After undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, most patients experience at least one related symptom after the surgery, leading to hospitalization for almost one-third of patients, according to a study published in JAMA Surgery.

Despite the high risk for post-surgery symptoms, nearly 90% of patients reported an increase in well-being, reported Sigrid Bjerge Gribsholt, MD, and colleagues.

The study included survey results from 1,429 patients (mean age, 47.1 years) who underwent bypass surgery in the Central Denmark Region. A comparison cohort of 89 individuals who did not undergo bypass surgery, matched to patients by sex and BMI, were surveyed as a control group.

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A total of 1,266 patients (88.6%) who underwent surgery experienced at least 1 symptom after a median of 4.7 years after surgery. In the surgery group, 966 (67.6%) had contact with a healthcare professional for their symptoms compared with 31 participants (34.8%) in the control group. Of those, 416 surgery patients had been hospitalized for their symptoms versus 6 of those in the control group.

The most common symptoms that led to healthcare contact post-surgery were abdominal pain (reported by 489 patients), fatigue (reported by 488 patients), and anemia (reported by 396 patients). The risk of experiencing symptoms was higher in women, patients aged 35 years and younger, smokers, unemployed patients, and among patients who had experienced surgical symptoms prior to surgery.

When asked about their well-being after surgery, 1,394 patients (87.4%) reported improved well-being compared with 113 (8.1%) who reported decreased well-being. Quality of life (QoL) was inversely associated with the number of symptoms a patient experienced.

“Focus on the QoL among patients with many symptoms may be required since such patients are at risk of depression. Development of new weight loss treatments with less risk of subsequent symptoms should be a high priority,” the authors stated.


  1. Gribsholt SB, Pedersen AM, Svensson E, et al. Prevelance of Self-reported Symptoms After Gastric Bypass Surgery for Obesity. JAMA Surg. 2016; doi:10.10001/jamasurg.2015.5110.