Gastric Sleeve Risks By Allan Joseph Cribbins on May 22, 2023

Digital illustration of the stomach and digestive systemExcess weight can compromise self-confidence, prohibit movement, and threaten general health. When weight cannot be managed through diet and exercise, it may be time to consider bariatric surgery. Doctors at the Texas Center for Bariatrics & Advanced Surgery offer several bariatric techniques. One of the safest and most effective is gastric sleeve.

Gastric sleeve surgery reduces the size of the stomach by up to 80 percent to decrease appetite and encourage significant weight loss. Gastric sleeve surgery has a low rate of complications, but no surgery is without risks. Our Plano, TX, patients must consider gastric sleeve risks before committing to treatment. Here, we discuss potential surgical complications and offer tips to minimize surgical risks. 


Some gastric sleeve patients experience increased indigestion. Indigestion may occur as a result of a smaller stomach or changes in the way food moves through the digestive tract after surgery. For some, indigestion lessens as the body adjusts to surgical changes. Others may suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, which can persist for years after gastric sleeve surgery.

Nausea and Diarrhea

Nausea, diarrhea, and general stomach upset are other potential risks of gastric sleeve surgery. Upset may occur because food and nutrients stay undigested in the stomach longer after gastric sleeve surgery. The balance of bacteria in the gut may also change after surgery. If these symptoms develop, they usually go away on their own in the weeks or months after treatment.

Stomach Obstruction

Stomach obstruction, or stenosis, is a rare gastric sleeve risk. Stomach obstruction refers to a narrowing of the stomach outlet. The blockage makes it difficult to digest food. Stomach obstruction may occur within the first six weeks following gastric sleeve treatment. A surgeon can correct stenosis by stretching the narrow or blocked outlet. 

Suture Line Leak

A suture line leak is another rare gastric sleeve complication. A suture line leak or disruption is essentially a tear along the outer edge of the stomach, where surgical sutures are placed. The disruption allows stomach contents to leak out. Symptoms of a suture leak include fever, abdominal pain, low blood pressure, and increased heart rate.

Suture line leaks most commonly occur shortly after surgery but may develop months or years after treatment. Treatment for suture line leaks may involve medication, hospitalization, or additional surgery.


Malnutrition is a concern for any of our Plano bariatric surgery patients. After gastric surgery, individuals consume far fewer calories. It is difficult to get proper nutrition when food intake is limited, especially if other complications, such as nausea and diarrhea, are present. 

Failure to Lose Weight

Gastric sleeve surgery has a high rate of success. Most patients lose 50 to 70 percent of excess weight after gastric sleeve surgery. However, there is a risk of failure to lose weight or weight regain. Over time, the stomach pouch can stretch if patients fail to follow dietary guidelines, and this can lead to long-term weight loss failure.

Minimizing the Risk of Surgical Complications

The risk of gastric sleeve complications is low, but our Plano patients can take steps to promote healing, encourage weight loss, and minimize the risk of surgical complications even further. We urge patients to practice these care tips after gastric sleeve surgery:

  • Closely follow all post-surgical instructions
  • Adhere to recommended dietary changes
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Adopt a healthy exercise plan (as recovery permits)
  • Take vitamins and nutritional supplements as recommended

Contact Us

Individuals struggling to shed excess weight may be suitable candidates for gastric sleeve surgery or other bariatric techniques. If you would like to learn about the health benefits of weight loss surgery, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation at the Texas Center for Bariatrics & Advanced Surgery. To get started, send us a message online or call (214) 501-1333.

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dr joe cribbins and dr edmund chen DAVINCI robotic bariatric surgeons voted best doctors of Dallas, TX

Texas Center for
Bariatrics & Advanced Surgery

Our highly skilled and experienced board-certified surgeons specialize in ultra-minimally invasive general and bariatric surgery. They are affiliated with a number of national associations, including the:

  • American Board of Surgery
  • American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)
  • American College of Surgeons (ACS)
  • Fellow American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (FASMBS)

To request a consultation, contact us online or call (214) 501-1333 today.

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