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Bariatric and Metabolic resources for a healthier life

Find out how sleeve gastrectomy could potentially help you lose weight



What are the gastric sleeve complications and risks?

As with any surgical procedure, potential risks and complications can occur. Although these problems rarely happen, it’s important to know the facts.

If you're considering sleeve gastrectomy surgery, we encourage you to attend a bariatric and metabolic surgery informational seminar hosted by a trained surgeon.

Possible post-surgery complications

One or all of the following conditions and complications are possible following all types of bariatric and metabolic surgery procedures, as well as all types of bariatric and metabolic procedures.

Potentially serious complications


  • Perforation of stomach/intestine or leakage, causing peritonitis or abscess
  • Internal bleeding requiring transfusion
  • Severe wound infection, opening of the wound, incisional hernia
  • Spleen injury requiring removal/other organ injury
  • Gastric outlet or bowel obstruction


  • Pneumonia, atelectasis (collapse of lung tissue), fluid in chest
  • Respiratory insufficiency, pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs)
  • Blood clots in legs/lungs (embolism)


  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack), congestive heart failure
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats)
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular accident)

Kidney and liver:

  • Acute kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Hepatitis (may progress to cirrhosis)


  • Anorexia nervosa, bulimia
  • Postoperative depression, dysfunctional social problems
  • Psychosis


Other complications (may become serious):

  • Minor wound or skin infection/scarring, deformity, loose skin
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Allergic reactions to drugs or medications
  • Vomiting or nausea/inability to eat certain foods/improper eating
  • Inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis), acid reflux (heartburn)
  • Low sodium, potassium, or blood sugar; low blood pressure
  • Problems with the outlet of the stomach (narrowing or stretching)
  • Anemia, metabolic deficiency (iron, vitamins, minerals), temporary hair loss
  • Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, cramping, malodorous stool or gas
  • Development of gallstones or gallbladder disease
  • Stomach or outlet ulcers (peptic ulcer)
  • Staple-line disruption, weight gain, failure to lose satisfactory weight
  • Intolerance to refined sugars (dumping), with nausea, sweating, weakness

Evaluate all your options before considering Sleeve Gastrectomy

Be sure to discuss the procedure with your doctor. It’s important to understand that:

  • Bariatric and metabolic surgery is not cosmetic surgery. The procedures do not involve the removal of fatty tissue by cutting or suction.
  • A decision to elect surgical treatment requires an assessment of the benefits and risks to the patient and the meticulous performance of the appropriate surgical procedure.
  • The success of bariatric and metabolic surgery is dependent on long-term lifestyle changes in diet and exercise.


Metabolic and bariatric and metabolic surgery is as safe or safer than other commonly performed procedures, including gall bladder surgery.20,27 When performed at a Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Center of Excellence, metabolic and bariatric and metabolic surgery has a mortality rate of 0.13 percent.27 Gall bladder removals have a mortality rate of 0.52 percent.27

All surgeries present risks. These risks vary depending on weight, age, and medical history, and patients should discuss these with their doctor and bariatric and metabolic surgeon.