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What is Gastric Bypass Surgery and How Does It Work?

Gastric bypass surgery, or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is now the second most common weight loss surgery in the U.S. behind the popular gastric sleeve procedure. Due to its complexity, higher complications rates and associated nutritional deficiencies relative to gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass surgery is being considered less often now by surgeons and patients. But overall it is still one of the standards of care procedures to treat morbid obesity, especially in patients with co-occurring diabetes that is severe.

Houston Gastric Bypass Surgery

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Gastric Bypass Procedure from Dr. Mirza in Houston, TX

The Procedure

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is a restrictive, malabsorptive, and metabolic procedure all at once:

  • Restrictive – limits the amount of food a patient can ingest at one meal
  • Malabsorptive – restricts the amount of nutrients and calories the body can absorb from a meal
  • Metabolic – meaning that it increases gut hormone levels, including levels of peptide YY (PYY), and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which helps patients feel fuller following a small meal.

These are the mechanisms by which gastric bypass surgery reduces hunger, increases satiety, and boosts metabolism, leading to significant weight loss.

Other weight loss surgeries include, but are not limited to, sleeve gastrectomy (also known as gastric sleeve surgery).

Life After Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric Bypass Surgery Diagram

Gastric bypass surgery is an effective tool for weight loss for individuals who suffer from morbid obesity. It helps individuals lead healthier, happier lives, yet it is a serious surgical procedure that requires a few weeks of postoperative recovery. The average hospital stay for gastric bypass patients is 36-48 hours.

You should arrange to take one to two weeks off of work. It’s important to stay active by walking and doing normal daily activities, as long as they are not too strenuous. Avoid driving for one week till you are cleared by your surgeon and heavy lifting for four weeks after surgery.

You will see the surgeon for a follow-up visit 7-10 days after surgery, at which time he will give you instructions for your return to work, including any return-to-work release forms, as needed, along with detailed dietary instructions.

After surgery, it is important to be on a liquid-only diet for two weeks in order to let your body heal. After two weeks of liquids only, you will move on to a diet of pureed and blended foods for the next two weeks. Your surgeon and dietitian will be with you every step of the way, counseling you and providing you with all needed information until you can resume a normal diet of solid foods. You will have access to Dr. Mirza by phone 24/7 for any questions or concerns.

“My life is so much better after gastric bypass!”*

You can expect to lose weight at a rate of about 11 to 15 pounds per month. This may continue for about 6-12 months, after which your rate of weight loss will slow. Over the course of two years, you should lose about 70 to 80 percent of your excess weight or more. However, during the second to fifth year after the procedure, some individuals regain about 10 percent of the weight they have lost, especially if not following the recommended regimen of increased physical activity.

Dedication to making healthy lifestyle choices for the rest of your life is vital. Only by doing so will you lose the excess weight and maintain your weight loss goals over the long term. Ongoing consultation from Dr. Mirza, along with counseling from our dedicated dietitian and assistance from a weight loss support group, will provide you with the information, tools, and support you need to reach your weight loss goals—all of these things are part of our comprehensive program.

All of the above is part of our comprehensive program to give you the best possible outcome.

What to Expect During the Gastric Bypass Procedure

“I had gastric bypass and I haven’t looked back!”

During Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery our experienced Houston bariatric surgeon, Dr. Mirza, splits the stomach into two parts—a small upper pouch around the size of a chicken egg, and a larger, lower portion. He connects the smaller stomach pouch to the intestines and attaches the bowels together at the point of bypassing, which is frequently about 3-4 feet down the stream of the bowels.

After gastric bypass surgery, the smaller stomach pouch allows individuals to feel full after eating only a small amount of food. Also, thanks to the stoma, the connection point between the stomach pouch and the intestine, the stomach empties more slowly, so patients feel full longer than they typically would before having gastric bypass surgery. Because the food bypasses a section of the small intestine during the digestion process, the body absorbs fewer calories and nutrients. All of these things—feeling full after a small meal, feeling full longer, and absorbing fewer calories—leads to significant weight loss for most patients, averaging 2-4 lbs. per week for a 6- to 12-month period of weight loss. Average weight loss is 70-80% of excess weight in that period of time.

Start Making Healthier Lifestyle Choices Today

Start your weight loss journey today by reaching out to Dr. Mirza, our highly-skilled Houston bariatric surgeon. View our gallery of before and after pictures, read testimonials from our patients, and learn more about Dr. Mirza and the entire team at Bariatric Care Centers. Schedule a consultation today by calling 713-339-1353.


All weight loss claims are due to surgery and before and after care. Results will vary by person and are based upon the patient, the surgery type and the compliance with the aftercare program. As with any Medical procedure or surgery, there are specific risks and possible complications. If you have specific questions about the procedure we suggest you arrange for a consult with the Doctor.

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