Because the stomach itself has to be divided, there are some additional risks over Gastric Banding in the early post-operative period. One problem is that gastric fluid may leak through the staple line if healing along the staple line is not perfect. This causes infection around the outside of the Gastric Sleeve, and can be quite serious. Recovery may take several weeks, and treatment usually involves the use of antibiotics, surgical drains, and gut rest.
If leakage occurs, additional procedures such as re-operation and endoscopy are frequently needed. The risk of this complication in our experience is very rare, but it may be suspected if a patient develops fevers and acute upper abdominal/back pain in the early postoperative period. Early treatment is the key to managing this problem successfully, so it is important to be on the watch for these symptoms and return back to the hospital without delay if concerns exist.
If you live outside Sydney, our policy is that you stay in Sydney for a total of 2 weeks from the date of your surgery before returning home. This allows us to be able to treat you in the event of a complication. We have arrangements with our private hospitals for extended accommodation in nearby apartments at very reasonable rates for you after hospital discharge if you require this.
Other complications that can occur include internal injuries, bleeding, blood clots in the leg veins or lungs, infections in the abdomen, chest or wounds, and allergic reactions to anaesthesia or medication. These problems may occur following any surgical procedure, and precautions are taken in all patients to reduce these risks to the absolute minimum.