Open Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass: Before Your Surgery

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What is an open Roux-en-Y gastric bypass?

A Roux-en-Y (say "roo-en-why") gastric bypass is surgery to make the stomach smaller. It also changes the connection between the stomach and the intestines. It can help you lose weight. The surgery limits the amount of food the stomach can hold. This helps you eat less and feel full sooner. Open surgery means that the surgery is done through a long cut (incision) in the belly.

You will be asleep during the surgery. The doctor will separate the upper part of your stomach from the rest of your stomach. This forms a small pouch. The pouch will hold the food you eat. The doctor will connect the new stomach pouch to the middle section of the small intestine. This part of the intestine is called the jejunum. After the surgery, the food you eat will pass from the small pouch into your jejunum. Food will no longer go through the lower portion of your stomach or the first section of your intestines.

You will stay in the hospital 1 or more days after the surgery. Most people can go back to work or their usual routine in about 4 to 6 weeks.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your surgery. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before surgery. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.
  • You may be asked to follow a clear liquid diet for several days before surgery. Your doctor will tell you how to do this.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the surgery.
  • The surgery will take about 2 to 3 hours.
  • You may get an epidural catheter. This is a tiny tube that puts pain medicine into the area in your back around your spinal cord. The epidural will prevent belly pain after surgery.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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