Gastric Bypass Complications

Bypass Risks

Gastric Bypass Health Information

There is no denying that obesity is a serious problem these days. It is often a sign of poor diet and lack of exercise, which are usually indicators of poor overall health, and it can lead to a number of serious, potentially fatal health problems. Obesity is even being referred to as an epidemic in the news these days.

Considering the way the media and much of our culture treats obesity, it is not surprising that so many people are turning to their doctors for things like prescription drugs and surgeries to cure their obesity. According to the American Public Health Association, the number of American adults who have had gastric bypass surgery increased between 1998 and 2002 from 7 in every 100,000 to 38.6.

On one hand, it is clear that people are becoming more concerned about their obesity, and that is a good thing. On the other hand, however, it may not be such a good thing that so many more people are choosing gastric bypass surgery. While the surgery does help a lot of people, gastric bypass complications are very common, and they are often very serious, causing death in at least 2% of patients, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

There is a wide range of bypass complications that can occur. Since the surgery involves your stomach and bowels, which handle a lot of bacteria, post-operative infection is very common. Also, if your surgery is not done perfectly or if your incisions heal poorly, you could end up with a hernia, which may require more surgery and an even longer recovery.

Because of the risk of pulmonary embolus (the blocking of a main artery in your lung) during abdominal surgery, most gastric bypass patients are put on medication to thin the blood. Because of these medications, gastric bypass complications often include hemorrhaging, or internal bleeding, which can be life-threatening, especially if it goes unnoticed.

When it comes down to it, the connection between your bowels and your stomach is simply not an easy connection to reestablish once it has been severed, as it has to be during a gastric bypass. A surgeon must be very careful when stitching or stapling this connection not to make it too tight or too loose. Scar tissue will cause the hole to shrink, and if it shrinks too much, you will not be able to digest properly. On the other hand, if there are any holes, you will be at risk for infection.

Other complications include things related to the changes in your metabolism a gastric bypass will cause. For example, many people experience what is called “dumping syndrome,” a symptom of which is diarrhea resulting from the consumption of a food your newly designed stomach can no longer handle.

All things considered, gastric bypass complications could at times outweigh the benefits of having the surgery in all but the most extreme cases of obesity in which more healthy and natural methods of losing weight have already failed. Give diet and exercise an honest try before even considering surgery, or bypass complications may leave you worse off than you were to start with. If you do decide on surgery, don't forget to follow your bypass diet plan to the letter as it can make a big difference in your long term health goals.