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  • Center for Bariatric Surgery: A Program of Rhode Island and The Miriam Hospitals

  • The trade-off of having a weight loss procedure of any type is the complications associated with it. The incidence of death from the operation itself is approximately 1% or less, and 25-30% of patients will develop some form of complication after the operation. Fortunately, most of these complications are minor, consisting of wound infections, respiratory problems, hernias in the incision and vomiting.

    Complications of gastric bypass:

    • Anastomotic leak
    • Micronutrient deficiencies
    • Internal hernia
    • Marginal ulcer
    • Stomal stenosis

    Long-term complications: vitamin and mineral deficiencies

    The long-term complications of this operation are related to vitamins and minerals. Approximately 50-60% of patients will develop iron deficiency, 75% will develop low vitamin B-12 levels  and 40% will develop low folate levels. These deficiencies, either alone or in combination, result in a 30-40% incidence of anemia which can be serious at times. In order to correct for these problems, patients are supplemented with daily iron, multivitamins, B-12 and folate pills. The addition of these vitamins and minerals eliminate these complications for the most part.

    Complications of BPD (biliopancreatic diversion):

    • Diarrhea and foul smelling gas, with an average of 3-4 loose bowel movements a day
    • Malabsorption of fat soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K)
    • Vitamin A deficiency, which causes night blindness
    • Vitamin D deficiency, which causes osteoporosis
    • Iron deficiency -a similar incidence with the RYGBP
    • Protein-calorie malnutrition, which might require a second operation to lengthen the common channel
    • Ulcers (less frequent with DS)
    • Dumping syndrome (less frequent with DS)

    Complications of gastric banding:

    • Migration of implant (band erosion, band slippage, port displacement)
    • Tubing-related complications (port disconnection, tubing kinking)
    • Band leak
    • Port-site infection
    • Esophageal spasm
    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
    • Inflammation of the esophagus or stomach

    Vertical sleeve gastrectomy
    Anastomotic Leak

    Since this procedure is relatively new, long-term risk and benefits are not known.

    Risk of all Abdominal Surgery:

    • Bleeding
    • Pain
    • Shoulder pain (related to microscopic surgery)
    • Pneumonia
    • Complications due to anesthesia and medications
    • Injury to stomach, esophagus, or surrounding organs
    • Infection
    • Deep vein thrombosis
    • Pulmonary embolism
    • Death