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What are the potential side effects of sleeve surgery?

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Quick Answer

Belly pain that requires pain medication, tenderness in the region of the incision, vomiting, nausea and constipation are common side effects experienced after gastric sleeve surgery, according to WebMD. Less-common side effects include bleeding, infection and a leak at the site of the staple.

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Full Answer

In the six months following a gastric sleeve procedure, patients may experience fatigue and body aches similar to flu symptoms, dry skin, thinning hair, chilling easily and mood swings, reports Mayo Clinic. Individuals may develop a condition known as dumping syndrome. This is the result of food emptying into the small intestine too rapidly, causing nausea, diarrhea, shakiness and faintness, states WebMD. Dumping syndrome, coupled with the smaller stomach size, can result in inadequate nutrition requiring patients to take vitamins and supplements for the rest of their lives.

If the procedure was performed through a large incision in the abdomen, the return to full activity levels may take up to six weeks, according to WebMD. If done with a laparoscope, recovery is faster. Over half of the stomach is removed in a gastric sleeve operation, and the portion of stomach that remains is a thin, banana-sized tube. The surgery is permanent and irreversible. Patients typically lose 60 percent of their excess weight over the following 18 months.

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