The procedure aims to reduce the capacity of the stomach by dividing it into two sections and creating a connection to the small intestine and the first section. This connection can be made in different ways and so there are various subtypes of this procedure. This way less food can be eaten comfortably and less calories absorbed, and the physiological and psychological response to food is also changed.
Success rates for this procedure are around 75%, and the average person loses at least half of the excess weight in a period of 18 months. Around fifteen thousand people undergo this procedure every year in theUnited States.
As with any procedure, there are a number of complications related to it; bad technique or failure of surgery resulting in hernias, abdominal leaks and abscesses requires about 20% of the people who have had GBP to undergo additional procedures. The overall complication rate is 7% for laparotomy and around 14% for open incision procedures in the first month post surgery. Another phenomenon known as the ‘dumping syndrome’ may occur. This happens because the pyloric valve at the end of the stomach is no longer used to control the amount of food that passes into the small intestine. Therefore, whenever a sugary meal is eaten, it quickly passes into the bowel causing symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating and anxiety. This uncomfortable state persists for about 30-45 minutes.