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The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most frequently performed weight loss operation in the United States and is considered to be the current gold standard procedure for weight loss surgery according to the American Society for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery and the National Institutes of Health. The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is a combined "restrictive" and "malabsorptive" weight loss operation. The stomach is divided creating a pouch approxiamtely the size of a Dixie cup. This is the "restricitve" component, that is the size of the stomach has been dramatically reduced restricting the ammount of food that it can hold at any one time. The remainder of the stomach is not removed, but is completely divided from the stomach pouch. The bypass segment of the procedure accounts for the "malabsorption". The term "malabsorption" refers to the intestines inability to absorb all the ingested nutrients and calories. This is done by dividing the small bowel just beyond the the first 3 to 4 feet of small intestine and bringing it up to the pouch to create a new connection. The other end of the bowel is sewn back into the side of 4 to 5 feet of small intestine called the Roux limb. Ingested food moves from the stomach pouch directly into the Roux limb. Enzymes (natural chemicals neede for digestion) travel through the biliopancreatic limb or "Y limb". Food and enzymes meet and mix in the segment of small intestine refered to as the "common channel". It is in the common channel that ingested nutrients and calories can be absorbed. In other words, after the bypass, patients will have one half to one third the length of their small intestine to absorb the food that they eat.

The result is an early sense of fullness, combined with a limited ability to absorb all calories that have been ingested. In general, patients have a reduction in appetite, diminshed food cravings and an increase in their energy level.

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