Discover the number one risk of gastric bypass surgery in Kingston, New York

Considering gastric bypass surgery for weight reduction? Before you dive in, make sure you are fully informed of the risks of bariatric surgery.  It could save your life.

First, the basics.  Gastric bypass surgery is an operation to reduce the size of your stomach.  During the operation the surgeon severs the stomach from the closest part of the small intestine (called the gastric antrum).  The surgeon reduces the size of your stomach and removes a part of your small intestine and then sutures together the stomach with the small intestine.  With a new, smaller stomach, you feel full much sooner while eating and you eat less.  It's that simple.

Not everyone qualifies for a gastric bypass.  For starters, your body mass index ("BMI") must be 40 or higher (you can get your body mass index by checking your weight against your height against a BMI chart) and even then, you do not qualify unless you have been unable to reduce your weight after many attempts at dieting.  Gastric bypass surgery is serious stuff. 

The Number One Risk of Gastric Bypass Surgery

When all else fails and you are ready for bariatric surgery, you should become fully informed about the risks.  The number one risk of gastric bypass surgery is a rupture of the anastomosis

What is that, you ask?  Let's break it down.  The anastomosis is the suture line where the stomach and the small intestine are stitched together; the "anastomosis" is just a fancy medical term for the stitches that hold your stomach and small intestine together.

After a gastric bypass operation, you will only be allowed to have a liquid diet for the first 3-4 days. You will not be allowed to eat hard foods because of the risk that the anastomosis (or suture line) will rupture.  When the suture line ruptures or tears, your abdominal contents empty out into your peritoneal cavity and you are in serious risk of dying within 24-48 hours.  This is a medical emergency and requires immediate surgery to save your life!

A rupture of the suture line generally tends to occur within the first 28 days after the operation.  During those first few weeks, the suture line is not yet firmly melded together and a partial separation of the suture line (called a "dehiscence of the anastomosis"--don't you hate those fancy medical terms) can lead to a complete rupture of the anastomosis.  Now, you're in serious trouble!

What are the warning signs of a rupture of the anastomosis?

When food is empties through the tear in the suture line, it goes through your peritoneal cavity.  In your stomach and small intestine, food is good, but in your peritoneal cavity, food and drink is toxic and causes severe abdominal pain.  The severe abdominal pain is known as peritonitis.  Peritonitis is the most intense pain you have ever experienced in your life--it's kind of hard to miss.

It's real simple: if you have severe abdominal pain (or even moderate abdominal pain) within the first few days and weeks after a gastric bypass operation, go to the Emergency Room immediately!  Better yet, if you are still in the hospital after your operation, make sure your surgeon is aware of your abdominal pain.  An immediate surgery to repair the tear in the suture line will make the difference between life and death.

If a tear in the suture line is suspected, there is a simple barium swallow test that can be done to determine if there is a leak in the suture line. If the barium swallow reveals that fluid is leaking through the suture line, the tear ("dehiscence") must be surgically repaired before it gets bigger.

What are the chances of a rupture of the anastomosis?

Ready for some good news?  The risk of a rupture of the anastomosis after gastric bypass surgery is about one to two percent.  Not bad odds, right?  When you weigh the benefits and risks of bariatric surgery, the surgery is a no-brainer for those who have tried every diet fad imaginable.  Don't let the one or two percent risk of a rupture of the anastomosis stop you from having this surgery.

But keep in mind: if you have a gastric bypass surgery, be on the alert for unusual abdominal pain after the surgery.  A rupture of the anastomosis is an emergency medical condition that requires immediate surgery.  Make sure you discuss the risk of a rupture of the anastomosis with your surgeon and what you can do to reduce the risk of this life-threatening complication.

Have more questions?  Here's what you can do

If you have more questions or want more information about bariatric surgery, I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 866-889-6882.  You can always request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, by visiting the home page of my website, at www.protectingpatientrights.com.