Gastric Bypass Complications

Gastric bypass surgery complications can be broken down by short term and long term complications. In the short term after gastric bypass surgery there are risks for pneumonia, blood clots, infections and potential leaks in the stomach. These complications are due to the surgery itself as well as the body reacting to the massive change that has taken place to the stomach and GI system.

Long term gastric bypass surgery complications are potential (but not likely) ulcers, gallstones, nutritional deficiency, hernias and “dumping syndrome”.

Dumping Syndrome

The “Dumping syndrome” which is one of the most common side effects of gastric bypass surgery is when the contents of the stomach move too rapidly through the small intestine causing nausea, weakness, fainting, perspiration and sometimes diarrhea. Typically many people are unable to tolerate certain foods, especially those that are high in sugar or fat. These foods are often linked to “dumping syndrome” and avoiding these foods can help lessen or even eliminate the possibility of this side effect. Fortunately, “dumping syndrome” is one of the least dangerous complications in terms of impact on your long term health outlook.

Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is a potential complication due to the fact that the duodenum is bypassed during this procedure and it is in the duodenum that much of your iron is absorbed here. This is more of potential complication with women than it is with men. This issue is best handled by taking an iron supplement or by making sure you eat foods that are high in iron.

Stomach or Intestinal Leaking

In rare cases, patients may have leakage either from the stomach or from the intestines. This is due to improper sealing and can lead to serious infections. This is something that is monitored very closely, especially immediately after the surgery has been completed.

Mortality Rate

Gastric bypass surgery has a mortality rate of about 1/350. This mortality rate is in line with other major surgical procedures that are performed on severely obese people who potentially have multiple obesity related health conditions. People that are at higher risk are usually those who have more severe health conditions or are older in age. The most common cause of death as a result of gastric bypass surgery are pulmonary embolism or an infection located at the site of stomach stapling or sutures.

Additional Risks and Complications

There are potential complications and risks that you should be aware of that affect all bariatric surgeries in general beyond what we have highlighted above specific to gastric bypass. These include both short and long term complications that you should be discussing with your doctor.