Mini gastric bypass: surgery, eligibility, recovery, and cost

Mini gastric bypass is relative to the Roux-en-Y (gastric bypass) surgery that has a simpler and less invasive approach. If you are considering undergoing bariatric surgery then mini gastric bypass is one of the fine options. The risks of it are lower than other surgical operations with higher safety in case of reverse surgery necessity. However, you will need to pass the qualification point to undergo the surgery.

Looking at this surgery from a different point of view, it holds more benefits and fewer risks with even better affordability. This article will show you the overall information needed for medical and financial necessities thoroughly.

Mini bypass surgery explained

Mini gastric bypass is done under general anesthesia because there are incisions made on the abdominal wall to pass flexible tubes. Through these tubes, tools are passed for visuals and cutting tools. Accordingly, your surgeon will create a small pouch and connect it to a smaller intestine.

Then, there are tests done to make sure there is no leakage afterward the incisions are closed. Then you wake up after the anesthesia.

Let’s get into the details and get the mini gastric bypass surgery explained furthermore. 

Step by step into the operation

Mini gastric bypass anatomy is simply resizing the stomach and connecting it with smaller intestines but there are few steps before and after that. Let’s step by step into the operation:

  1. On the day of surgery, you will be under the influence of general anesthesia until you’re unconscious. So you will go through the surgery not feeling any sort of discomfort. 
  2. Then your surgeon creates an incision or a few incisions on your abdominal area passing thin tubes that have a camera, light, and cutting tools. Mini gastric bypass techniques vary if they are different. Then your surgeon will demonstrate one of the techniques based on his tools and experience.
  3. The incisions are 1 or 5 small incisions and both 1 or 5-incision techniques have special equipment. Through each incision, there is a flexible tube with the tools that are needed for the operation.
  4.  Your surgeon will continue taking a step to vertically cut your stomach into a shape of a small pouch that’s about 2-3 ounces. That’s where it helps to store fewer portions of food.
  5. Secondly, the resized stomach is connected to the smaller intestines, the average bypassed intestines is between 5-7 feet. Then the cut ends are connected together using either sutures or stables.
  6. After closing the cuts on both stomach and intestines there are tests done to see if there is any leakage with methylene blue or a solution to check any leakage. After making sure that everything is in order, the incisions then are closed.
  7. Then you wake up when the anesthesia affection lowers and are taken back to your room to rest.

Mini gastric bypass (MGB) and Roux-en-y gastric bypass (RYGB) are the same anatomically but the mini version has a bigger stomach pouch with fewer intestine cuts which excludes the roux limb connection. The gastric pouch is directly connected to the smaller intestines with one cut less. Also, the healing stages might be similar with slight differences in food intake portions.

Is mini gastric bypass safe?

In short yes, mini gastric bypass is safe. The main surgery RYGB is also safe as long as both the bariatric surgery team and the patient co-op together. The success rate goes higher when the facility has experienced bariatric surgeons and operates with high-quality tools. 

On the other side, following the pre-op and post-op guidelines play a significant role in terms of the safety and success of the surgery. So, is mini gastric bypass safe, the answer determines by personal experience because it will be unique to you because not everyone responds to the same complications. Your medical history and overall health make it easier for your doctor to make it safe for you with specific approaches and medications if needed.

Is mini gastric bypass surgery reversible?

Is mini gastric bypass surgery reversible? Yes, it is possible to be reversed just the gastric bypass and with less invasiveness. Mini gastric bypass is a one-connection procedure that reduces risks of leakage and other complications. Laparoscopic mini gastric bypass reverse surgery is done with incisions and tools that will help to remove the stitches and put everything back to the original order.

Keep in mind not all patients are qualified for the reversal, you need to visit your hospital or the facility you went to do the original surgery for consultation. Based on your health background from the day you visit will determine your eligibility. Accordingly, your doctor will give instructions to follow pre and post-op guidance.

How much weight can you lose?

You can lose half of your weight in one year of experiencing a mini gastric bypass procedure. In the second year of mini bypass even lose up to 60-70% of your weight. 

Hypothetically, if a patient was 6 feet tall (182cm) and 330 pounds (150 kg) and underwent a mini gastric procedure, They can lose up to 60% of his weight in 1 year. With a dedication to the guidelines and a good daily routine, the patient can reduce his weight to 200 pounds (90 kg).

It might be as rapid as the early stages but it is still effective in long-term.

Keep in mind, based on your body weight will be lost based on your performance in the weight loss journey. The performance is based on how much you follow your dietitian’s plan. You need lean protein, fibers, and an average of 1000-1300 calories per day after when you’re food tolerance becomes back to normal after full recovery.

Weighting benefits and drawbacks of mini bypass

Mini gastric bypass surgery pros and cons are conditional to be valid in you based on your overall health and your way of dealing with the post-op given plans. However, here is a general view of both pros and cons of mini gastric bypass:

Benefits of mini gastric bypassDrawbacks of mini gastric bypass
Significant weight lossRisk of vitamin deficiency
Obese-related diseases remissionSupplements intake for lifetime
Health improvementRestricted diet from day one 

With the significant amount of weight you lose, your body also improves obese-related symptoms. Your blood pressure regulates, enjoy better nights at night and type 2 diabetes is recommissioned when your body adjusts to a new transformation of a healthier form.

On the other side, MGB carries a set of drawbacks that may lead you to reconsider your decision from many angles. Absorption of food is way less, therefore it could cause vitamin deficiency and requires minerals alongside an advised planned diet. Speaking of diet plans, you need to follow strict food stages, from a liquid diet to soft foods until a regular solid diet. 

