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May 1975

Metabolic Intestinal Surgery: Its Complications and Management

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Service, St. Louis University Hospitals, St. Louis University School of Medicine.

Arch Surg. 1975;110(5):652-657. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1975.01360110198034

From November 1970 to August 1974 small intestinal bypass was performed in 475 patients for morbid obesity with an operative mortality of 1.6%. Immediate postoperative complications were superficial wound infection (17 patients), pulmonary complications (seven patients), cardiac complications (five patients), wound dehiscence (nine patients), intestinal tract fistula (four patients), and miscellaneous complications (14 patients). Delayed complications included hypokalemia (28%), hypocalcemia (9%), anemia (11%), calcium oxalate urinary calculi (6%), gout (2%), and hepatic failure (1.4%). Fourteen patients died of late complications. Ventral incisional hernia occurred in 3% of the patients; failure to lose sufficient weight in 21%, all but one occurring in patients with end-to-side shunts. Thirteen end-to-side shunts have been converted to end-to-end shunts because of insufficient weight loss. A team concept is important in the handling of the morbidly obese. Small bowel bypass is effective in producing sustained weight reduction in these patients. Careful and continued study of these patients for the rest of their lives is of paramount importance.