Early complications in bariatric surgery: Incidence, diagnosis and treatment

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Context - Bariatric surgery has proven to be the most effective method of treating severe obesity. Nevertheless, the acceptance of bariatric surgery is still questioned. The surgical complications observed in the early postoperative period following surgeries performed to treat severe obesity are similar to those associated with other major surgeries of the gastrointestinal tract. However, given the more frequent occurrence of medical comorbidities, these patients require special attention in the early postoperative follow-up. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of these complications are directly associated with a greater probability of control. Method - The medical records of 538 morbidly obese patients who underwent surgical treatment (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery) were reviewed. Ninety-three (17.2%) patients were male and 445 (82.8%) were female. The ages of the patients ranged from 18 to 70 years (average = 46), and their body mass indices ranged from 34.6 to 77 kg/m2. Results - Early complications occurred in 9.6% and were distributed as follows: 2.6% presented bleeding, intestinal obstruction occurred in 1.1%, peritoneal infections occurred in 3.2%, and 2.2% developed abdominal wall infections that required hospitalization. Three (0.5%) patients experienced pulmonary thromboembolism. The mortality rate was 0,55%. Conclusion - The incidence of early complications was low. The diagnosis of these complications was mostly clinical, based on the presence of signs and symptoms. The value of the clinical signs and early treatment, specially in cases of sepsis, were essential to the favorable surgical outcome. The mortality was mainly related to thromboembolism and advanced age, over 65 years.




Santo, M. A., Pajecki, D., Riccioppo, D., Cleva, R., Kawamoto, F., & Cecconello, I. (2013). Early complications in bariatric surgery: Incidence, diagnosis and treatment. Arquivos de Gastroenterologia, 50(1), 50–55. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0004-28032013000100010

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