gastric bypass FAQs
Gastric bypass
, gastric sleeve, LAP-BAND. While there are many differences between each of these weight loss surgeries, it can be easy to get them confused or to mix up details about them. That’s very normal since you, as the patient, are not required to be an expert on these procedures. 

But our surgeon at Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery is an expert, and most patients truly value the one-on-one consultation they get to have with Dr. Jay Long. Many people comment on his patient approach to this meeting, always taking the time to truly talk things out as much as needed and providing his professional advice. 

He has had these consultations many, many times, and he’s well versed in answering the most common questions about each procedure. We covered FAQs about gastric sleeve surgery in this article, and here, we will provide answers to common questions regarding gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric Bypass Surgery FAQs

How do I know if I qualify for gastric bypass surgery?

Generally speaking, gastric bypass surgery could be a good option for you if you meet any of these requirements:

  • Your previous efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise have been unsuccessful
  • Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher
  • Your BMI is 35 or higher, and you have a serious weight-related health problem, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or severe sleep apnea
  • You’re a teenager who’s gone through puberty, your BMI is 35 or more, and you have serious obesity-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes or severe sleep apnea

What happens before and during the gastric bypass procedure?

Prior to the procedure, you will be given a general anesthetic. This will allow you to be asleep throughout the duration of the surgery, and you will not feel any pain. At Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery, we perform laparoscopic gastric bypass, so once you are asleep, Dr. Long creates six small surgical openings on your abdomen. The laparoscope and small surgical instruments are introduced through these openings.

During the procedure, he divides your stomach and reroutes your small intestine to create a small stomach pouch and new digestive route. The small stomach pouch will restrict your food intake. 

A Y-shaped section of the small intestine is attached to the pouch to allow food to bypass the lower stomach, the duodenum (the first segment of the small intestine), and the first portion of the jejunum (the second segment of the small intestine). This bypass route reduces the absorption of nutrients, which also reduces calorie intake. At the end of the surgery, Dr. Long will check the new connections to make sure there are no leaks.

How long does the surgery take, and how long will I be in the hospital?

Gastric bypass surgery typically takes one to two hours and requires a stay of at least one night in the hospital. 

What happens after the gastric bypass procedure?

Depending on your condition, you may be given a clear-liquid diet the day of your surgery. You may be able to start a pureed diet before you go home. You will be given medications to help alleviate any pain or discomfort. We will also instruct you on a special diet plan to follow after surgery. You will have restrictions on how much and what you can eat and drink, and your eating plan may look similar to what’s outlined below. Going through this diet plan while letting your body adjust is an extremely important part of recovery. 

  • Stage one: liquids — right after surgery
  • Stage two: protein-rich liquids— a few days after surgery
  • Stage three: pureed soft foods — approximately two weeks after surgery
  • Stage four: solid foods — approximately four weeks after surgery

We will ask you to come in for regular checkups to monitor your health in the first several months after your gastric bypass procedure. You may need laboratory testing, blood work, and other various exams. We will also be monitoring your weight loss.

How much weight can I expect to lose?

Gastric bypass is often a great option for our heavier patients because most lose up to 80% of their excess body weight (as opposed to about 60% with gastric sleeve surgery). This rapid weight loss can be very beneficial for those who have more severe health issues, such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Also keep in mind that gastric bypass has been proven to cure both severe acid reflux and poorly controlled diabetes. If you have either of these issues, this is a huge advantage of significant weight loss that happens relatively quickly.

Is gastric bypass reversible?

Technically it is a reversible procedure. For some, it’s comforting to know this. However, we want to be clear that this is something we always want to avoid, because reversal will cause you to gain the weight back.

How much does gastric bypass surgery cost?

The cost of gastric bypass surgery starts at $15,999, and this cost also includes pre-operative testing, such as blood work and EKG, if necessary; pre-operative nutrition evaluation; surgeon fee for the procedure; anesthesiologist fee; post-operative visit with the nutritionist within 6 weeks of surgery; and more. 

Will the surgery be covered by my insurance?

It may be covered. For patients who do have insurance coverage, the cost may be somewhat less than the numbers mentioned above. However, insurance companies that do provide coverage typically have many requirements you must meet, such as a lengthy physician-supervised diet that may take up to seven months. While your journey might take a little longer, many of our patients have successfully used insurance to help them afford the cost of gastric bypass.

Is Gastric Bypass Your Answer for Weight Loss?

Through your pre-op visits and consultation with Dr. Long, we will help you answer this question. If you are ready to seriously look into it, schedule an appointment with him to get started on your journey to weight loss right away!

Find out more about gastric bypass surgery and other weight loss options at Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery.

The caring group of professionals at Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery will help you get started on your weight loss journey and stay with you every step along the way. Dr. Long and his team specialize in all types of bariatric surgery, including gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass, and the LAP-BAND. Visit us today at or give us a call to set up a consultation at 205-833-6907.