Last updated: 11/24/2009
Most initial reports that have looked at this procedure have shown it to be quite safe in general; however, there are some complications that may arise during and after surgery. One of the more serious complications is that the new sleeve (remaining...
stomach) begins to leak at the staple line. This occurs mostly if meal size is not properly controlled by can occur spontaneously in rare instances. If the sleeve does leak, gastric contents can spill into the peritoneal (abdominal) space and lead to serious infection. While it is unlikely, if leakage does occur it requires hospitalization, therapy with antibiotics and surgical revision of the remaining stomach.
A similar complication is called a sleeve stricture, in which the remaining stomach forms scar tissue internally and prevents the flow of ingested food almost completely. This complication requires hospitalization and surgical correction. This complication is relatively rare.
Dehydration and the formation of gallbladder stones are slightly more common, much less serious and are corrected through medical or surgical means. Wound infection is a concern with any surgery
and the risk of infection increases in patients with poorly controlled diabetes. After an initial weight loss, weight gain is possible, though unlikely. While most the stomach that has the ability to grow (â€śstretchâ€ť) has been removed in vertical sleeve gastrectomy, the remaining sleeve can grow somewhat to accommodate larger meals. Proper aftercare and a dedication to portion control are important to continued success.
One risk of vertical sleeve gastrectomy is that sufficient of desired weight loss will not be achieved. While excellent results are reported in the majority of patients (a 50 percent reduction of weight at 12 to 18 months) as many as 10 percent of patients will not experience the desired weight loss. In these cases the usual course of action is to follow the vertical sleeve gastrectomy with a malabsorption surgery such as Roux-en-Y or gastric bypass.