Long term side effects of gastric sleeve surgery


Although not malabsorptive, the stomach is also responsible for absorbing certain vitamins, and removal of 80% can result in some vitamin malabsorption. Thus, it is still strongly recommended that all patients continue a lifelong regimen of:

  • multivitamins
  • calcium with vitamin D • sublingual vitamin B12
  • Iron (for menstruating women)


GERD: Heartburn and Reflux

Acid reflux and heartburn symptoms may INCREASE after sleeve gastrectomy due to the new anatomy. This may occur in about 6% of patients, and will require lifelong medications (pepcid, prilosec, protonix, etc.) or conversion to gastric bypass.


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Anastomotic ulcer

The incidence of anastomotic ulcer is thought to be lower than that of the gastric bypass, although long term results are still unknown. For this reason cigarrette smoking and regular alcohol use are still prohibited. However NSAIDs, steroids, aspirin, and immunosuppressive medications can be tolerated if required for other medical conditions.


Difficulty Swallowing

Some patients may have difficulty even keeping liquids down, usually within the first few weeks of surgery. Unlike the bypass, the sleeve cannot be dilated, and may require several weeks to improve as the swelling lessens and the scar tissue softens.



Like the gastric bypass, some patients may develop gallstone related symptoms with weight loss.


Side effects

Side effects are similar to the gastric bypass. These include hair loss, bad breath, feeling cold, hormonal changes, and mood swings. Almost all of these symptoms seem to occur in the first year during rapid weight loss, and improve afterwards.


Cosmetic effects of weight loss:

The cosmetic effects are identical to those of the gastric bypass.



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