Dangers Of Gastric Bypass Surgery
Do the benefits of gastric bypass surgery outweigh the dangers of gastric bypass surgery? This somewhat controversial practice of weight loss has increased exponentially over the last decade. This increase has occurred in part because of the acceptance of the procedure, but it is not without risk. Gastric bypass surgery is a weight loss solution for the morbidly obese that involves making the stomach smaller. During this procedure, part of the intestine is also removed. No surgery comes without risk, and gastric bypass is certainly not an exception.
One of the biggest concerns or dangers of gastric bypass surgery are the intestines compromised ability to absorb sufficient amounts of food and consequentially, vitamins. During this surgery, surgeons use staples or bands to create a small pouch in the stomach, attaching a portion of the small intestine to it. This attachment allows the food to bypass the rest of the stomach, reducing calorie intake. Unfortunately if caloric intake is reduced so is the nutrient absorption. This condition can lead to serious nutrient deficiencies. Deficiencies in nutrients such as, vitamin B-12, iron and calcium, can easily be caused by this weight loss surgery. Being deficient in these nutrients increases a person’s likelihood of anemia, bone loss, and other health problems. It is essential that following gastric bypass surgery, the patient takes a multivitamin daily along with eating a healthy diet.
Another one of the dangers of gastric bypass surgery is intestinal leakage. Just the sound of this is threatening and disturbing. Anastamosis is a medical term meaning surgical connection. In bypass surgery, it is referring to the connection between the stomach and the bowel. When these two organs are connected, the surgeon will inevitably and purposefully make a hole in the bowel wall. This connection should be a watertight connection; it should be leak proof. The body has remarkable healing abilities and the surgeon relies on that natural ability to eventually form a leak proof seal. The trouble or danger begins when this “seal” does not form as it should. When this happens, the fluid that is in the intestine, the bowel, will find its way into the stomach and an infection will occur. This would have to be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are generally effective in treating these infections but when they fail, a revisional surgery is required.
One of the final dangers of gastric bypass surgery I will mention is dumping syndrome. Rapid gastric emptying is another name for dumping syndrome. Simply stated, this is when the undigested food in your stomach is “dumped” into your small intestine too quickly. This may cause cramps and possibly nausea. It is typically not necessary to seek medical attention for dumping syndrome; it is just inconvenient and bothersome. However, in more serious cases, medical attention and even surgery is necessary.
As with any operation, there are potential dangers involved with gastric bypass surgery. Most of the dangers can be controlled with disciplined lifestyle choices and following medical advice, however. The patient and his or her doctor should discuss whether or not the benefits outweigh the dangers of gastric bypass surgery. At present, gastric bypass surgery is one of the most effective weight loss methods for the morbidly obese; but the risks from this surgery should be realized and understood.
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