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Disadvantages: Sapala-Wood Micropouch

While the downfalls of the Sapala-Wood Micropouch procedure (or any kind of bariatric surgery for that matter), vary from patient to patient, the possible disadvantages should be noted. Often, the side effects of the Sapala-Wood-Micropouch are few: 

  • narrowing/blockage of the stoma 
  • vomiting if food is not properly chewed or if food is eaten to quickly


One of the more common disadvantages of the operation is the "dumping syndrome". If you eat refined sugar (sucrose), which is in candy, soda pop, and ice cream, you can become nauseated and feel clammy and faint. This feeling is called the "dumping reaction." Most patients have this dumping reaction at some time. Here is what happens: Concentrated sugar leaves the Sapala-Wood Micropouch and enters the small intestine directly without being processed by the bypassed stomach. When this happens, your blood sugar drops very rapidly because insulin is released from the pancreas. As a result, you break out in a sweat, feel faint, become nauseated, and may even have diarrhea.

The dumping reaction is not life-threatening. But in some cases it can be serious. So, most Sapala-Wood Micropouch patients learn to stay away from refined sugars and use fructose sugars instead. Fructose is the sugar in fresh fruit, and it rarely causes the dumping reaction. Artificial sweeteners are also recommended.

Another pitfall to the operation is that it is not available laparoscopically (via camera) which may require patients to stay in the hospital longer and have regularly frequent check-ups.

In rare instances, patients may experience life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a leading cause of death following gastric bypass operations for morbid obesity. Although its incidence appears to be stable, the number of bariatric operations performed annually is increasing considerably; hence, the fatal PE is potential.

In a study conducted by Mexican bariatric experts, roughly 33% of patients since 1980 demonstrated a combination of risk factors recognized as significant for the development of postoperative complications. In such patients, prophylactic IVC filter placement is highly recommended. Filter placement for other factors, such as age, body build, hypercoagulable state, etc., should be considered on an individual basis.

While pulmonary embolism is one such risk involved in the Sapala-Wood Micropouch procedure, it is a rare occurrence and often only seen in patients who fail to adhere to proper nutritional and exercise regiments.

Again, the Sapala-Wood Micropouch method in bariatric surgery is considered a very safe and reliable means to achieving weight loss, especially in patients who suffer from morbid obesity. With ongoing studies and improvements, the headway for the Sapala-Wood Micropouch continues to grow.