Gastric bypass surgery carries with it plenty of risks and these include the concern over an infection developing, bleeding and the worry that the patient may have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia that he is given.
Some risks of gastric bypass surgery are of a greater concern than are others. Possible risks of gastric bypass surgery include:
- There is a risk of death with gastric bypass surgery. This risk is associated with age, general level of health and a variety of other health conditions. It is estimated that approximately 1.5 percent of patients die after this surgery (which works out to be fewer than 3 in 200 people).
- Blood clots can develop in the legs and these are extremely dangerous. A blood clot can make its way to the lungs and once there take up residence in an artery of the lung and cause a pulmonary embolism. If not caught right away a blood clot can damage the tissue of the lungs and it can even cause death. Making use of leg wraps and doing plenty of walking can decrease the chance of a blood clot developing in the legs.
- Sometimes leaking occurs at one of the lines of staples and in this case the leak originates at a staple and then drips into the abdominal cavity or else the area where the intestine is attached. This is known as peritonitis. This is a very serious problem that generally occurs in the postoperative phase of the surgery. Peritonitis requires antibiotics immediately. Once antibiotics are started time is then needed for healing to take place. In the most serious cases, emergency surgery must be undertaken.
- Having extra weight on the body puts more stress and strain on the chest as well as the lungs, both before the operation as well as afterwards. This means that the risk of pneumonia is high for patients after they undergo the surgery.
- It is rare but sometimes patients of gastric bypass surgery end up experiencing a narrowing of the opening that exists between the small intestine and the stomach. When this does take place either corrective surgery may need to be undertaken or else an outpatient procedure. If the outpatient procedure is done a tube is passed into the mouth and down into the stomach. This tube is used to dilate or widen the opening that is narrower than it should be.
- Dumping syndrome is another risk of gastric bypass surgery. In this case the food that is in the stomach makes its passage too swiftly into the small intestine and the end result is stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, shakiness and sweating.
- The development of gallstones is another risk of this type of surgery. Approximately one-third of all patients end up with gallstones.
- Nutritional deficiencies in the form of vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies and problems such as anemia and osteoporosis happen to an estimated one-third of individuals who undergo gastric bypass surgery.
- Other risks of this surgery include a hernia developing at the site of the incision, a bleeding stomach ulcer and dehydration.