Gastric Sleeve Side Effects, Risks, and Problems
There is always a possibility of risks and side effects with any surgical procedure, including gastric sleeve surgery. The good news, problems after gastric sleeve surgery are rare and almost never life-threatening.
Compared to other bariatric surgeries, the sleeve gastrectomy has the least amount of post-op problems and complications. However, there is still a shortlist of “common” gastric sleeve side effects and risks that can be uncomfortable and difficult to manage. Here are some of these unforeseen consequences of gastric sleeve surgery, and the best ways to treat them.
Gastric Sleeve Side Effect #1: Hair Loss
Every day we typically lose 75 to 100 hairs. However, some patients will lose hair during rapid weight loss (sometimes in clumps that may be alarming, but is purely hormonal). Once you are getting near your weight goal, hair loss will slow down.
Hair loss may or may not happen to all gastric sleeve patients, but it usually isn’t something to worry about unless your physician is concerned about malnutrition. Typically the hair will regrow once you’ve reached your weight loss goal.
Treatment for Hair Loss
If you’re worried about hair loss, you can take hair supplements to help combat the rate at which you lose hair.
- Co-Enzyme Q/10: 25-50mg per day
- Biotin: 300mcg per day
- Flax Seed Oil: 1-2 grams per day, gel-tabs, oil or sprinkles
- Zinc: 50mg per day
Gastric Sleeve Side Effect #2: Constipation and Diarrhea
Diarrhea and loose stools can be frequent and very familiar with gastric sleeve surgery. This can occur several months following surgery. Because the first part of the postoperative diet is mainly liquids, many patients will have loose stools and frequent bathroom usage. However, this should only be a temporary issue though as the patient progresses to more and more solid foods – patients should see this issue will diminish.
Treatment for Loose Stool, Diarrhea, or Constipation
If you have constipation, drink more liquids. If you continue to have a problem with constipation, you may use daily medications such as Kaopectate® (for diarrhea) or Dulcolax® Tablets (for constipation). Speak with your primary care physician before taking any medication.
Gastric Sleeve Side Effect #3: Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea may occur after surgery and can be treated with medication (ask your physician). For a natural remedy, try the decaffeinated green tea. Nausea is often the result of the patient eating too fast, drinking liquids while eating, not chewing foods enough, or eating more than you should. Ultimately, nausea should subside as the patient becomes acclimated to their new eating habits and how much food it takes them to get full now.
Treatment for Nausea and Vomiting
To combat nausea, patients must consume foods and drinks slowly and thoroughly. Also, never drink while consuming a meal because it results in the patient getting full of liquids instead of nutritious food that will give them energy and promote weight loss.
Vomiting may occur because of trying new foods or nausea. If vomiting occurs, it’s important to go back to a fluids-only diet for up to 1 day until trying solid foods again and keeping them down. If vomiting is consistent and unavoidable, it could be a sign of a serious issue. Contact your physician immediately.
Gastric Sleeve Side Effect #4: Stomach Stretching
One of the most common questions we receive is whether the stomach will stretch after gastric sleeve surgery?
Perhaps one of the most dangerous side effects is esophagus stretching or dilation. These can occur because of excessive vomiting, binge eating, or a stomach obstruction. A stomach obstruction happens when from food or swelling internally.
Potential Gastric Sleeve Complications
Fortunately, gastric sleeve surgery is a weight loss procedure that typically is easier to manage and maintain due to being less invasive than gastric bypass. Bleeding, organ injury, and even infection are all potential complications after gastric sleeve surgery.
- Sleeve leaking
- Blood clots
- Gastroparesis (delay in moving food down the digestive tract)
- Esophageal pain or spasm
Gastric Sleeve Risk vs Reward
Sleeve gastrectomy benefits may well outweigh the rare side effects and complications for obese and morbidly obese individuals. On average, patients with sleeve surgery lose 70% of their excess weight in less than 2 years.
According to the World Journal of Diabetes, sleeve gastrectomy patients are more at-risk for forming nutritional complications. Low levels of macro-nutrients and even micro-nutrients can cause several damaging side effects including anemia, osteoporosis, and protein malnutrition.
Postoperative supervision after bariatric surgery requires a collaborative team of specialists, including a registered dietitian, primary care provider, and surgeon liaison [source].
Check Out: Gastric Sleeve Before and After Photos
The underlying medical conditions such as diabetes type 2, hypertension, sleep apnea, heart disease, joint problems do remit and improve after gastric sleeve operation.
Ultimately, it’s important to understand fully all pros and cons of gastric sleeve before taking the leap and having surgery.
Consider getting the life-changing gastric sleeve surgery with the Number 1 Tijuana provider, Mexico Bariatric Center®. We have renewed over 11,000 lives since 2012!
Contact our helpful staff to see if gastric sleeve surgery is the right weight loss surgery for you.