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Gastric Bypass Surgery/Roux-en -Y Gastric Bypass Surgery/Stomach Stapling

Gastric bypass surgery is a popular procedure to produce significant weight loss for the morbidly obese. The procedure involves bypassing most of the stomach and the duodenum (beginning of the small intestine) and creating a small stomach pouch that is attached directly to the small intestine, producing weight loss by two means:

The main types of gastric by-pass surgeries are:

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery, known as "stomach stapling" is also called "RGB", and/or "RNY". It is the most common weight loss surgery in the United States. This procedure is performed either surgically or laparoscopically, through either a large vertical incision in the abdomen (surgical) or a number of smaller incisions for the laparoscopic procedure. The average hospital stay is from two or three night to a full week.

During Roux-en-Y surgery, the stomach is sectioned off by a series of staples, and a new pouch is created from a small portion of the stomach. This pouch severely limits the kind and amount of food as well as the number of calories that can be consumed without making the patient ill. This pouch is then attached to a portion of the small intestine (beyond the duodenum) thus limiting absorption of fat and calories but allowing for the gastric juices in the intestine to still do their job of digesting the food. The surgeon may choose to create a "long-limb" and this procedure is then called a Long-Limbed Roux-en-Y.

For laparoscopic surgery, general anesthesia is used, and the abdominal cavity is pumped full of gas to allow the surgeon to maneuver and see his or her work on the screen. For traditional open surgery, the client is sedated.

Gastric Bypass Surgery Malpractice

Roux-en-Y, and indeed all gastric by pass surgeries, are quite effective for achieving weight loss for the severely and morbidly obese but these surgeries are not without risks and complications. The biggest risk of Roux -en-Y and other gastric bypass surgeries is the inexperience of the surgeon. Gastric bypass is an intricate surgery involving critical organs and systems; however as gastric bypass surgery continues to grow in popularity and more doctors and hospitals want to jump on this lucrative bandwagon, competence issues begin to grow. Some hospitals allow doctors to perform this complicated surgery after training at a single weekend seminar!

Risks, Complications and Symptoms

The risks of surgery may be greater than once thought. The latest data suggest that 20% of weight loss surgery patients suffer some type of complication, with 5% suffering serious problems such as heart attacks and stroke. The death rate in the first 30 days after surgery may be higher than for some types of heart interventions.

Roux -en -Y gastric bypass surgery has a morbidity rate of approximately 2%. Half of those with Roux-en-Y problems will experience immediate complications and death ; another half experience post-operative complications that lead to death within one month of surgery. Twenty-five percent of gastric bypass patients will have some form of post-surgical complication!

When performed carelessly, incorrectly or incompetently - which is an all-too common occurrence these days -- gastric bypass complications can include:

Gastrointestinal leakage is a serous condition that can lead to death and should not be overlooked!

Other serious problems from gastric bypass surgery and roux-en-y surgery include:

Leakage and Embolism

The primary complications from gastric bypass surgery and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery are internal bleeding/leakage, and pulmonary embolism . While leakage issues are more common, pulmonary embolism can be more serious as it is more likely to result in death.

Deaths from gastric bypass surgeries are increasing, including those from laparoscopic surgeries . Current statistics indicate that one in every 200-300 patients die and at least 10% have complications. In one hospital alone, seven patients died after gastric bypass surgery.

The exact number of fatalities from Roux-en-Y and other gastric bypass surgeries is hard to pinpoint because often the cause of death will be indicated as heart attack, blood clot, or morbid obesity -- and the connection between the cause of death and the surgery is not made.

"Dumping Syndrome" and Other Complications

Some complications of bypass surgery are a result of the patient's failure to follow dietary guidelines which severely limit portions sugar and fat, and require consistent hydration. These complications include:

Many of these symptoms are preventable by strictly following dietary guidelines after surgery. Medical negligence comes into play here if the doctor fails to properly and completely inform the patient of the radical change required in diet and eating habits, and that for the first few months following surgery, the patient's diet will consist almost entirely of high protein fluids and vitamin supplements.

Bypass Surgery Malpractice Issues

Data from May of 2005 indicates that 145,000 patients nationwide underwent gastric bypass weight loss surgery last year, netting doctors and hospitals billions of dollars in revenue. The popularity of weight loss surgery has shown a ten-fold increase in the last 10-12 years. Bypass surgeries have become a lucrative specialty, and some doctors perform four or five operations a day. Hospital revenue from gastric bypass surgeries are nearing $2 billion dollars with significant increases projected each year. Malpractice issues include the following:

Mitigating Risk

The most common causes of problems with gastric bypass and Roux -En-Y surgeries are:

Therefore, the risk gastric bypass surgery can be best minimized by choosing a surgeon who has performed at least 200 procedures of the exact kind being performed on the patient. For example, if the surgeon has performed hundreds of surgical bypass procedures, but is relatively new to laparoscopic, find a surgeon whose experience is in laparoscopic Roux-en-Y. This is especially important for laparascopic procedure, where the learning curve is very steep.

Before surgery, be sure you understand the risks and the symptoms of complications, including all the signs of a gastric leak, which can present, in the beginning with mild symptoms, but can quickly turn deadly.

If you or someone you love had Roux-en-Y or other gastric bypass surgery and experienced serious complications, there is good chance that the competence level of the surgeon caused or contributed to the problem.

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