Complications that May Occur after Gastric Bypass Surgery
Gastric bypass surgery can bring weight loss to those that cannot achieve it through diet and exercise. Compared to other weight loss surgeries, such as adjustable gastric banding, gastric bypass surgery can bring about a profound loss in excess body weight. Unfortunately, this profound weight loss comes at the price of a higher complication rate, in many cases. This article describes some of the complications of gastric bypass surgery and some possible consequences of the procedure.
In addition to the intraoperative complications that may occur with gastric bypass surgery
, there are certain other possible outcomes for which to prepare. Since the stomach is made smaller and reattached to a place lower in the GI tract, there is a complication of gastric bypass surgery that can occur, called â€śdumping syndrome.â€ť Dumping syndrome is similar to the way it sounds, swallowed food dumps directly into the intestine without pausing for processing in the â€śstomach.â€ť This phenomenon is characterized by abdominal cramps and nausea. Dumping syndrome occurs more often as a consequence of large meals, or meals that are very high in sugar or fat. This complication or consequence of gastric bypass surgery can usually be corrected by adjusting the content and size of meals.
It is not uncommon for patients recovering from gastric bypass surgery do develop various vitamin deficiencies. Since the stomach and gut are important for absorbing many vitamins, when they are surgically removed, the body is less able to extract them from swallowed food. Therefore you and your doctor should monitor for signs and symptoms of vitamin deficiency. Sometimes the symptoms are unfamiliar to doctors since in developed countries that have fortified foods, vitamin deficiency is rare. If you do not feel â€śquite rightâ€ť after you have recovered from gastric bypass surgery, make sure to inform all of your physicians about the surgery and suggest that maybe you should be checked for a vitamin deficiency.
Vitamins are not the only things that are poorly absorbed after gastric bypass surgery. Proteins and minerals (like iron) may also pass through the GI tract without being absorbed. It is important to have your doctor check for these things in the weeks after gastric bypass surgery.
People undergoing gastric bypass surgery that have Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus can expect that their need for medicine will decrease or be eliminated completely as the weight comes off. However, since meal size has dropped considerably, your body may still be secreting high levels of insulin. Also, diabetes medicine will have to be adjusted after surgery. If insulin or other diabetes medicines are too high in the blood without an appropriate sugar in the blood (from food), an unsafe drop in blood sugar can occur.
Remember to drink plenty of fluids after the surgery to avoid dehydration. A surprising amount of fluid is contained in the food that we eat and when meal size decreases, so does water intake. It is not uncommon for kidney stones to occur after gastric bypass surgery.
It is important to remember that some unintended consequences and complications of gastric bypass surgery do occur and by learning about them you can help your doctor to identify and treat them.
Last Updated: 03/31/2009
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