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  3. Gastric Bypass Risks and Complications

Gastric Bypass Risks and Complications


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(Source: JAMA)

According to a study 1 by WebMD, about 10% of gastric bypass patients face postoperative complications that are usually slight. There are certain lifestyles changes that one can make to minimize bariatric surgery risks.

Gastric Bypass Risks and Complications

Bowel Obstruction due to Internal Hernia

One of the most common complications after laparoscopic gastric bypass is bowel obstruction due to internal hernia.2


  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Avoid straining during urination or bowel movements


Leaking of gastric juices or acids through the staple line or sutures is another problem that may be encountered after a gastric bypass procedure. Gastric leaks may cause harm to nearby organs and tissues.

According to a January 2009 study approved by the ASMBS Executive Council, “gastrointestinal leak after gastric bypass is a known complication with a reported incidence between 1 and 5% in large case series of open and laparoscopic gastric bypass.”3


  • Using the right size of staples.
  • Over-sewing either by hand or stapling devices.
  • Use of biological hemostatic or coagulating agents to prevent or stop leakage.

Ulcers/Blood Clots

In rare cases, gastric bypass patients may also experience ulcers in the stomach or intestinal lining as well blood clots in the lungs or legs. 


  • Ulcers in the stomach or small intestine can be cured by antibiotics.
  • Blood clots in the lungs or abdomen can be cured by anticoagulant medicines.


Gallstones are clumps or chunks of cholesterol and other similar matter that deposit in the gallbladder while or after quick and or significant weight loss.

According to a report by Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, nearly 33% of individuals who have had gastric bypass develop gallstones.4


According to Cleveland Clinic, bile salts supplements should be taken for 6 months after the surgery to prevent Gallstones.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Since gastric bypass involves manipulating the gut, it leaves the body deprived of essential vitamins and minerals. According to a 2005 study by Bloomberg and colleagues published in the Obesity Surgery journal,5 gastric bypass may result in deficiency of:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Folate
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D

Nutritional DeficiencyThis may further result in:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Wernicke encephalopathy
  • Anemia
  • Peripheral neuropathy 


Surgical Site Infection

A study conducted in 2010 among 115 bariatric patients says that the chance of wound infection on the incisions is very less.5 If the procedure has been done laparoscopically, the chance of an infection is even lesser. However, 9 out of 10 people do not experience any such complications.6

A sprinkle of Weight Loss Motivation to keep you going

Bariatric Surgery Motivation


  1. What Is Gastric Bypass Surgery? – 2012; Andrew Seibert http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/what-is-gastric-bypass-surgery
  2. De Bakker, J. K. et al. “Gastric Bypass and Abdominal Pain: Think of Petersen Hernia.” JSLS : Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons 16.2 (2012): 311–313. PMC. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3481246/ 
  3. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery’s Position Statement on “Prevention and Detection of Gastrointestinal Leak” Published May 2009 https://asmbs.org/resources/prevention-and-detection-of-gastrointestinal-leak
  4. Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, Cleveland Clinic https://weightloss.clevelandclinic.org/images/file/Risks%20and%20complications%20of%20bariatric%20surgery.pdf
  5. Bloomberg RD, Fleishman A, Nalle JE, Herron DM, Kini S. Nutritional deficiencies following bariatric surgery: what have we learned [review] Obes Surg. 2005;15:145-154.
  6. Elbahrawy A, Bougie A et al. “Medium to Long-Term Outcomes of Bariatric Surgery in Older Adults with Super Obesity” Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases: Official Journal of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery 2018 Apr;14(4):470-476 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29249586 
  • What qualifies you for gastric bypass surgery?
  • Can you die from gastric bypass surgery?
  • What percentage of people regain weight after gastric bypass surgery?
  • What are the side effects of gastric bypass surgery?
  • What are the long-term results of bariatric surgery?

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