in less than three days. Most patients report significant weight loss following either type of surgery, but mini gastric bypass surgery patients report less pain, scarring, and faster recovery times.

Despite the benefits and ease compared to RNY surgeries, mini gastric bypass surgery is still a very serious and major surgical procedure. All surgeries carry significant associated risks, and mini gastric bypass surgery is no exception. Severe complications such as bleeding, infections, pulmonary emboli, and death have been reported following mini gastric bypass and RNY surgeries. It is very important to carefully research all possible options and consult medical professionals when considering this surgery for the treatment of severe obesity.

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