The gastric bypass is an operation in which we take the stomach and we cut off the upper portion of the stomach and create that as your new stomach pouch. So a patient’s stomach goes from the size of a football to being the size of a large egg. We then cut the small intestine lower down and we bring that up and we connect it to the stomach pouch so that the food can go into the stomach pouch and directly into the small intestine. When you do that, you end up bypassing the old stomach and you bypass part of these beginnings of the small intestine. People lose weight for multiple reasons with the gastric bypass: 1. They have a small stomach so they can’t eat very much fruit. 2. We are bypassing part of the old stomach and the small intestine and by doing that, patients absorb a little bit less food than they normally would. The third reason why they lose weight is that by causing the food to go directly into the small intestine, patients generally cannot tolerate eating sweets. By that I mean that they can’t tolerate eating ice cream or cake in any large quantity. If they do, they experience something called Dumping Syndrome, which is a combination of symptoms that include a stomachache, diarrhea, cold sweats, and a racing heartbeat. Obviously, that doesn’t sound very good and it is very uncomfortable, but it’s quite effective in causing patients or restricting patients from eating sweets.
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