Weight Loss Surgery
Effects on Normal Digestion
Loss Surgery Candidates - Normal
Digestive Process -
Bypass Raises Life Expectancy - Gastric
Bypass - Bariatric
How Bariatric Surgery Affects Digestion, Food Intake & Calorie Absorption
Weight Loss Surgery - The Normal Digestive Process
Normally, as food moves along the digestive
tract, digestive juices and enzymes digest and absorb calories and nutrients
(see figure 1, below). After we chew and swallow our food, it moves down
the esophagus to the stomach, where a strong acid continues the digestive
The stomach can hold about 3 pints of food at one time. When the stomach contents move to the duodenum, the first segment of the small intestine, bile and pancreatic juice speed up digestion.
Most of the iron and calcium in the foods we eat is absorbed in the duodenum. The jejunum and ileum, the remaining two segments of the nearly 20 feet of small intestine, complete the absorption of almost all calories and nutrients.
The food particles that cannot be digested in the small intestine are stored in the large intestine until eliminated.
How Does Surgery Promote Weight Loss?
Gastrointestinal surgery for obesity, also called bariatric surgery, alters the digestive process. The operations promote weight loss by closing off parts of the stomach to make it smaller. Operations that only reduce stomach size are known as restrictive operations because they restrict the amount of food the stomach can hold.
Some operations combine stomach restriction with a partial bypass of the small intestine. These procedures create a direct connection from the stomach to the lower segment of the small intestine, literally bypassing portions of the digestive tract that absorb calories and nutrients. These are known as malabsorptive operations.
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