Gallbladder and Gastric Bypass

The gallbladder and gastric bypass surgery are the topic within medical circles often. It is an issue of concern for patients who receive gastric bypass surgery.

In fact, many doctors recommend complete removal of the gallbladder to patients who have received gastric bypass surgery, but why is that?

How are the gallbladder and gastric bypass surgery related?

This article aims to answer those questions by looking at the effects gastric bypass surgery has on the gallbladder. It focuses on the complications that gastric bypass surgery might cause such as gallstones and gallbladder disease.

This article also briefly focuses on the pros and cons of having the gallbladder removed.

 

What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

You might already be very familiar with what gastric bypass surgery entails. However, a brief overview never hurts.

Gastric bypass is one of the most common weight-loss surgeries. The surgery includes creating a small stomach pouch. This small pouch is reconnected to a portion of the small intestine, causing food to bypass part of the stomach and first section of the small intestine for the outcome of weight loss. 

This process is only done as a last resort when traditional weight loss methods have failed. Bariatric surgery is considered a major surgery and should not be taken lightly. 

 

Gastric Bypass Surgery and the Gallbladder

Gallbladder problems after gastric bypass surgery are quite common, but why?

Generally, gallstones can occur in obese individuals due to high cholesterol levels and fatty deposits. Ironically, the surgery made to help people lose weight also leaves them at risk for gallstones.

Rapid weight loss is what causes the high risk of gallstones that patients can experience after gastric bypass surgery. Studies have shown that up to 35% of bariatric patients have experienced gallstone formation throughout their weight loss journey.

Due to the prevalence of gallbladder problems after gastric bypass, doctors often prescribe preventative medications such as Ursodiol or Actigall. These medications will be prescribed along with a daily bariatric multivitamin. Additional supplements may be added, such as bariatric iron soft chews based on blood work.

If the patient has a history of gallstone problems, their doctor might recommend having the gallbladder removed.

 

Removing The Gallbladder

If gallbladder problems are so prevalent among gastric bypass patients, why not just remove the gallbladder when undergoing gastric bypass surgery?

While it sounds like a simple solution, it comes with additional complications.

First, safety risk will increase. Bariatric surgery and cholecystectomy are major medical procedures. They can put immense pressure and stress on the body. Conducting both surgeries at the same time would put the patient’s health and well-being at unnecessary risk.

Second, both procedures are quite technical and performing both at the same time would be difficult due to the placement of the organs. This would lead to a longer operation time.

Also, not all gastric bypass patients need to undergo a cholecystectomy. Whether the gallbladder is removed or not depends on the patient’s medical history and the diagnosis of the practitioner. 

 

Things To Consider Before Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery can be costly if your insurance plan does not cover weight loss surgery. In the US, the cost of gastric bypass surgery can range between $15,000 to $58,000.

The cost of gastric bypass surgery will vary depending on the region you live in and the hospital you choose.

The surgery is quite invasive and can come with a few complications. This can include anemia and kidney stones after gastric bypass. If you’re considering the surgery, it is advised to look into gastric bypass forums and bariatric seminars

Ask important questions like ‘how to restart weight loss after gastric bypass?’ and ‘gastric bypass malabsorption. By interacting with people who have already undergone the surgery, you’re able to understand post-op care and what to expect. There may also be discussion from individuals who have undergone a gastric bypass revision.

 

Conclusion

Medical procedures, no matter how simple or complicated, require immense thought. The best advantage before any surgery is to gather information and knowledge. 

Have an understanding of what you’re getting yourself into. Familiarize yourself with potential consequences and post-surgery care. Check out whether gastric sleeve surgery is covered by insurance and how to qualify for gastric bypass surgery. 

Having this knowledge can be a great comfort. It can also calm your nerves because you’ll be prepared for what’s to come. 

With gastric bypass surgery, there are things to know about post-surgery care as well as the additional risk of gallbladder problems. However, rest assured that gallbladder problems after gastric bypass don't happen to everyone. 

Your doctor will prescribe preventative medications to decrease your risk. Follow your post-op plan and utilize bariatric resources for a successful weight loss journey.  

 

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**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition.