Background: Retroperitoneal sarcoma (RPS) surgery entails multivisceral resection, which may cause postoperative complications. We assessed the effects of complications on survival to identify their predisposing factors in primary (PRPS) and recurrent (RRPS) RPS. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed our institutional database. Severe postoperative complications (SC) were defined as Clavien-Dindo classification ≥ 3. Predisposing factors for complications were investigated, as was their effect on long-term outcomes. Results: In total, 154 RPS resections (78 PRPS and 76 RRPS) performed between January 2008 and December 2018 were included. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy and multifocal tumors were more common in RRPS than PRPS (34.2% vs. 11.3%, P = 0.001 and 42.1% vs. 10.3%, P < 0.001, respectively). Although surgical extent in RRPS was limited compared with PRPS (weighted organ score 1 vs. 2, P = 0.01; transfusion requirement 23.6% vs. 35.8%, P = 0.04), SC and mortality rates were comparable. SC rates were 30.1% and 35.5% for PRPS and RRPS, respectively. NACT rate tended to be higher in PRPS patients with SC (20.8% vs. 7.4%, P = 0.09), whereas weighted organ score and transfusion requirement were increased in RRPS patients with SC (2 vs. 1, P = 0.01; 40.7% vs. 14.3%, P = 0.009, respectively). PRPS patients with SC had decreased overall survival (35 months, 95% confidence interval [CI] 12.2–57.7) compared with those without SC (90 months, 95% CI 71.4–108.5, P = 0.01). Conclusions: Postoperative complications are associated with impaired outcomes in PRPS but not in RRPS. The negative effects of complications on outcomes should be factored to perioperative management.