Gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy or VSG, is a weight-loss surgery that involves removing a large portion of the stomach. The remaining stomach is shaped like a sleeve or tube, which reduces its size and limits the amount of food it can hold. While gastric sleeve surgery is considered a safe and effective procedure, there is a risk of complications, such as leaks.
A gastric sleeve leak occurs when there is a hole or a tear in the newly formed stomach sleeve, which allows the stomach contents to leak into the abdominal cavity. This can lead to serious complications, such as infections, abscesses, and sepsis, which can be life-threatening.
The symptoms of a gastric sleeve leak can vary, depending on the severity and location of the leak. But here are the most common symptoms:
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek immediate medical attention, as they could be signs of a gastric sleeve leak.
These are the most common causes of a gastric sleeve leak:
It is important to follow all post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon to reduce the risk of complications.
If you’re feeling the symptoms of a leak, tell your doctor immediately. If your doctor suspects that you have a gastric sleeve leak, they may perform one or more of the following tests:
The treatment for a gastric sleeve leak depends on the severity and location of the leak. In some cases, a small leak may heal on its own with the help of antibiotics and a liquid diet. However, if the leak is large or causes serious complications, surgery may be required.
Your surgeon will determine the best option for you.
While there is no guaranteed way to prevent a leak, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of complications:
A gastric sleeve leak can be a serious and potentially life-threatening side effect of bariatric surgery. Some of the causes are out of your control, so work on the things that you do have the power to control. Overeating and over-drinking can put undue stress on your newly formed stomach, so it's important to stick to a bariatric diet approved by your doctor or nutritionist. And of course, avoiding smoking and alcohol can also help reduce your risk of complications and promote overall health. With proper treatment and prevention measures, you can reduce your risk of complications and enjoy the benefits of a healthier, happier post-op life.