Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery
People who undergo gastric bypass surgery are at risk for:
- Pouch stretching (stomach gets bigger overtime, stretching back to its original size).
- Band erosion (the band closing off part of the stomach disintegrates).
- Breakdown of staple lines (band and staples fall apart, reversing the procedure).
- Leakage of stomach contents into the abdomen (this is dangerous because the acid can eat away other organs).
- Nutritional deficiencies causing health problems.
Gastric bypass surgery also may cause "dumping syndrome," whereby stomach contents move too rapidly through the small intestine. Symptoms include nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness, and, occasionally, diarrhea after eating, as well as the inability to eat sweets without becoming extremely weak. Gallstones can occur in response to rapid weight loss. They can be dissolved with medication taken after the surgery.
Complications From Nutritional Deficiencies
The limited absorption of vitamin B-12 and iron can cause anemia. The lack of calcium absorption can cause osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. People who undergo this procedure are required to take nutritional supplements that usually prevent these deficiencies.
The more extensive the gastric bypass surgery, the greater the risk for complications and nutritional deficiencies. People who undergo extensive bypasses of the normal digestive process require not only close monitoring, but also lifelong use of special foods and medications.
WebMD Medical Reference
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on May 26, 2012