Side effects, complications, and risks explained

Mini gastric bypass has negative side effects with a low complication rate, and most of the risks are lowered based on diet choices, here are the side effects, complications and risks explained:

The most common side effects after surgery are either feeling nauseous or vomiting, acid reflux, or dumping syndrome. They are not necessarily happening for everyone, each patient has a unique experience. The reasons could be due to surgical errors which rarely occur but it also could be due to consumption of food with high GI or bigger portions than recommended.

From a rapid weight loss point of view, you might form a gallstone in your gallbladder that connects to your liver. The stones pile up in the bile duct, the path for the juices to flow to the smaller intestines. Therefore it has the risk of abdominal pain, feeling bloated, or even nausea.

In any case of acute and constant complications, then it needs immediate medical attention to be fixed with intervention or even possibly reverse surgery. Keep in mind, mini gastric bypass complications are not common, and less invasive approach than RYGB surgery which is also safe, to begin with. All you need is the support and guidelines for both pre and post-op to put the risks to a minimum.

What is the recovery period like?

MGB recovery aims to heal the sensitive stitches and cuts that need a few days at the hospital, generally a day or 2. In those two days may be under pain medications to numb the aches or discomforts after waking up. During the period of recovery, there is going to be a transition between food choices, starting from a liquid diet to regular food in specific durations for each stage.

Mini gastric bypass requirements post-op are to follow the guidance given in terms of diet. It is not only to keep the surgical area safe from complications but also to give the body the essentials it needs. Now that we know that there are regulations for food choices and periods, what’s the diet plan like for this surgery specifically? Let’s talk about it.

What's the diet plan like?

A mini gastric bypass diet starts from the basics of liquid substances and then adds more to it after a specific period of time. Also whatever the stage of food you are in there shouldn’t be consuming trans fats, high calories, high GI, and alcohol to an extent. Here is the diet plan explained periodically:

The 1st-2nd week:

You will be drinking small portions of clear liquids like broth, skimmed milk, decaffeinated, natural substance drinks, and more. And what you must avoid is anything that is considered carbohydrate sources and carbonated drinks such as soft drinks, liquor, and energy drinks.

You have to be on a liquid diet in this period of time because they will be light on the resized stomach and will not cause any nausea, vomiting, or infect the surgical area. Keep in mind that you need to have small sips when you have meals otherwise, it might upset the stomach.

The 3nd-4th week:

You can move to soups that may have soft small pieces of food that also pureed food that barely needs chewing. Your meals consist of protein and fiber, and if the substances are solid you can blend them and add fluids like water or broth. Or you can simply have special protein shakes that may be recommended by your dietitian.

The 5th-6th week:

In this period of time, your stomach should be able to tolerate more chewable foods such as cooked vegetables and also soft fruits. But when it comes to beans, its generally not as soft vegetables when cooked, so they will need to be mushed a bit. And when it comes to a protein such as lean meat, it also needs to be grounded or well-sliced.

Finally, you can move on to solid foods. You need to start eating them gradually with portion control. The food should be chewed well still even when your stomach is healed. Also, the food must still be as nutritious to stay healthy as much as possible. That means that you should avoid high-calorie consumption and anything that degrades weight loss achievement.

Who can consider mini bypass as an option?

This option can be considered for those who have tried to lose weight with diets and exercises yet it wasn’t quite effective. If your BMI is between 35 and 40, you are most likely an eligible candidate, also a possible bariatric patient if your BMI is 30+ with obesity-related symptoms. The health conditions consist of blood pressure issues, heart problems, joint pain, and type 2 diabetes along with being between at least 18-65 years of age.

Other than that, who can consider mini bypass as an option? As with any bariatric weight loss surgery, you need to be mentally stable and willing to commit to a new lifestyle. This commitment includes following a healthy diet, and physical activity on schedule with rest afterward. In order to check the physical and mental examinations you need to consult your healthcare provider and they shall give your feedback thoroughly.

How much does a mini gastric bypass cost?

Mini gastric bypass surgery cost starts from is minimum of $5,000 and up to $30,000, the gap exists due to the region, facility type, and surgeon’s experience. There are other factors for the price to differ and it is the additional costs that come along with the surgery fee. However, in some countries that are familiar with medical tourism, you might find all-inclusive packages with very competitive prices.

Let us take a look at this table and see the average cost of mini gastric bypass surgery:

CountryThe average cost of MGB

For more details and thorough information, you can call your healthcare provider to know the prices in a specific facility, region, or country. Also, you can ask for the information needed related to insurance coverage if it is valid. 

Does insurance cover mini gastric bypass?

Generally bariatric is not an aesthetic surgery, rather a necessity of it is significant to improve the health of obese patients. So, yes Health insurance does cover mini gastric bypass at a fraction of the cost, it may only cover additional costs like hospital fees and pre-op tests. However, the quality of the insurance also matters too, it could cover prices in higher percentages and also surgical operation costs as well. 

Health insurance is most useful if you want to get the surgery locally, but if you want to have it abroad, it lowers the chances of coverage perk significantly. Therefore, consult your health insurance provider for details related to coverage percentage and limits of it. Accordingly, you can manage to have better prices wherever you are staying. Keep in mind that you need medical documents and anything that shows that you qualify for the surgery in order to get the insurance.

Wang FG, Yan WM, Yan M, Song MM. Outcomes of Mini vs Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: A meta-analysis and systematic review. Int J Surg. 2018;56:7-14. doi:10.1016/j.ijsu.2018.05.009

Mahawar, K.K., Carr, W.R.J., Balupuri, S. et al. Controversy Surrounding ‘Mini’ Gastric Bypass. OBES SURG 24, 324–333 (2014).

Noun, R., Riachi, E., Zeidan, S. et al. Mini-Gastric Bypass by Mini-Laparotomy: A Cost-Effective Alternative in the Laparoscopic Era. OBES SURG 17, 1482–1486 (2007).

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