bariatric surgery, laparoscopic bariatric surgery, normal anatomy of digestive tract, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass



  1. Hydock, Claudia Marie MS, BSN, RN


Obesity has reached an overwhelming high in the United States as well as other developing countries around the world. Alone, approximately 60 million Americans are characterized as obese, and 10 million of them are considered morbidly obese. Many have tried and failed not only to lose the excess weight through fad diets, medically supervised diets, exercise programs, and athletic club memberships, but also to maintain a healthy weight. As a result, weight gain and loss has become a way of life, an unhealthy way of life. This often results in a weight gain of a greater number of pounds than where they started. As a result, many patients and their physicians are looking to weight loss surgery as a permanent solution to the problem of yo-yo dieting. Along with the surgical alterations to the digestive system, nutrition counseling with portion control and regular exercise are part of a comprehensive program for successful long-term weight maintenance. It is the intent of this article to provide the reader with the basic understanding of the normal anatomy of the digestive tract. Then, each surgical procedure will be discussed, enabling the reader to visualize the changes in the digestion and absorption of food. It is these changes in absorption of vitamins and minerals, fats and carbohydrates, and proteins that lead to the various medical complications seen in patients after bariatric surgery.