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The Role of Weight-Loss Surgery in Lisa Marie Presley’s Death

by Madison Thomas
5 comments
Lisa Marie Presley's Death

On Thursday, an autopsy report indicated that Lisa Marie Presley’s death was a result of a small bowel obstruction, a severe and uncommon complication stemming from a previous bariatric surgery.

Lisa Marie Presley, famed singer-songwriter and Elvis Presley’s daughter, passed away after being rushed to a hospital in Los Angeles from her home, where she was found unresponsive. At 54 years old, she died due to complications from her small bowel becoming obstructed and trapped or “strangulated” by scar tissue that formed following her weight-loss surgery, resulting in a dangerous accumulation of acids in her bloodstream.

Bariatric surgery, a procedure carried out on the stomach or intestines to induce weight loss, is typically considered for individuals suffering from moderate to severe obesity who haven’t achieved success with other weight-loss strategies. The range of bariatric procedures includes stomach reduction or rerouting, and placing a band around a stomach section to reduce its size.

Though the autopsy report doesn’t specify the exact type of surgery Presley underwent, experts clarified it was not a sleeve gastrectomy, the most commonly performed procedure. In 2021, 263,000 bariatric surgeries were carried out, as per Dr. Marina Kurian, the president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. However, only about 1% of those eligible for the surgery actually undergo it.

Dr. Kurian emphasizes that bariatric surgery is generally “very safe,” with a major complication rate of around 4% and a mortality risk of about 0.1%, as per ASMBS. She also points out that it’s “safer than gallbladder surgery.”

Possible complications of these surgeries include the formation of adhesions or scar tissue post-surgery, which could lead to intestinal obstructions, explained Dr. Thomas Inge, chief surgeon and a bariatric surgery specialist at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Reviewing Presley’s autopsy report, Dr. Inge observed, “she had a twist of her entire intestine.”

If such an obstruction is not promptly addressed, it could restrict blood flow to the intestine, resulting in the bowel becoming “strangulated.” This could initiate a series of potentially lethal issues, like in Presley’s case, where a toxic build-up of acids in her body caused cardiac arrest.

According to the report, Presley experienced abdominal pain and discomfort on the day of her death. It’s not specified whether this pain was a new symptom. Dr. Inge urges anyone who has undergone abdominal surgery to seek immediate medical attention if experiencing pain, as early diagnosis can potentially rectify the issue.


This article was written with support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group for the Big Big News Health and Science Department. The AP is fully responsible for all content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Lisa Marie Presley’s Death

What caused Lisa Marie Presley’s death?

Lisa Marie Presley died from complications arising from a small bowel obstruction, a rare and severe condition that was linked to her previous bariatric surgery.

What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a procedure performed on the stomach or intestines to induce weight loss, typically considered for individuals dealing with moderate to severe obesity when other methods have failed.

Was the exact type of bariatric surgery Lisa Marie Presley had identified?

No, the autopsy report did not clarify the specific type of bariatric surgery Lisa Marie Presley underwent, but it was confirmed that it was not a sleeve gastrectomy, which is the most common procedure.

How risky are bariatric surgeries?

Bariatric surgery is generally safe, with a major complication rate of around 4% and a mortality risk of about 0.1%, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

What complications can occur after bariatric surgery?

One potential complication is the formation of scar tissue, or adhesions, after surgery, which can lead to obstructions in the intestine. If not treated promptly, this can result in severe and potentially deadly issues.

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5 comments

Jake_B July 15, 2023 - 10:16 am

So sad to hear. she was a great singer just like her dad. weight loss can be a tough journey.

Reply
Karen J July 15, 2023 - 4:16 pm

oh my, thats really tragic. Thought these surgeries were safe, u never know huh? RIP Lisa Marie.

Reply
Johndoe1947 July 15, 2023 - 4:33 pm

Remember folks, nothing comes without risk. Do your research and get 2nd opinions before any surgery. condolences to her family

Reply
musicFan123 July 16, 2023 - 12:26 am

Can’t believe its true, Grew up listening to her music. Sad news indeed, RIP Lisa.

Reply
Lilly Rose July 16, 2023 - 1:10 am

why the heck would she need weight loss surgery? She was so beautiful. I guess everybody has their struggles 🙁

Reply

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