Anything we do in life can be associated with complications. Weight loss surgery is no different. Sleeve gastrectomy has a low complication rate. It is estimated that about one percent of patients undergoing sleeve gastrectomy will have a complication. This is similar to lap bands and lower than gastric bypass.
The complications of sleeve gastrectomy include:
Stricture formation: patients will find it hard to swallow and end up vomiting a lot. This problem can happen any time after sleeve gastrectomy. Usually, this responds to balloon dilatation. Very rarely, further revisional weight loss surgery is required.
Wound infection: the keyhole wounds can break open
Inadequate weight loss: some patients may need repeat sleeve gastrectomy or a conversion to gastric bypass after optimising diet and exercise
Death: very rare, can be due to unexpected events such as a heart attack or a blood clot
Excessive weight loss: very rare, often due to undiagnosed eating disorder such as anorexia or bullimia
Staple line leak: in about 1% of patients, this can be quite catastrophic, requiring ventilation in intensive care, major repeat operations by large incisions, prolonged stay in hospital
Malabsorption of Vitamin B12, iron, and folate
Worsening of reflux in 10% of patients. Sleeve gastrectomy is not recommended for patients with high or moderate grade Barrett’s esophagitis
Dr. Ken Wong has a very low complication rate associated with his all of his weight loss surgeries, including sleeve gastrectomy, lap band and gastric bypass.
The following video shows some equipment used for treating a sleeve gastrectomy stricture.