Seriously obese patients who do not respond to non-surgical weight loss methods can greatly benefit from undergoing gastric sleeve surgery.
Gastric sleeve (medically known as sleeve gastrectomy) involves removal of about 85 percent of the stomach in a vertical fashion, leaving a small portion of the stomach that takes the shape of a tube or sleeve. None of the intestines are rerouted in this procedure.
This surgical intervention for weight loss is increasing in popularity with morbidly obese patients, thanks to the development of laparoscopic (minimally invasive) techniques that have made this relatively new surgery a safe and effective procedure.
Gastric sleeve is a relatively safer procedure, but, like with all other major surgical procedures, there are some potentials risks, side effects and complications that may arise after a successful operation.
Potential Complications and Risks
The most common complications following gastric sleeve surgery are infections, pneumonia, bleeding, blood clots, acid reflex and dumping syndrome.
Vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and abdominal cramping are some other common problems that can be experienced by gastric sleeve patients post surgery. These discomforts generally are short term and typically resolve once you become acclimated to the changed anatomy of the stomach.
Some serious complications associated with gastric sleeve surgery include:
Stomach stretching that may loosen or separate staples
Risk of leakage at the staple closure site
The improper diet or overeating may lead staples to open causing stomach acid to enter the abdominal cavity
Heavy internal bleeding may occur as the result of the stomach pouch extending
Severe post-surgical wound infection can occur when bacteria enter the body through the surgical cuts and infect the wound and the surrounding tissue
Wound infection may cause damage to intestines or other surrounding organs
Bowel obstruction, deep-vein thrombosis (a blood clot in deep vein) and respiratory problems may occur after the surgery
Another potential complication associated with this type of weight loss surgery is nutritional deficiencies such as low hemoglobin levels (anemia), osteoporosis, loss of muscle tone, and metabolic bone disease.
If you’re seriously considering gastric sleeve surgery, it is important to understand the possible risks, complications and side effects associated with the surgery as well as your candidacy for the surgery before deciding to have it.
Sometimes risks and complications may arise several days, weeks or even months after the operation. In order to reduce the risks patients are highly advised to follow their bariatric surgeons’ aftercare instruction and recommendations.