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Sleeve Gastrectomy – Complications

Complications that can occur with sleeve gastrectomy surgery

Like any surgery, sleeve gastrectomy can carry complications. This is generally a low risk surgery. The rate of death is less than 1 in 100. Mostly the cause of death is due to some form of blood clot which is unexpected and sudden.

Below is the summary of the discussion of complications that Dr. Ken Wong at Central Coast Surgery has with all patients prior to surgery. The letter is sent to the referring GP and our dietician.

Discussion on complications

Dear Dr. GP,

Thank you for referring Jane Jones, age 63, with morbid obesity.

Her co-morbidities include: diabetes, joint issues and snoring.

Her current height and weight is respectively 1.65m and 130kg, with a body mass index of 50.

She has previously tried many diets and exercise strategies. Her weight always yo-yos.

She has visited my website www.centralcoastsurgery.com.au. She tells me that she has read up on all the pros and cons of the various types of weight loss surgery, especially gastric bands and sleeve gastrectomy.

She tells me that she has done a lot of reading on the complications of the various types of weight loss surgery.

After much discussion, she has decided to proceed with gastric sleeve surgery.

I have explained that 10% of patients will require further revisional surgery. I have detailed the risks of gastric sleeve surgery below:

  • Thrombo-embolic risk: cerebrovascular accident, acute myocardial infarction, lower limb venous thromobosis
  • Bleeding and gastric perforation intra-operatively requiring further surgery
  • Conversion to open operation, stoppage of operation especially if the liver is excessively large
  • Gastric staple line dehisence requiring further major reoperations, prolonged hospital stay, ventilations in ICU, death
  • Gastric stricture formation requiring repeated endoscopies and dilatations
  • Reflux requiring further surgery
  • Inadequate weight loss

I have also explained that weight loss surgery of any form, including sleeve gastrectomy, is not a magic solution. It needs to work in combination with careful diet and exercise. It also requires continued attendance in our clinic for regular follow up. Surgery is only a minor part of the entire process and the achievement of weight loss will require a close association between the patient and our multi-disciplinary team of dietician, bariatric physician and psychologist.

Dr. Ken Wong