Gastric sleeve surgery: side effects and risks

FlyToTreat/Articles/ Gastric sleeve surgery: side effects and risks

Gastric sleeve surgery is the most common weight loss surgery with world appeal. The advantages of this surgery are that it is entirely safe, and an increasing number of people are eager to do it. But every surgery might have some complications and risks, and gastric sleeve surgery is no exception. About 20% of patients can experience complications after gastric sleeve or gastrectomy. These side effects can be experienced during surgery, recovery, or even years after surgery. The severity of the side effects can vary from surgical complications or lack of weight loss. Keep in mind that if you do this surgery in the best countries for gastric sleeve surgery, you can be sure that the complications will be as low as possible. In this article, we are bound to discuss gastric sleeve side effects and gastric sleeve complications. On top of that, we will discuss the prevention of these complications and side effects.

What are the side effects of gastric sleeve surgery?

As we mentioned, several side effects occur during and after surgery, including long-term complications. Some are not severe and can be treated well; however, some are not easy to treat.

Gastric sleeve risks during surgery

Some gastric sleeve risks can occur during surgery; we will discuss them in this part. It includes bleeding, pain, infection, blood clots, staple line leak, bad reaction to anesthesia, and potential risks of any surgery.

Gastric sleeve side effects after surgery

Some patients can experience complications right after surgery or months after that. Some side effects can be improved during recovery, but some can last long.

  • Indigestion

Indigestion is one of the gastric sleeve side effects that are common among patients. The reason for this complication can lie in the fact that patients have a smaller stomach size. Another reason might be related to the fact dad the vape food moves through the digestive system change after surgery.

  • Nausea

Nausea is one of the common gastric sleeve risks and side effects. Most patients experience and a high percentage of them noticed that these complications could be improved during recovery. Still, some reported that this complication could be seen months or longer after surgery. The reason behind this side effect is unclear. Some experts believe it can be because of the longer stereo food in the stomach. Fortunately, there are so many nausea medications that people can use, and they are helpful.

  • Diarrhea

Having diarrhea after surgery is not weird. In most patients it is gastric sleeve surgery side effects, and it might be because of an imbalance in bacteria in the gut. The number of helpful bacteria in the gut can change after surgery, and as a result, people experience diarrhea. The existence of undigested nutrients in the small intestine might be another reason for diarrhea after gastric sleeve surgery. Malnutrition or dehydration can be experienced after diarrhea. Remember that if diarrhea exists for a long time, please talk to your doctor or specialize in digestive disorders.

  • Sagging skin

The stomach will stretch after patients gain weight. Another gastric sleeve side effects is sagging skin, and it is common after all types of weight loss surgeries. This can be experienced months after surgery. Another surgery can remove excess skin. The surgeon usually waits until you lose all the extra weight and have a stable weight.

  • Stomach obstruction

Another side effects of gastric sleeve surgery is the time the stomach outlet narrows, and it can make in digestive problems. The patient is not able to digest food accurately. This complication usually happens six weeks after surgery and can block your stomach. Surgeons can fix this problem by stretching the narrowest part.

What are the long-term side effects of the gastric sleeve?

Some gastric sleeve side effects can happen a year or more after surgery. They can be either mild or severe. It's recommended to talk to your surgeon about your fears of gastric sleeve complications for a long time and be sure you can manage them. In This part we will discuss the complications that can happen a year after surgery

  • Weight regain

You may be shocked when you discover that one of the gastric sleeve surgery side effects is regaining weight. Patients who are not concerned about their diet and exercise and all the recommendation of the nutrition is and surgeon there a chance to gain weight after the third year after surgery. Some of them came all the way they previously lost. It entirely depends on patients to prevent this complication by having healthy habits.

  • Food intolerance

Food intolerance is common gastric sleeve risks among patients. People after surgery are not able to eat the food they could get before surgery. This is why they can't digest certain foods like pasta, bread, rice, and red meat after surgery. They should find another way to eat these kinds of food.

  • Failure to lose weight

Failure to lose weight means that patients have BMI over 35 about 24 months after surgery. Unfortunately, this gastric sleeve complications is common among patients, and about 20 or 37 percent can experience a long-term failure rate. The reason behind theses gastric sleeve surgery side effects is that the stomach pouch can be small because of surgery. As time passes, the pouch stretches. When eating a lot of food, the process of losing weight can be stopped, and the stomach pouch can be large, and there is no chance of losing weight after this surgery. So be careful and don't use a lot of food after surgery.

