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Can I die from the gastric bypass operation?

Gastric Bypass Dangers

Peter LePort (Gastric Bypass Surgeon) gives expert video advice on: Can I die from the gastric bypass operation?; What's the mortality rate for gastric bypass surgery?; Can I starve to death after gastric bypass surgery? and more...

Can I die from the gastric bypass operation?

The complications of bariatric surgery, the worse complication is dying from the procedure. Very rarely does somebody actually die on the operating room table. I assume that can happen, but it's pretty rare. What happens is they have a complication, either a leak, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, some other problem that occurs. They're in a hospital for weeks or a month and they die. That's certainly a risk that every patient needs to be informed about there are and they have to decide it's a risk they're willing to take.

What's the mortality rate for gastric bypass surgery?

The mortality rate for gastric bypass is, in a good center, is between .2 and .4 percent. That's 2 to 4 in a 1000. Some published articles are up to 1 to 2 percent which is 1 to 2 patients in 100. That seems pretty high for me and either they are doing very high risk surgery or there's a problem in that program.

Can I starve to death after gastric bypass surgery?

A significant number of patients have what we call a stricture, and in the literature what happens is the opening we make becomes too small, and that can happen anywhere from a half percent to five percent of the patients. Those patients start vomiting, they can't eat well, and they can lose too much weight. It's relatively simple to solve - for the doctor - the patient has to go through a procedure, but it's called an endoscopy, where they put the tube down the patient's mouth, find the opening, and dilate it. I've had one, maybe two patients who have actually developed anorexia nervosa after surgery, and all of the tests showed that the patient had no physiological problem - no stricture, no reason for losing weight. Most of the other problems with "starving to death" and being malnourished is either the stricture or, as I mentioned before, the patients are not able to tolerate the procedure and become malnourished. They can't tolerate protein, they don't absorb any iron, and then we have to reverse it.

How much will gastric bypass surgery cost?

The cost of the procedure varies around the country. But I would say the averages is about between 20 or 25,000 dollars for the whole thing, the pre-op work up, the surgeon, the assistant, anesthesia, hospital.

How controversial is gastric bypass surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery today is not controversial. It's accepted as a medical procedure, as there are two journals in the medical literature devoted just to bariatric surgery and weight loss. In the recent past, certainly the eighties and the early nineties, it was very controversial. The death rate and the morbidity rate, the complication rate, was high. Surgeons were just starting out to do a lot of procedures in one or a couple of centers. And doctors would not refer their patients because of the complication rates. That has abated, since, I would say the late nineties, and certainly today.