What Are the Risks of Duodenal Switch Surgery?

June 20, 2017 — by Fernando Garcia
Tags: Duodenal Switch

Surgeons performing bariatric surgeryIf you struggle with obesity and have been considering bariatric surgery, the duodenal switch procedure may be right for you. Duodenal switch surgery helps patients lose weight quickly for improved health and quality of life. As with any surgical procedure, the duodenal switch procedure carries some risks that are important to be aware of when deciding if this treatment is right for you. Let's take a closer look at the possible duodenal switch risks, both immediate and long term, in this overview from Tijuana, Mexico bariatric surgeons Fernando Garcia and David Vazquez.

What Is Duodenal Switch Surgery?

Duodenal switch surgery is a form of bariatric surgery designed to help patients lose weight quickly and maintain a healthy weight. During the duodenal switch procedure, the size of the stomach is reduced and the layout of the small intestine is rearranged. The rearrangement of the small intestine helps reduce the amount of calories absorbed by the body by reducing the amount of time it takes for food to pass through the digestive track.

The Risks of Duodenal Switch Surgery

As with any surgery, the duodenal switch procedure carries some risks. However, for most who are considering duodenal switch surgery, the risks associated with obesity are far greater and more likely to occur if nothing is done to achieve a healthy weight. With that said, some potential risks of duodenal switch surgery include:

  • Infection
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Gastric leaks
  • Excessive bleeding during surgery
  • Abscess formation
  • Blood clots developing in the legs, or deep vein thrombosis
  • Blood clots traveling to the lungs, or pulmonary embolism
  • Healing issues at the incision site
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart attack

Long Term Risks of Duodenal Switch Surgery

Some of the risks associated with duodenal switch surgery may not occur immediately after surgery and instead may take weeks or longer to develop as the body adjusts to the changes made to the stomach, small intestine, and diet. Some potential long-term risks of duodenal switch surgery include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Calcium deficiency that can lead to osteoporosis
  • Protein deficiencies
  • Anemia
  • Excessive weight loss

Many of the potential long-term risks of duodenal switch surgery can be minimized through taking both vitamin and mineral supplements along with eating a healthy diet rich in protein. Regularly having blood work done can also help catch any deficiencies so supplements may be adjusted to meet the body's demands.

The Benefits of Duodenal Switch Surgery

For those who are morbidly obese, the risk of not undergoing surgery may be far greater than the potential risks of the duodenal switch procedure. For most, the benefits of duodenal switch surgery outweigh the risks. These benefits include:

  • Stomach function is not impaired
  • Food can be properly digested
  • Less likely to develop dumping syndrome as seen in other bariatric surgeries
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Helps achieve a healthy weight, which in turn helps reduce the risk of obesity-related health issues
  • Helps increase confidence by helping patients achieve a healthy weight

Learn More about the Duodenal Switch Procedure

For more information about the duodenal switch procedure, or to find out if this treatment is right for you, please contact Tijuana Bariatrics to schedule a consultation.