As with any bariatric surgery option, there are potential risks and complications associated with a Duodenal switch surgery. However because the duodenal switch is one of the most complex surgery options there is an increased rate of complications that come along with it. A 2011 study found that patients with a BMI below 50 experienced a serious complication at a 7% rate.
As with all bariatric surgeries, patients with a higher BMI entering surgery were more likely to experience complications afterwards. In addition, many complications post duodenal switch surgery are found to be due to patient negligence and could have been prevented if proper steps were taken.
Due to the fact that the duodenal switch procedure has malabsorptive properties to achieve weight loss, one of the more common and serious side effects is the potential for vitamin deficiency. Because your body will not be absorbing as much as before, you will run the risk of not taking in the basic vitamins that your body requires. These vitamins include Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Iron and Calcium. Most patients will need to take a multivitamin to ensure they are getting the vitamins that their body needs.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is another potential side effect of duodenal switch surgery. Gastroesophageal Reflux occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus causing a burning sensation. Many patients will have symptoms of GERD before surgery as it is commonly attributed to being overweight. Typically patients complaining of this will decrease in the long term as weight is lost.
Leaks or Blood Clots
As with any surgery that involves stitching of the stomach or intestines, there is the potential for leaks. In addition, bleeding or blood clots are a potential risk. This all is due to the complex nature of this surgery.
Chronic Diarrhea or Flatulence
Your surgeon will be shortening the length of your digestive tract which can lead to more frequent diarrhea or flatulence. This can be controlled by watching your diet and the amount of carbohydrates and fats you are taking in.
Spleen or Liver Injury
There is the potential that during the procedure, the spleen or liver can be injured. In some instance the spleen will have to be removed.
Additional Risks and Complications
Besides what has already been discussed here related to duodenal switch surgery there are potential complications and risks that you should be aware of that affect all bariatric surgeries in general. These include both short and long term complications that you should be discussing with your doctor.