Complications Of Bypass Surgery

Health Information

Heart And Gastric Bypass Information (SCROLL DOWN FOR GASTRIC BYPASS)

Complications Of Bypass Surgery

Obesity is one of the major health problems today. It is a major risk factor for heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. For this reason, a number of people who are considered morbidly obese are opting for weight loss by bariatric surgery. A morbidly obese person is one whose BMI (body mass index) is above 40.

There are different types of weight loss surgery but bypass surgery is the most commonly performed type. This is because bypass surgery is considered to have fewer complications than the other types of bariatric surgeries. Other types include gastric banding, biliopancreatic diversion, endoluminal sleeve, jujonoileal bypass and gastric placation. However, there are some complications of bypass surgery.

The complications of bypass surgery will depend on a number of factors such as the actual bypass procedure carried out (it can be an open bypass surgery or a laparoscopic bypass surgery), bariatric surgeon’s skill level and other non-surgical factors.

These complications of bypass surgery can be categorized as short term and long term complications. Short term complications are those that occur during and soon after bypass surgery. A majority of the short term complications are the same experienced in other types of surgical procedures. Some of the complications are blood clots which may form in the legs (referred to as venous thrombosis) and move to the lungs (and cause a pulmonary embolism), pneumonia due to the stress put on the lungs by excess weight, infection in the incision area, opening of the incision and a leakage at the staple line (referred to as anastomotic leaks).

The long term complications of bypass surgery are possibly more serious than the short term ones. Some of the more common complications are:

Dumping syndrome – This is when digested food moves too fast through the small intestine. It commonly occurs after excessive intake of dairy products, sweets and high carbohydrate foods. It is called a syndrome because it has a number of symptoms which include heart palpitations, weakness, faintness, nausea and diarrhea.

Nutritional deficiencies – This is perhaps the most likely and most serious of all long term complications of bypass surgery. This is because bypass surgery results in malabsorption of certain vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12. Supplements are therefore necessary to prevent osteoporosis, anemia and other nutrition deficiency related conditions.

Other long term complications of bypass surgery are kidney stones, gall stones, hypoglycemia, gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), dyspepsia, bowel obstruction, bowel function changes, internal hernias, food intolerance such as lactose intolerance, hair loss and dehydration.

To reduce the risk or avoid the complications of bypass surgery, it is vital to attend all the post-surgery follow up checkups, stick to your bariatric surgery diet and make the requisite lifestyle changes.