Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for morbid obesity. It is performed laparoscopically (using small incisions) by inserting small, specialized instruments into the abdomen. The surgery creates a small upper stomach pouch. Food passes from the esophagus into this small pouch before it enters the intestine through a small opening, bypassing the rest of the stomach and part of the small intestine. Food does not mix with digestive enzymes until it has traveled 4 - 6 feet into the intestine. Doing the surgery laparoscopically reduces pain, supports a quicker recovery, and allows for a shorter hospital stay. Many patients are released from the hospital one or two days following surgery and can return to work as early as two weeks postoperatively. Patients must follow a recovery diet and follow-up guidelines to help minimize the risk of complications and better the chances of weight loss. Typically, gastric bypass patients loose between 60-80% of excess weight and have about an 80% chance of keeping the weight off. The weight loss can also have a positive impact on hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, and arthritis. Weight loss surgery is not a cure for obesity. Patients must be willing to commit to a lifestyle change of healthy diet, exercise, and follow-up appointments to help realize their goal of weight loss.


Obesity is a medical problem that can have wide-ranging mental and physical effects on a person. If you or a loved one has struggled with obesity for some time and has tried unsuccessfully to combine a healthy diet with exercise to lose weight, UAB Medicine is the place to turn. Led by Richard Stahl, MD, and Jayleen Grams, MD, the bariatric surgery program at UAB Medicine has been performing weight-loss procedures for more than 30 years, and it is the first American College of Surgeons Level 1 Bariatric Surgery Center in Alabama. This history, combined with our standing as a respected academic medical center, puts UAB Medicine at the forefront of weight-loss surgery.

Complicated pre- and post-operative bariatric patients frequently are referred here, which gives us a unique perspective on weight-loss surgery, its risks, and its limitations. We do not view surgery as a quick fix for weight loss, nor should it be a patient’s first consideration when contemplating weight-loss methods. A multidisciplinary approach involving surgery, varied medical specialists, nutrition, psychology, and physical therapy is used in the evaluation and management of a patient’s obesity. An active and ongoing weight-loss support group meets regularly and is open to all patients, whether they have had surgery or are considering it.


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