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.