  • Malnutrition

Another gastric sleeve side effects is malnutrition for failure to get adequate nutrition. It can happen when patients, after surgery, can't get enough food or nutrients. Because of a small stomach, patients cannot get enough food. So they should use nutrient calories not to experience malnutrition. What's patients are not interested in that, and some of them experience diarrhea or nausea that can result in malnutrition. Surgeons usually advise patients to take vitamins, minerals, multi-minerals, and other medications to prevent malnutrition after surgery.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (Acid Reflux)

Another essential gastric sleeve complications is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which is common and can be seen as gastric sleeve risks. It can be experienced even a year after this procedure. Symptoms include Bloating, Feelings of fullness, and an Upset stomach. Taking antacid medications can be a treatment to improve this complication.

  • Stomach ulcers

Peptic ulcers or stomach ulcers are common among patients. These gastric sleeve surgery side effects can be seen months or years after surgery. To recognize this complication, surgeons can use upper endoscopy. Stomach ulcers can cause dark, tarry stools, blood in vomit, and pain in the stomach area.

  • Gallstones

Another common gastric sleeve side effects is the existence of hard substances or gallstones in the gallbladder. It's common after all types of weight loss surgery. Some patients experience 18 months after the procedure. Another surgery is required to remove all gallbladder stones.

  • Incisional hernia

One of the less common gastric sleeve complications is a hernia. It forms when an organ pushes through a weak spot in tissue or muscle. It's not specialized for gastric sleeve; it can happen after any surgery, especially with laparoscopic for minimally invasive surgeries. It can happen a year or months after this procedure.

What are the less common gastric sleeve complications?

These kinds of complications can happen days or years after this procedure.

Delayed leak

A suture line disruption or a suture line leak can happen when the stomach leaks through the spot sutured before. It usually occurs right after surgery, but sometimes it can occur months or even years after this procedure which can cause some problems. Although these gastric sleeve complications are rare among patients after gastric sleeve surgery, it can be dangerous, forcing them to take some medications, go to a hospital, or have another surgery to be healthy. If you experience delayed leak symptoms, don't hesitate to be in contact your Healthcare provider. The signs of gastric sleeve leakage include fever, abdominal pain, peritonitis, hypotension, Leukocytosis, and tachycardia. Sometimes it doesn't leak, but the bleeding after a stable line can be seen. If it is severe, you may need another surgery.;

What are the most common side effects of Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

The most common gastric sleeve side effects are:

  • Wounds.
  • Discomfort after eating in the first days after the operation.
  • Some slight swelling around the incisions.
  • Feeling sore, drowsy, and confused for a couple of days after the procedure.

These side effects are only temporary, and they are generally mild.

Gastric sleeve side effects years later

Some side effects of gastric sleeve can happen even years after this procedure and should be considered. These side effects include weight regain, food intolerance, failure to lose weight, malnutrition, gastroesophageal reflux disease (acid reflux), stomach ulcers, gallstones, abdominal adhesions, and incisional hernia. It is recommended to do gastric sleeve in Iran to prevent some complications that can be prevented easily. Our experts in the FlyToTreat can help you to have the surgery with fewer side effects.

Mental health complications

Another area that the surgery can affect is patients' mental health and social concerns. These gastric sleeve surgery side effects are not considered by many people, but they are very important.


Addiction transfer

Some patients are addicted to food. That's why they are gaining weight because they eat food to self-medicate themselves. But after gastric sleeve surgery, they cannot do that, and it's impossible because they can't eat enough food. So they may find another way to get addicted. Other addictions, including alcohol use, drug use, and sex and love addiction.


Relationship issues

Another gastric sleeve side effects is relationships. Summer studies show that people after weight loss surgery have a higher divorce rate. With this surgery, you can have some complications, and some partners can tolerate the situation. So some decide to end the relationship. Before Surgery, talk to your surgeon and healthcare providers about your decision and what you want to do, and be sure that your partner can be with you throughout the process.

Risks of any surgeries

Although some gastric sleeve risks and complications are related to this procedure, others are common among all surgeries. These risks include allergic reaction to the anesthetic, heavy bleeding, blot clots, infections, damage to the other organs in the abdomen, and bowel obstruction caused by scar tissue.

Although these complications can be treated in recovery, some are dangerous and rare. Antibiotics can be taken to eliminate infections after all surgeries. The scars of surgeries can be treated with some cream that your doctor will prescribe. These complications are not life-threatening or don't cause any long-term problems or complications. But be sure to talk to your surgeon before surgery and ask whatever is in your mind about the risks, complications, and side effects.

How to reduce the risks associated with gastric sleeve surgery?

There are some ways to prevent gastric sleeve complications. In this part, we will talk about the measures you can consider to avoid risks associated with gastric sleeve surgery. Some of them are about before surgery, and some of them after surgery.

