According to Thinner Times, 1 out of every 350 people die from complications related to gastric bypass surgery. That is less than .003%.
And while this admittedly low number doesn’t seem like a lot to worry about on the surface, consider for a moment that 5%, or nearly 18 of those 350 people experience serious complications within two months of the surgery.
Another 10 percent, or 35 out of 350, experience minor complications requiring medical attention. When these numbers are considered, about 53.5 out of 350 people will experience some difficulty as a result of the surgery. And while the prognosis is mostly good, it’s not worry free.
Bottom line: lifestyle choices must still be evaluated and controlled even after the operation is performed, and the patient must continue to monitor his or her condition long after leaving the hospital.
With this said, here are two of the most common ailments likely to arise as a result of gastric bypass surgery:
During surgery, a connection is made between stomach and bowel called an anastomosis (or between two sections of bowel). The goal is to link two organs by staples or sutures, thus creating a water-tight connection, which leaves a hole in the bowel wall. After that, it’s up to the body to seal the deal by healing itself. Failing to do so will often result in gastrointestinal fluid leaking into the abdomen. The body then becomes susceptible to infection. Leakage usually occurs at the stomach-bowel connection. Treatments vary from antibiotics to a second operation.
Scar tissue is formed on the anastomosis as it starts to heal. Through shrinkage, a smaller hole may develop over time (called a “stricture”). As food passes through the anastomosis, it typically keeps the opening stretched to an appropriate diameter. But sometimes it can become inflamed and if there is a greater distance between healing and stretching, the opening can become too small for even liquids to pass through it. This occurrence requires an additional medical procedure, called gastroendoscopy. Gastroendoscopy is administered by essentially inflating a balloon inside the connection. It’s a tricky procedure, and not always effective the first time around. It’s common for a patient to require several attempts before getting it right.
Gastric Bypass Requires a Lifestyle Change
If you are considering gastric bypass surgery, make sure you realize that it is not a quick fix as many mistakenly believe it to be. It’s a surgical procedure that requires time for healing and an assertive effort to maintain control of your weight through improved eating and exercise habits. It is also potentially harmful, especially if you’re unwilling to make those changes. Unfortunately, too many are.
There is something to be said for working weight off naturally. When you’ve put the necessary work in to your diet and exercise – as you will have to anyway – you tend to respect your body more after you’ve gotten things under control. Indulging in the “quick fix” of gastric bypass surgery is often times not enough incentive to patients for a lasting lifestyle change.
And nothing can be more discouraging than accepting the costs and the risks of a procedure like gastric bypass, only to find you’re right back where you started from a few months down the road. Whether you choose to undergo the procedure or not, start making wise choices now with your diet and exercise. You’ll be glad you did.