Gastric Sleeve Complications and Possible Risks

All Surgeries carry risk, gastric sleeve complications happen both in the surgical theater and after the procedure itself. For patients who have a gastric weight loss surgery the dangerous period for complications to occur is during the days directly following the procedure. The first ten days are the most critical, with the associated risk of complications dropping substantially after that initial period.

The most common gastric sleeve complications, and the symptoms associated with them include:

Internal bleeding after gastric sleeve surgery

If a patient starts to bleed it will typically occur during the first 24- 36 hours.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in breathing (shortness of breath)
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Gray skin tone, pale skin complexion
  • Becoming dizzy when walking
  • Not passing urine can also be a cause for concern.
  • Bleeding through the rectum is common and will be used to help determine if it is normal or if there is a complication. This is also the reason the patient will be overnight in the hospital

Blood clots after a gastric sleeve surgery

Occurring in less than one percent of gastric sleeve complications, a blood clot is still a very real risk for obese patients undergoing any type of procedure. A blood clot breaking into the blood stream can be fatal. Blood thinners are given prior to surgery, and special leg fitting are often used during surgery to squeeze the legs. The most important prevention, however, is having the patient walk as soon as possible after the surgery. Even short walking distances are useful after surgery. The walking should take place as soon as two hours after the surgery but each patient is different and based on your circumstances will vary.

Stomach leaking after gastric sleeve

A very serious infection can result if a hole develops in the staples used during the surgery. Acids from the stomach can escape into the abdomens' cavity, affecting the other organs. This can lead to a condition known as Sepsis.(wide spread complications in the key body process caused by infections) In rare occasions multiple organs can fail, which can lead to death. This is, however, very unusual but you can see that monitoring of your overall body condition immediately following surgery is critical. If you feel anything is amiss, DO NOT HESITATITE TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR OR PROCEED TO AN EMENGENCY ROOM.

Common Gastric Sleeve complications, the Symptoms of the stomach leaking after a gastric procedure includes:

  • Running a fever for no apparent reason
  • Stomach pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Difficulty in catching your breath
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Feeling very weak, and ill

A stomach leak is an acute gastric sleeve complication because it is hard for the surgeon to confirm that there is a leak. Currently, no full proof test is available. The surgeon will look at all the patient symptoms and decide based on experience with the procedure. If the surgeon suspects the presence of a leak you will be brought back in for an additional surgery..

Gastric sleeve complication rates are truly low, but the risks are real, none the less. If you feel not well, even if it’s just a feeling that something might be wrong. If you have any of the above symptoms, do not hesitate to call your doctor or surgeon immediately or seek medical attention.


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