What are the Long-Term Side Effects of Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Chronic complications of gastric bypass surgery can include stenoses, internal hernias, gastrogastric fistulas, gallstones, marginal ulcers, emptying syndrome, and nutritional deficiencies. Rapid weight loss after gastric bypass can lead to three main issues. Firstly, it increases the risk of developing gallstones. If these are painful (which occurs in around 1 in 10 cases), the gallbladder may need to be removed later.

Secondly, rapid weight loss can cause temporary hair thinning that usually lasts from 3 to 6 months. To reduce this, it is important to maintain a high protein intake and use preventive measures such as biotin supplements. Finally, weight loss can result in some loose skin in most people. This can occur in the belly, upper arms and thighs, or above the breasts. Plastic surgery is usually the most effective way to treat this problem.

Some patients may also experience psychological disorders due to loose skin or other changes in their relationships. Excess bacteria in the intestines is a rare complication of gastric bypass surgery. This bacteria can consume the nutrients the body needs and cause bloating, cramps, gas and diarrhea. During gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon reduces the size of the stomach and reconnects the small intestine to the new stomach, bypassing the original stomach and several feet of the small intestine. A study found that 71 percent of gastric bypass patients developed intolerance to fried foods, pastries, and carbonated drinks. Before and after gastric sleeve surgery, there are considerations to consider that can help prevent complications.

Before surgery, patients spend months learning about the dietary and lifestyle changes they should adopt after surgery to mitigate the effects of changes in their bodies during surgery. Failure to follow the diet and exercise plan recommended by your healthcare provider is another reason you may regain weight in the years following gastric sleeve surgery. However, gastric sleeve surgery can cause medical complications that can last a long time after surgery. It found that two years after surgery, patients with gastric bypass were much more likely to suffer from digestive problems such as indigestion, diarrhea and flatulence, as well as not tolerating certain foods than the control group who did not undergo surgery. Heartburn and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are common complications of gastric sleeve surgery and may occur even one year after the procedure. The following list is not all inclusive but it briefly describes some of the risks associated with gastric bypass and gastric cuff. While there are ways to reduce these risks associated with gastric sleeve surgery, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider about all possible complications before deciding to go ahead.

Rarely, gastric bypass complications such as an overgrowth of small intestine bacteria can cause gastrointestinal problems. However, a gastric sleeve may cause problems that persist even years after surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are concerned about gastric sleeve complications that may occur after a year or more. It seems to be more common after laparoscopic bariatric surgery so most surgeons now routinely close this area with sutures at the time of the original bypass to prevent it from happening. Most people report positive results in gastric sleeve surgery up to 10 years after the procedure and beyond. In the case of laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgeries which are usually performed with a gastric sleeve it is less common.

Genevieve Szulimowski
Genevieve Szulimowski

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