Is Gastric Bypass Surgery Worth the Risk?
Weight-Loss Surgery Has Its Problems but Can Be Lifesaving for Obese People
WebMD News Archive
The complications included a leak in the juncture attaching the
intestine to the stomach, which occurred in eight patients, and a disruption of
the staple line compartmentalizing the stomach, occurring in five patients.
Other complications of gastric bypass surgery included a blood clot in the
lung, blood infection, bleeding, pneumonia, bowel obstruction, and injury to
the esophagus. Merkle notes that these complications are more commonly seen
among severely obese patients having any type of surgery.
These findings should not discourage people from considering
gastric bypass surgery, but they should help them understand the serious nature
of the surgery, according to James A. Madura II, MD.
"People who are considering this surgery need to know that
the laparoscopic procedure is really the same one as the conventional
surgery," he tells WebMD. "The new surgery is less invasive, and it's
associated with fewer wound complications and a faster recovery, but the
surgery on the internal organs is the same. It's a major surgical
Madura, who was not involved in the study, is the director of
the bariatric surgery program at Rush University Medical Center, where he is an
assistant professor of surgery. He urged that patients who are considering
obesity surgery seek out an experienced surgeon. "Find someone who operates
in a multidisciplinary center that is committed to the care of obese
patients," he says.
"Gastric bypass surgery is not about losing weight the easy
way and looking good -- the operation is about improving health," says
Merkle. "There should be a long-term commitment by the patient. Eating
habits must change. For example, patients will need lifelong vitamin
supplements. Some patients lose weight, and then gain it back again. Not
everyone gets the results they want, but they all face the risk of these