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October 30, 2006

Long-Term Complications of Gastric Bypass

Eye During gastric bypass surgery, doctors decrease the size of the stomach and re-routes part of the intestine, which alters absorption of some nutrients. Patients who have the procedure often lose more than 100 pounds.

Despite the obvious benefits of the procedure, patients should be aware of the possible serious complications, since there's no fix-it and forget-it type of operation.

The common risks of gastric bypass include bleeding, infections, gallstones, gastritis, and vomiting.

Recently, researchers at two medical universities have discovered two additional serious long-term complications of the surgery.

Surgery researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found that two to three decades after gastric bypass, some patients experienced poor eyesight and night blindness due to a deficiency of vitamin A.

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, that means it comes with fatty acids that we eat in our diet, into the GI tract. If our body is not absorbing fatty acids as well, that's what helps us lose weight, we don't absorb the vitamin A as effectively.

Researchers at Indiana University have also discovered some bone health concerns connected with the surgery. They found blood markers for bone loss doubled in both men and women immediately following this surgery leaving patients at serious long-term risk for osteoporosis or bone loss.

Patients have to recognize that there's not a golden road here. They have to maintain their health and nutrition, their primary-care physicians have to look after them, as well as their surgery team.


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Amy Robinson

My sister had the R & Y gastric bypass surgery 14 years ago and is now suffering serious complications such as protien absorption,vitiam deficiencies, vascular and circulation problems plus more and all of the side effects created by these issues. We are desperately seeking doctors who have successfully treated R&Y surgery patients with long term complications.

Pamela Carroll

I am 47yo and had Gastric Bypass surgery 1yo. The surgery went well and I have lossed 107lbs since the surgery. Yes it did result in wt loss and I am no longer insulin dependent diabetic, but now I am starting to experience some long term complications as a result of this surgery. I am severly malnurished even though I am taking supplements and I continue to lose weight now to the point of looking gaunt. The weight loss continues even though I can not afford to lose any more. I have also noted a significant loss in my eye sight and am having difficulty seeing at night. I was only seen 1 time by the surgeon just prior to the surgery and he was rude and very unprofessional to me in the hospital when I started to experience some post operative complications related to the surgery. This was not the only issue I had with this surgeon as once I was discharged from the hospital I was never seen by him again. His wife who is only an APRN did all of the follow up care in his office. This was a clear message to me that this surgeon did not care about his patients and all he cared about was making the money. I DO NOT recommend this surgery for anyone regardless of how much you are over weight with the right counseling, support and physical activity you can regain your health the natural way. It is not worth the long term health problems that I am now expeiencing the could possibly end my life.

Lona Golden

My daughter had Gastric Bypass surgery in 2005 and one year later in 2006 she almost died from blood clots. After many surgerys in five days, the doctor removed 2/3's of her small intestines. She was in ICU for months. In December of 2010, she was taken to ER with kidney failure and liver failure. A kidney stone, which is a side effect from surgery had blocked her kidneys and caused bad infection. She had no pain from stone and it was a while before the Dr.'s found the problem. Liver is shocked at time of surgery and is easily infected. After she was home for two weeks, she developed a hematoma in her pelvic area(side affect)causing more infection, Kidneys and liver failed again. She passed away in February. Please tell everyone not to have this surgery. Women and men are dying all across the country from this horrible butchering called weight loss surgery.

Barbara Young

I am unable to maintain my weight (I am 10 years post gastric bypass surgery), and am slowly dying of malnutrition, despite an excellent diet and supplementation regimen. I had to have half of my pancreas removed in the attempt to decrease the ammount of insulin I produce, but I am still having life-threatening drops in my blood glucose. I have required a PICC line and total peripheral nutrition 4 times in the last 3 years, and still struggle to maintain my weight (I am 5'9"/110 lbs). I look like a rack of bones, and have been unable to get a diagnosis after 4 years of seeing numerous medical specialists. I do not regret having my gastric bypass, but these complications have narrowed down the scope of my life, and it seems that I am slowly dying due to severe malabsorption, and the daily episodes of wretching with the dry heaves has impacted my life in a horrible way, and I find myself very tired of the struggle. Who out there has to get up and cook two full course meals during the night to try and maintain weight?

debbie t

My sister is having the same issue. She goes to the doctor tomorrow - she is 5.7 and weighs less than 120 and looks gaunt. Just horrible.
Did you ever get any answers as to what to do?


