Gastric Bypass Complications
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A complication is an unexpected medical or psychological event occurring after surgery. Every effort is taken to prevent complications, but because of the magnitude of gastric bypass and the many medical problems of many of the patients, complications do occur.
Gastric Bypass Mortality
The mortality rate after gastric bypass is 0.18% or about 1 out of 350 people (1/350). The mortality rate for gastric bypass is similar to the mortality rate for other major general surgical procedures done on a group of patients who are obese and have multiple health problems. Risk of dying from any procedure depends on the general health, age, and weight of the individual. Clearly people who are older, have more severe medical problems, and are heavier are much higher risk than younger, healthier, less obese counterparts. The most common causes of death after gastric bypass include pulmonary embolism and infection secondary to staple line or suture line leaks.
Early complications (within the first 2 months after surgery)
5% of patients have some sort of significant complication. About 10% have some sort of minor problem that requires attention.
Anastamotic (staple line) leak
Arrythmia (cardiac irregularity)
Blood clots to lungs (pulmonary embolism)
Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
Incision infection, major
Incision infection, minor
Incision opening (fascial dehiscence)
Late complications (after first two months after surgery)
1 - 3%
Anastamotic stricture (last 300 patients)
1 - 3%
Anemia, iron deficiency
Rare if iron replaced, common if not
Rare if B12 replaced, 30% if no B12 supplement
Rare for laparoscopic cases, 10 - 20 for open cases
Psychological challenges (significant)
Small bowel obstruction (due to adhesion or internal hernia
1 - 3%
This list is indicated to illustrate the type and frequency of complications following gastric bypass in our practice. The figures are comparable to nationally published figures. Some are a little higher and some are a little lower. Since most of the events are very rare, it is very difficult to tell small differences between one surgeon's series and another's with any statistical certainty. This list does not include all possible complications.