Dr. Blackstone shares the possible complications of gastric bypass surgery.
Gastric bypass surgery is one of the procedures where we cut and divide the intestines and the stomach and so, because of that, we generally think of those type of procedures as being higher risk than some procedure that we don’t divide the stomach or GI tract.
The complications that can occur are pretty. can be very profound, but they only occur in about two percent of the people that have the surgery. Most people that have the surgery go through the surgery and the post-operative period very safely. Certainly death can occur from this procedure and it occurs in about one in 200 people, or about 0.5% of the people the have the procedure.
If you want to get an idea of a comparison, cardiac surgery is about three percent, so three people in 100. So it gives you a little bit of an idea. On the other hand, some of the other complications that can occur, things like blood clots in the legs or in the chest mostly occur because people aren’t doing as much walking as they should do after surgery. So a lot of that is going to be something you, the patient, can control.
Learning how to do really good deep breathing prior to surgery will help you prevent, help you from getting a pneumonia or some kind of infection in your lung after surgery. The other things that occur, you can always get an infection in one of the port sites or inside the abdomen, but those are rare.
Probably the most common things that occur after a gastric bypass that are a little bit later on, at about a month, some people get a stricture or a narrowing where the pouch and the intestine come together, and much later on, after they have lost all their weight, sometimes those spaces that we closed when we reconstructed the anatomy inside, they can open up because you’ve lost so much weight and intestines can get trapped up in there as they move around.
So, most good programs will coach you and teach you exactly how to recognize these problems and then you can be very proactive in getting help to get them solved.
About Dr. Robin Blackstone, M.D.:
Dr. Robin Blackstone is a surgeon and Director at the Scottsdale Bariatric Center and Medical Director at the Scottsdale Healthcare Bariatric Program. She is one of the few women surgeons in the world specializing in the Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass. With her practice focused entirely on Weight Loss Surgery, she is committed to providing patients with the very best care possible.