What are the possible adverse events associated with malabsorptive procedures for obesity?

Updated: Jun 09, 2021
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Patients who receive bypass procedures are particularly prone to micronutrient deficiency states, especially of calcium, vitamin B-12, folate, and iron, as well as protein malnutrition.

Rare cases of postural hypotension and severe hypoglycemia from nesidioblastosis have been reported. Life-threatening hypoglycemia usually requires partial or total pancreatectomy, while severe postural hypotension that cannot be corrected with fludrocortisone and midodrine requires reversal of the surgery.

The following are among the major specific complications associated with malabsorptive operations:

  • Uncontrolled diarrhea

  • Steatorrhea

  • Malabsorption of fat-soluble vitamins

  • Potassium and/or magnesium deficiency

  • Blind-loop syndrome - Includes enteritis, arthropathy, and liver cirrhosis

  • Gallstone development

  • Urolithiasis

  • Metabolic encephalopathy

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