What are the potential risks and complications of gastric bypass surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, potential risks and complications can occur with gastric bypass. We're committed to providing you with the information you need to make a well-informed decision about your surgery. Although these problems rarely occur, we want you to know the facts. Listed below are gastric bypass risks, bariatric surgery risks, and abdominal surgery risks.

If you're considering gastric bypass surgery, we encourage you to attend a free bariatric surgery informational seminar hosted by a bariatric clinic that offers the REALIZE® Solution for gastric banding, gastric bypass, and sleeve gastrectomy. You'll learn about bariatric surgery options, including gastric bypass risks and benefits, you'll meet bariatric team members who will support you before and long after your surgery, and you may also hear from patients who have had weight loss surgery. There's no pressure to make a commitment—and no better way to get the answers you're looking for. Of course, family and friends are welcome, too.

Use our seminar finder to locate a seminar in your area, and register to ensure that you have a seat, because seminars often fill up.

Want to talk it over? We're ready to help. Call us at 1-866-300-1818 if you have questions or concerns or want help finding a seminar near you.

Potential concerns and risks of gastric bypass:

  • A condition known as dumping syndrome can occur from eating high-fat, high-sugar foods. The results can be unpleasant and may include vomiting, nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness, and diarrhea. Some patients actually view this as a positive mechanism that prevents them from reverting back to unhealthy eating habits.
  • Patients must supplement their diet with a daily multivitamin and calcium. Some patients must take vitamin B12 and/or iron.
  • The stomach, duodenum, and parts of the small intestine cannot be seen easily using X-ray or endoscopy if there are problems after surgery such as ulcers, bleeding, or malignancy.
  • Dehiscence (separation of tissue that was stitched or stapled together)
  • Leaks from staple lines
  • Ulcers
  • Increased gas

Bariatric surgery risks

  • Abdominal hernia
  • Chest pain
  • Collapsed lung
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Enlarged heart
  • Gallstones, pain from passing a gallstone, inflammation of the gallbladder, or surgery to remove the gallbladder
  • Gastrointestinal inflammation or swelling
  • Stoma obstruction
  • Stretching of the stomach
  • Surgical procedure repeated
  • Vomiting and nausea

Note: Your weight, age and medical history play a significant role in determining your specific risks. Your surgeon can inform you about your specific weight loss surgery risks.

Risks associated with abdominal surgery

  • Bleeding
  • Complications due to anesthesia and medications
  • Death
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Injury to stomach, esophagus, or surrounding organs
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Shoulder pain
  • Stroke or heart attack

Note: Risks are associated with any type of surgery, including abdominal surgery. These risks are greater for individuals who suffer from obesity.

Mortality rates

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery 2004 Consensus Statement, the gastric bypass complication rate in the hands of a skilled surgeon is roughly 5%, and the operative mortality (death) rate is roughly 0.5%.21

The REALIZE Solution combines REALIZE mySUCCESS® with the use of select surgical instruments.