No matter how excited you are to begin your gastric sleeve journey toward a healthier, happier life, it’s normal to worry about potential complications. It is surgery, after all. While there’s no way to predict whether a patient will experience complications, I can confidently say that the risk is crazy low for my patients. Before I get into specifics, let’s look at some of the possible VSG complications.
A Little About Leaks
Leaks are among the most common complication after gastric sleeve surgery. And when I say “common,” I mean it happens an average of 1% of the time (and my rate is even lower at .3%). A leak is a hole from the stomach or intestines that goes directly into the abdominal cavity. If it’s going to happen, it will almost always be within the first two weeks of surgery—and usually within the first few days. It’s impossible to experience a leak after you’ve healed from surgery. One way to prevent leaks is to stick to the liquid diet we prescribe. Liquids move through your new stomach smoothly, without causing tension or stress on the staples or staples/sutures. That part is within your control.
What WE can control is monitoring you for leaks while you’re still with us at Endobariatric. For example, we conduct an X-ray study with a fluoroscopy machine, a simple test that would highlight any leaks present. CT scan is another way to check for a leak, giving us a virtual peak into the actual stomach anatomy. In the unlikely event a leak is discovered, you’ll be taken right back into surgery to correct it. If you’ve already gone home and experience symptoms like abdominal pain, fewer, sweating, difficulty breathing, chills, or rapid heartbeat, let us know, and we’ll advise you from there.
Other Potential Side Effects
As with any surgery, there’s a long list of possible problems that can arise after surgery. The likelihood of any of them happening to you is extremely low, but discussing them is the responsible thing to do. Complications could range from post-surgical bleeding to pneumonia to deep vein thrombosis. Yes, even death. (It’s never happened at Endobariatric, of course!) One serious complication reported by some surgeons is pulmonary embolism, which, thankfully, only occurs.5% of the time. Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot that travels from elsewhere in the body, usually the legs or pelvis, to the arteries in the lungs. Surgeons help minimize the chance of PE by doing things like wrapping patients’ legs tightly with a stretchy bandage after surgery, using a special air-compression device during surgery to keep blood moving in the legs, and using low molecular weight heparin or similar medications. Rest assured that my rate of PE is 0%.
The Endobariatric Experience
As you can see from the stats I’ve already quoted, the risk of any complication from gastric sleeve surgery is minimal. But the best way to minimize them even more is to choose the right surgeon. I’ve mentioned a few of Endobariatric’s better-than-average complication rates above, but I want to make it clear that, thanks to our team’s expertise, we have a 0% complication rate for biggies like pulmonary embolism, splenectomy, acute respiratory distress syndrome, post-op bleeding, small bowel obstruction, and death. Of all the other potential complications, my rate is below other surgeons’ average (with the exception of pneumonia, which is .3% higher). I’m very proud of the fact that patients from around the world come to our facility for gastric sleeve surgery, and a big part of that is because our complication rates are almost non-existent. Why is that? Because this procedure is all we do! If you had done something over 13,000 times, you’d be pretty good at it, too.
The bottom line is that, yes, gastric sleeve surgery has risks. At Endobariatric, you can count on us to be straight with you about those risks, while also providing hard data that attests to our track record of safe, exceptional results.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.