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Risks of Gastric Sleeve:

Gastric sleeve patients enjoy a straightforward procedure. However, while the procedure’s benefits usually outweigh its surgical risks, there are considerations to be made before undergoing this or any other weight loss surgery. As with any other surgery, risk can be mitigated to a degree by choosing a surgeon that is skilled and experienced in the procedure.

Please do not use the following as a comprehensive list of the risks of gastric sleeve surgery. Every patient will experience different risks and have a unique recovery. Only your surgeon can give you a complete risk profile after pre-operative testing and a physical exam.

General Surgical Risks:

Any surgical procedure carries some degree of risk. Obese patients, who tend to be in poor health, may be at heightened risk of infection and other post-operative complications. Further, obesity-related diseases such as type-2 diabetes may complicate recovery. Other surgical risk may include: hernias, swelling in the gastrointestinal system, ulcers, bleeding, stroke, heart attack, blood clots, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia and death.

To learn more about the risks of any surgery please speak to your surgeon. They will also be able to explain risks unique to your particular circumstances.

Gastric Sleeve Risks and Considerations:

  • Sleeve leakage is a serious complication after surgery that may require emergency care and additional surgery. Leaks can become a chronic problem and may be very difficult to treat, and can even lead to death
  • In rare cases the gastric sleeve may stenose or twist and if revision fails may have to be converted to a gastric bypass
  • In approximately 90% of cases, a sleeve gastrectomy cures gastro-esophageal reflux, which is commonly associated with obese patients, however sleeve gastrectomy causes reflux in about 10% of cases.  Hiatal hernias which are also common causes of reflux can be found in up to 75% of bariatric patients.  Your surgeon may repair hiatal hernias during the primary bariatric procedure to help reduce the incidence of reflux post operatively
  • The stomach pouch could stretch over time, causing some weight re-gain. There are various minimally invasive procedures to correct it
  • This procedure is not reversible or adjustable
  • Gastric sleeve patients must still follow a strict diet and exercise regime to be successful

Complication rates are relatively low and can be minimized when surgery is being performed by a skilled bariatric surgeon.

Ways to Minimize Risk:

  • Your surgeon should be very experienced in the gastric sleeve procedure.
  • Stop smoking well before undergoing surgery.
  • Try to lose some weight before surgery

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