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For Gastric Bypass, Seek Experienced Surgeon

Pennsylvania - New Jersey - New York - Nationwide

By Michael W. Smith, MD
April 19, 2005

Less invasive weight loss surgery is on the rise, but patients need to look for hospitals that have performed this procedure at least 100 times to help ensure their safety.

Interest in gastric bypass surgery, in which part of the stomach is bypassed to help obese people lose weight, continues to grow. And now surgeons are increasingly turning to a less invasive technique called laparascopic gastric bypass surgery.

Instead of a large cut down the center of the abdomen, this technique uses several small cuts to perform the surgery, using a camera to see inside the abdomen. Recovery time after this technique is generally much shorter than after traditional surgery, and patients experience less pain.

Double-Edged Sword

While the researchers say introduction of this new technique has been of "tremendous overall benefit," they add that it's also a "double-edged sword."

It dramatically decreases infection rates, pain after surgery, and length of hospital stay. But it's much more technically challenging than the traditional surgery technique.

So researchers at Tufts-New England Medical Center wanted to see if safety of this new technique improved as more of these surgeries were done. They were specifically evaluating the safety of a weight loss surgery procedure called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

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