Type of Surgery
Last updated: 11/24/2009
Gastric bypass surgery has many of the same risks associated with any other major abdominal operation. Life-threatening complications or death are rare, occurring in fewer than 1% of patients. Such significant side effects as wound problems, difficulty...
in swallowing food, infections, and extreme nausea can occur in 10â€“20% of patients. Blood clots after major surgery are rare but extremely dangerous, and if they occur may require re-hospitalization and anticoagulants (blood thinning medication).
Some risks, however, are specific to gastric bypass surgery:
- Dumping syndrome. Usually occurs when sweet foods are eaten or when food is eaten too quickly. When the food enters the small intestine, it causes cramping, sweating, and nausea.
- Abdominal hernias. These are the most common complications requiring follow-up surgery. Incisional hernias occur in 10â€“20% of patients and require follow-up surgery.
- Narrowing of the stoma. The stoma, or opening between the stomach and intestines, can sometimes become too narrow, causing vomiting. The stoma can be repaired by an outpatient procedure that uses a small endoscopic balloon to stretch it.
- Gallstones. They develop in more than a third of obese patients undergoing gastric surgery. Gallstones are clumps of cholesterol and other matter that accumulate in the gallbladder. Rapid or major weight loss increases a person's risk of developing gallstones.
- Leakage of stomach and intestinal contents. Leakage of stomach and intestinal contents from the staple and suture lines into the abdomen can occur. This is a rare occurrence and sometimes seals itself. If not, another operation is required.
Because of the changes in digestion after gastric bypass surgery, patients may develop such nutritional deficiencies as anemia, osteoporosis, and metabolic bone disease. These deficiencies can be prevented by taking iron, calcium, Vitamin B12, and folate supplements. It is also important to maintain hydration and intake of high-quality protein and essential fat to ensure healthy weight loss.
This animation describes the three main types of bariatric surgery. Topics covered include gastric bypass surgery, adjustable gastric banding, and sleeve gastrectomy.
Gastric bypass procedures (GBP) are any of a group of similar operations used to treat morbid obesityâ€”the severe accumulation of excess weight as fatty tissueâ€”and the health problems (comorbidities) it causes. Bariatric surgery is the term encompassing all of the surgical treatments for morbid obesity, not just gastric bypasses, which make up only one class of such operations.
A gastric bypass first divides the stomach into a small upper pouch and a much larger, lower "remnant" pouch and then re-arranges the small intestine to allow both pouches to stay connected to it. Surgeons have developed several different ways to reconnect the intestine, thus leading to several different GBP names. Any GBP leads to a marked reduction in the functional volume of the stomach, accompanied by an altered physiological and psychological response to food. The resulting weight loss, typically dramatic, markedly reduces comorbidities. The long-term mortality rate of gastric bypass patients has been shown to be reduced by up to 40%; however, complications are common and surgery-related death occurs within one month in 2% of patients.
The average Bariatric Surgery patient is a woman in her late 30s who weighs approximately 300 pounds in 2004.
Find a Qualified Specialist
Looking for a specialist?
Please enter your zip code.