Before surgery

Before surgery, attending a gastric sleeve surgery education program is essential to be aware of what will happen to you. Besides, consulting with a nutritionist is recommended. The most important part of your surgery is your diet. If you are not able to control your diet, you do not lose weight after surgery, and whatever you are going through is for nothing. Another issue is getting psychological Consulting. Gastric sleeve surgery can affect your body and mind, and you should be ready for that. So be sure to talk to psychological Consulting and prepare for your surgery. Doing gastric sleeve surgery in Iran is highly recommended since the surgeons are knowledgeable. Before surgery, you have a physical exam, possible stomach imaging, and blood tests. If something is wrong, you would be aware of that, and the chance of gastric sleeve complications can be as low as possible. Your surgeon will recommend you quit smoking about several months before surgery. Smoking can increase the likelihood of gastric sleeve risks and complications after surgery, so be sure to quit smoking for your health. Blood thinning medications like aspirin and omega-3 should be stopped before surgery.

After surgery

Your health care after surgery plays an essential role in the recovery time and prevent side effects of gastric sleeve. Please don't ignore exercise can help you reduce weight and prevent blood clots. Be sure to listen to your Healthcare team's and your surgeon's recommendations about your diet and exercise. Another issue is that you should stay iterate after surgery to prevent some complications related to this problem. You can also join a support group with other people who have undergone gastric sleeve surgery and ensure you are doing it right. Your diet is crucial, and don't ignore yourself. Talk to your nutritionist about the diet you should have, and stay within the bounds even if you want to eat certain types of food.


When is the best time to see your healthcare provider?

You will have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon and doctor for your progress and recovery. But sometimes, you can feel that you need immediate action. If you feel a fever, have difficulty breathing, have chest pain, your legs are swollen or red, have difficulty urinating, Pain medication is not working, or have been throwing up for 12 hours.


Gastric sleeve side effects hair loss.

Hair loss is one of the essential gastric sleeve complications that can be distressing and worrying. It can happen after all types of weight loss surgery, and it's not just related to gastric sleeve surgery. The reason behind the smile there can be a lot of factors such as hormonal changes, intense physical distress after this procedure, intense emotional stress, and change in your diet. The pattern of hair loss is widespread thinning of the hair, and it's not large bald patches. Patients usually experience team in their hair, but they are not losing all the hair on their heads. It can't affect your body's hair. The more rapid your weight loss is, the more chance of losing hair you have. This complication usually starts six months after the procedure. Patients typically figure out about these complications when they brush their hair. In most patients, hair loss stops after a specific time and grows back in six months. You should have some dietary considerations to prevent or treat hair loss. Be sure that you have a balanced diet and use a certain amount of protein in your diet. Your body needs protein to help hair growth, and remember that you can take enough protein. Taking some multivitamins and mineral supplementation should be considered since you can experience some deficiencies, which can cause hair loss. One crucial mineral that you should have enough of is zinc. Using Minoxidil is another essential way to help your hair grow. You can buy Minoxidil lotion from drug stores.

Complications related to pregnancy

Another issue is gastric sleeve and pregnancy. So many people are worried about this. We should say that 18 months after this surgery, patients are allowed to get pregnant and have a baby without any complications. It is safe for the mother and the baby.

How many years does a gastric sleeve last?

This surgery is permanent, can last for the rest of the patient's life, and can't be reversed. Avoiding or limiting alcohol, smoking, and starchy foods can help patients to last this surgery for a long time.

Does gastric sleeve surgery shorten the life span?

Many studies have been done about the obesity and gastric sleeve surgery lifespan of patients. Studies have shown that people lifespan after weight loss surgery, such as gastric sleeve surgery, is three years longer than people with obesity and not treated. So it not only doesn't shorten lifespan but also people can have more Lifelong.

What is the risk of death after gastric sleeve surgery?

As we mentioned, this surgery is completely safe, and the risk of side effects of gastric sleeve is low. Still, when it comes to the mortality rate, about 0.3 percent, it is as low as possible, like common surgeries such as rhinoplasty.


What percentage of gastric sleeve procedure result in complications?

About 20% of patients after surgery experience gastric sleeve complications from mild to severe one. But most of them can be treated quickly, and there is nothing to worry about.(Who is a good candidate for gastric sleeve surgery?)


The chance of gastric sleeve risks and complications can vary from one patient to another. Before surgery, patients can talk to their doctor and be sure about the gastric sleeve complications. Before surgery, they have a blood test to find out about their health situation and the risks and complications they can face. The chance of complications and mortality is as low as possible. Many patients have undergone the surgery and are fit as a fiddle. Most Side Effects can be cured during recovery, and just a few can be experienced for a long time. Patients can prevent complications by having a good diet doing exercise, not smoking, or using alcohol and other harmful substances.

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AUTHOR: Leila Nazari

09 July 2023 - Updated At: 13 May 2024