After Weight Loss Surgery

Any surgery has risks. Weight loss surgery is no different. There are complications that can happen with either gastric bypass or gastric banding, and there are complications unique to each operation. It is impossible to predict every possible complication of surgery, but listed below are some of the more common or more severe risks. Fortunately, the severe complications are far less common than the mild ones.

Complications from Gastric Bypass, Gastric Banding or Sleeve Gastrectomy

  • Death, bleeding, infection, stroke, heart attack
  • Anesthesia complication, allergic reaction, arrhythmia
  • Blood clots: deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE)
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Nutrient deficiencies, failure of weight loss
  • Wound problems: hernia, infection, pain. Flatulence, diarrhea, constipation
  • Temporary hair loss
  • Loose skin after weight loss
  • Gallstones

Gastric Bypass Specific Complications

  • Leaks: from a staple line or anastomosis
  • Stricture or stenosis of the stoma (outlet of the pouch)
  • Bowel obstruction, internal hernia
  • Nutrient deficiencies: Iron, Calcium, vitamin B12
  • Ulcers
  • Hypoglycemia

Sleeve Gastrectomy Complications

  • Leaks from the staple line
  • Stenosis or stricture (narrowing) of the stomach
  • Nutrient deficiencies: Iron, Calcium, vitamin B12

Lap-Band® Specific Complications

  • Slippage of band
  • Erosion of band into stomach
  • Device problems: breakage or leakage of tubing, access port problems
  • Infection of the port or other parts
  • Esophageal dilatation

Individuals at Increased Risk

Certain patient factors do make surgery riskier for others. These include age over fifty-five, body mass index (BMI) over fifty, previous gastric or weight loss surgery (banding, stapling, Nissen fundoplication), and males with a BMI over fifty. Smoking puts you at more risk for complications before and after surgery.

Overview of the three surgeries:

  Risks Weight Loss Laparoscopic Device Reversible Long-Term Results
Lap-Band® medium good yes yes yes unknown
Gastric Bypass medium high very good yes no sort of good
Sleeve Gastrectomy medium high very good yes no no unknown