Hello Im a Gastric Bypass patient 2 yrs post-op.. I have no problems whatsoever.. I have lost 100 pounds and my weight loss has stopped.. I have to really work to maintain... I weigh 140 pounds and 5"5 i would love to lose 10 more pounds but cant seem to.. Well Im sorry to hear these horror stories.. Its kinda scarey.. I have a great surgeon and after-care program.. I see my surgeon every 6 mos... I have no regrets...<3


Hello. I am in tears reading the above comments. My sister died in December of this year...2012. She suffered from the Gastric Bypass surgery she had about 10 years ago. Over the years my sister had trouble with her body absorbing nutrients, food, medication...etc. The last year was severe and she had lost even more weight rapidly. Her hair turned thin and extremely dry, her skin pale with yellow type patches, her teeth rotted and her skin tone was ghostly. She was going to so many different doctors to find answers to try to help her. My sister's health continued to rapidly decline. She had problems with her blood being extremely thin. I am certain she had liver and kidney problems. She also had blood clots and was seeing specialists and receiving blood transfusions. She suddenly passed away in December. We are waiting for the medical exam for cause of death which will take several weeks. My sister was only 41 years old. I am researching this surgery to see if others have suffered as severely as my sister. This has been a horrible and devastating last couple of weeks. I am not sure what to do or who to discuss this with but I know my sister's death was caused by this surgery.


Hello, The long term, serious complications of this surgery are not made known or acknowledged fully by the medical field. We lost my sister Jan. 12, 2012 at age 58 from complications of gastric bypass surgery performed 10 yrs. ago. She suffered tremendously this last year of her life. Malnutrition, lost 65 lbs in 2 mos. from vomiting, vertigo, loss of appetite. She developed shakes, legs wouldn't support her and had neuropathy. She could not get doctors to diagnose what was happening to her. She died in the hospital from pneumonia and septic shock. Her body was riddled with infection due to lack of an immune system. It was a horrible death. In the end they finally said it was complications from the gastric bypass that had been plaguing her.


I had gastric bypass surgery 13 years ago. In the beginning, I had no health issues. I lost weight and pretty much maintained it. Then things started to decline. My teeth have rotted out and I nearly died from sepsis 5 1/2 years ago. I also have fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome. In September, 2010 I suddenly lost the ability to walk. After 2 months in the hospital I was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, due to B12 deficiency, though I have been getting monthly injections (only missed a couple of months). The neurologist says it is due to the bypass. I can walk again, but I suffer daily with moderate to severe pain. I have now gained weight and because of the neuropathy I can't exercise and the excess weight exacerbates the pain. I believe the long term complications should be made aware to patients. The surgery is glorified on TV (My 600-lb Life) but people don't realize the HARM it does to patients and their loved ones. I'm not saying the surgery isn't beneficial, but all you seem to hear about is the positive of the surgery.

Big Al

I had the Gastric Bypass
in July of 2005, I have I lost 165lb but have gain 80lb back. I still workout but can not lose the weight. I notice that my sight is getting blury and I do not have the drive I had before the operation. I would tell anyone that before they have the operation. really think about what you are going to do. because their is no going back.


I had this surgery done in 2004. The doctor was great and knew what he was doing. I lost 120 pounds and at 53 I returned to my size 10 jeans. I had my first complication in 2006. I had an extremely large hernia which could have been normal but I am thinking not. In 2010 I had another hernia repair. Some days I will get shakes for no reason and only eating chocolate or protein fast seems to help. My eyesight has gotten blurry but I thought it was just normal need to get my eyes checked again but my night vision is horrible. This year I had a hernia repair in January and a hernia repair vaginally for bladder and rectum just 8 weeks ago. I am looking at a bowel problem that is also going to require surgery. I take my b-12 shots and I take what meds I am on including nexium. I am 36 years old. I have gained about 10 pounds back and I am really worried becasue I can eat more and that bothers me and I feel hungry all the time. I am scared. I wil admit that and this surgery has turned my life for good or bad. I also suffer from restless leg and my knees give out for no reason. I don't know if that is part of it too? I have had no support group as we are military and they have a funny way of letting you drop through the loop. Maybe someone can give me some advice or council. Prayers definitely I am to young to leave my family yet my sons still need their mom. I have a 13, 14 and 17 year old boys. I also still ended up with high cholesterol and hope that I do not get anything else. I have dumping syndrome if I drink milk or any milk products which was never an issue before but now I bloat up. If you pray please pray I live to be 70 and that this next surgery is a success. I am a fighter. that doesn't mean I don't get scared.

RN David

Congratulations with your achievement and continue to inspire others. I am a private nurse and we have a senior patient who is morbidly obese, his doctor do not recommend surgery with his age. Roca Labs gastric bypass no surgery was advised as alternative and works safely. He is recovering his healthy weight with an average of 2-3 lbs a week. Saved himself from sugical cost and complications. What's good is, there is no diet nor restrictions. Whichever way, best of luck!


ihade gastric bypass in 2005 went from 273 to 148 i have the resriction problem have been dialted 5 times now,and is no longer working.

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