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Some people have gastric bypass surgery and shed 100 pounds or more. What can this surgery do for you?

To answer this question, you will first need to know what gastric bypass surgery is and how it helps you lose weight.

A gastric bypass surgery also known as Roux en-Y surgery is a medical procedure that reduces the size of your stomach causing you to feel full when you have eaten only a small portion. What your surgeon will essentially do is divide your stomach into two sections – a small upper one and a much larger remnant one using surgical staples (which is why this procedure is also known as stomach stapling). The small top pouch is the one that will hold your food. Your surgeon will also re-arrange your small intestine such that both the stomach pouches remain connected to the intestines.

The reduction in the functional volume of your stomach reduces your food intake. Not only that, the re-arrangement of the small intestine causes food to by-pass the first part of the small intestine resulting in reduced calorie absorption. Both these factors help you lose weight.

But is gastric bypass surgery for everyone who needs to lose weight?

That’s a personal choice or your doctor may prescribe it for you. Generally, it is considered in only those individuals who have tried hard but failed to achieve weight loss through exercise and diet.

Obesity, which is a complex disease, leads to other diseases. Morbid obesity or the accumulation of too much body fat increases a person’s risk for developing other health problems or co-morbidities such as heart diseases, diabetes, etc.

But how much fat is too much fat?

That’s calculated by your body mass index or BMI which is a measure of your weight in relation to your height. In simple words, it tells you how much you should normally weigh for your height and if you exceed that normal weight then you are medically considered overweight. Reducing your weight and therefore, your BMI, helps you control the risk of developing obesity related health problems. (Use the BMI calculator to calculate your BMI.)

Like any other surgery there are risks associated with gastric bypass surgery as well. Some of the risks include gastritis (which is an inflammation of the stomach lining), development of gallstones (caused by significant weight loss in a short time), nausea, vomiting, bleeding, infections, and nutritional deficiency (which can be avoided through nutritional supplements). So, when deciding to have the surgery you should carefully weigh the risks associated with it and the problems that it can solve for you.

Variations of gastric bypass surgery are gastric bypass, Roux en-Y proximal; gastric bypass, Roux en-Y distal; and loop gastric bypass or mini-gastric bypass. Gastric bypass surgery is not the only bariatric surgery available for treating morbid obesity. Some people also consider gastric lap-band as an option.

The cost can be a major deciding factor when considering the surgery. Depending upon your specific medical conditions and insurance terms, your health insurance carrier may or may not cover the costs.

The high cost of healthcare has led some Americans to seek treatment in countries like India, Thailand, Singapore, Mexico and Turkey. This practice of going abroad, which is termed as medical tourism or medical travel or health tourism, is a way of getting low cost high quality medical care. But before you decide to outsource your health care it’s extremely important that you do your homework properly – research the facilities, the surgeons, compare the cost and quality offered by different hospitals, talk to people who have had their surgery overseas, etc.

You can learn more about the growing trend of medical tourism, gastric bypass surgery and other medical and dental procedures by logging on to

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