According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has dramatically increased in the United States during the past 20 years. As waistlines continue to expand in this country, so do the number of dieters desperate to lose weight.

A recent article published in the Boston Herald revealed that the number of bariatric surgeries, (also known as gastric bypass surgery) has quadrupled since 2000 to 171,000 in 2005, according to the American Society of Bariatric Surgery and the number keeps growing.

Gastric bypass is the most common form of weight loss surgery in the United States because it results in reliable weight loss. In gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon staples off a large section of the stomach, leaving a tiny pouch. Patients can’t eat as much as they used to before the surgery. The small pouch can only accommodate a few ounces of food at a time, resulting in weight loss.

Since 1997, the Center for Obesity Surgery has been performing a laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure. In this type of surgery, surgical instruments are inserted through small incisions rather than a large one. The patient benefits include a faster recovery time, a lower risk of hernia, and less scarring.

As with any surgery, gastric bypass surgery can have immediate and long-term complications and risks. Some of possible risks can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Complications due to anesthesia and medications
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Dehiscence (separation of areas that are stitched or stapled together)
  • Infections
  • Leaks from staple lines
  • Marginal ulcers
  • Pulmonary problems
  • Spleen injury
  • Stenosis (narrowing of a passage, such as a valve)
  • Death 

Researchers at the University of Washington found that 1 in 50 people die within one month of having gastric bypass surgery, and that figure increases nearly five times if the surgeon is inexperienced.

Knowing how to distinguish between a bad outcome due to negligence and a bad outcome because of an unintended, but known and accepted risk of surgery, can only be determined by a review of the records by a qualified surgeon. If you or someone you know believes they have been the victim of surgical malpractice, contact the law firm of law Rosen Louik & Perry for a FREE consultation. The medical malpractice firm of Rosen Louik & Perry has successfully represented individuals of surgical errors in gastric bypass cases. 

Resource Links:
Columbia University Department of Surgery