Since 1967, thousands of individuals have undergone a gastric bypass surgical procedure to assist them in losing a great deal of weight. Reserved for individuals that are considered extremely obese, meaning that they weigh more than 100 pounds over the ideal weight for their age and height, the surgery has returned mobility and improved the health of numerous individuals across the world. What many individuals fail to realize is that there are a great deal of complications and risks associated with a gastric bypass as well.
The Last Resort – Gastric Bypass Surgery
Gastric bypass surgery is considered a last resort method of weight loss for individuals that are severely overweight. Many of these individuals have been following strict diet and exercise regiments for years without seeing any significant weight loss and the procedure can only be approved by a licensed physician that has conducted a complete physical and mental evaluation of the individual to be sure that gastric bypass surgery is right for them. The methods of determining who should undergo a gastric bypass are so strict because of the large number of complications that may occur after the surgery.
Complications of Gastric Bypass Surgery
The initial method of gastric bypass surgery, known as a loop gastric bypass, was abandoned by physicians because of the severe complications that were associated with the method. It was found that the loop gastric bypass sometimes allowed corrosive fluid from the small intestine to flow into the stomach and the esophagus, causing inflammation, ulceration, and burns. Using a Y-junction instead of a loop to connect the stomach to the small intestine was found to be much safer for the patient although it is more difficult for the surgeon to create.
The currently used methods of gastric bypass also have a large number of complications associated with the surgical procedures. It has been estimated that nearly 40% of the individuals that have a gastric bypass will experience adverse complications within the first six months after their surgery. The high rate of complications in individuals that have had the surgery is the main reason why access to the surgical procedure is so restricted.
Surgical Staple Complications
A common complication that seems to occur in individuals that have undergone a gastric bypass is that the surgical staples used in the procedure and the stapler that is used to place the staples in their proper place can malfunction, causing fluid to leak out of the gastro-intestinal track into the abdominal cavity. Because the fluids that are found in the gastro-intestinal track are generally extremely corrosive, the leakage of these fluids can cause a great deal of damage to the body, resulting in the hospitalization of the patient. The US Food and Drug Administration has received approximately 9,000 reports of serious complications and 100 reports of deaths associated with the failure of the staples and staplers used in the procedures.
Other complications that may occur after a gastric bypass include infections, hernias, excessive bleeding or hemorrhaging, and nutritional deficiencies which can cause a wide range of other complications, many of them considered serious. Many of the complications that can occur after a gastric bypass require the patient to be hospitalized for the duration of the treatment and monitored for a period of time afterward to ensure that the problem has been resolved. It is important for an individual that has undergone a gastric bypass to seek medical help as soon as they feel that something within their body is not right, as the longer the problem is allowed to go oh the harder it will be to treat.
Defective Sugical Stapler Alert
In May 2007, a jury found that a woman’s death was caused by a defective surgical stapler. The jury awarded the victim’s family $5 million.
To date, the FDA has received reports of approximately 100 deaths related to surgical staplers. In addition, they have received approximately 9,000 reports of “adverse events”, including injuries and complications from surgical staples and the stapler unit itself.