Gastric bypass procedures help patients lose weight and keep off the weight by creating a smaller pocket in their stomach for food to be stored in. It is significantly smaller than their stomach, so they get fuller faster and eat less overall. While it is a common and successful procedure, there are some risks and complications to be aware of. Some complications are more common while others are extremely rare, but should still be considered before going through with surgery.
The overall safety of gastric bypass surgery, regardless of the type of surgery, is just as safe as other routinely performed surgeries. There are always factors that put someone more at risk following the procedure, but this is true of any type of routine procedure, such as gallbladder surgery, one of the most common procedures performed. Things like health status, age and weight affect the likelihood of risks and complications.
The first set of potential complications following gastric bypass surgery is the more serious risks. The first is dumping syndrome, which is one of the most worrisome. Dumping syndrome causes nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and fainting. It is the result of individuals eating high fat and high sugar foods after surgery. Other serious complications include infection, excessive bleeding and possible ulcers.
There are also many other possible complications from gastric bypass procedures specifically. These risks include chest pain, dehydration, enlarged heart, constipation or diarrhea, collapsed lung, abdominal hernia, gallstones, swelling or inflammation, obstruction, stretching of the stomach, and nausea and vomiting not related to dumping syndrome. While many of these complications can occur, they are generally temporary.
Other risks and complications of gastric bypass surgery have to do with being abdominal surgery itself. Any type of abdominal surgery has possible risks like deep vein thrombosis, fatality, complications from anesthesia, bleeding, injury to the stomach or surrounding organs, infection, pain, pneumonia, shoulder pain, stroke or heart attack, or pulmonary embolism. If you suspect any of these risks, contact your doctor immediately. One thing to note is that complications and risks from abdominal surgery are higher in individuals who are obese. Thus, gastric bypass surgery being performed on people morbidly obese already has some risks to consider before choosing this type of weight loss surgery.
Experienced surgeons will go over the patient’s entire medical history and let them know of their risks and potential complications that can occur. This is standard before gastric bypass surgery, and some patients are turned away if the risk is too high. By researching your physician and surgeon beforehand and knowing you found a reputable one, you can rest assured knowing they will give you the entire list of risks for your case specifically.