What Is Bypass Surgery? – Find Out What It Is And What It Takes to Recover

When it comes to bypass surgery, I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about getting a double bypass, triple bypass, or even bigger. It has caused you to wonder exactly what bypass surgery is, why it is needed, and how long it takes to recover from having it. For some people, a bypass surgery is a critical, life-saving medical procedure than extend their lives for decades – so what is bypass surgery and what does it do?

An Explanation of Bypass Surgery

Bypass surgery occurs because a patient is suffering from a lack of blood reaching the heart, becoming oxygenated, and then going back out to the rest of the body. The two primary reasons why this happens is because the patient is suffering from coronary artery disease or has a blockage in one or more of the vessels that bring blood into the heart. When this occurs, the patient suffers sharp chest pains and can feel extremely fatigued.

In order to repair the situation, the surgeon has to stop the patient’s heart, thus dictating the name of the surgery. The heart’s functions are bypassed by mechanical means. Then the surgeon takes healthy vessels from other parts of the patient’s body and grafts them onto the damaged parts near the heart that are causing the problems.

The name of the bypass surgery is dependent on the number of vessels that must be bypassed because of blockage or disease, so for instance a double bypass would bypass two vessels, or a quadruple bypass would bypass four vessels.

Why Is Bypass Surgery Necessary

For individuals suffering from coronary artery disease, surgery becomes necessary because the vessels have become constricted or even blocked because of fatty deposits and a build up of cholesterol within the vessel. This prevents enough blood from reaching the heart and causes the symptoms described above. Sometimes there are other blockages, constrictions, or even spasms of blood vessels that can dictate this surgery as well. By bypassing, or adding grafts of the patient’s own vessels to the damaged tissue, the symptoms and problems associated with these blockages is generally relieved and a patient can go on to live normally once again.

Prognosis After Bypass Surgery

With diet changes and regular light exercise, a bypass surgery can help a vast majority of patients live at least 5 years longer than had they not had the surgery. Many patients live much longer than 5 years, but there is not enough research in place to determine whether the bypass surgery would have been more effective than other forms of treatment. A good bypass surgery will last approximately 15 years, so for patients that require this procedure and live that long, they generally will need to receive another bypass as the first one has worn out.

So there you have it – what bypass surgery is, why it is necessary, and what the prognosis is for someone who has received this surgery. Bypass surgery may be a complicated procedure, but it is one that is life saving and can improve the lifespan of a patient receiving it dramatically.