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Post-Operative Health Risks and Complications of Weight Loss Surgery

Vomiting, dumping syndrome, nutritional and other health risks
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Health Complications and Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

Risk of Death

Gastric stomach surgery is a serious procedure, whose complications can cause death in about 1 percent of cases. To reduce the risk of complications, patients should carefully follow the dietary and exercise guidelines laid down by their bariatric surgeon and dietitian. See also: Weight Loss Program With Support to Lose Weight.

Health Complications of Restrictive Surgery

Post-operative health risks of restrictive weight loss surgeries like gastric-banding and stomach stapling include:

Risk of Vomiting

A common complication of restrictive gastrointestinal operations is vomiting, caused when the small stomach pouch is stretched by food particles that have not been chewed well.

Risk of Hernia

10-20 percent of patients require follow-up surgery to correct complications, commonly abdominal hernias. A hernia can be caused by vomiting or straining after surgery before the incision heals. Laparoscopy-assisted surgery greatly reduces hernia risk.

Other Health Complications

These include a 1 percent chance of blood clots occurring in the legs after surgery; a 5 percent risk of infections in the incision area, (non-laparoscopic procedures); breakage of the gastric staple line after Vertical Banded Gastroplasty; band slippage and saline leakage after Adjustable Gastric Banding; and (rarely) bowel obstruction as a result of adhesions caused by scar tissue. Associated complications include stomal stenosis and marginal ulcers.

Health Risks of Malabsorptive Surgery

Post-operative health risks of malabsorptive weight loss surgery like roux-en-y or biliopancreatic gastric-bypass include:

Risk of Dumping Syndrome

The occurs when food in the stomach pouch passes too rapidly into the small intestine. Dumping syndrome is not a health risk per se, but typical symptoms (nausea, feeling faint, sweating and diarrhea) can be very distressful.

Risk of Nutritional Deficiencies

Where gastric bypass involves bypassing the duodenum and a variable length of proximal jejunum, patients have an added risk of developing iron deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin D and calcium absorption may also be reduced since the duodenum and jejunum are the preferential sites of absorption. Bypass patients typically need to follow a life long program of supplemention.

Other Bypass Surgery Complications

About 10-20 percent of bypass patients require follow-up operations to correct complications (eg. hernias). More than one-third of obese patients who have gastric bypass surgery develop gallstones.

Risks of Surgery vs. Risks of Obesity

Bariatric surgeons and weight experts consider the known risks and health dangers of severe obesity to be greater than those resulting from weight loss surgery.

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Laparoscopic or open bariatric surgery, such as gastric banding or bypass is not an easy solution to morbid obesity and weight loss. It is a serious surgical procedure, involving health risks. To produce lasting weight loss it requires a long-term patient commitment to eating a healthy diet and following a regular program of physical exercise. Life-long use of nutritional supplements may also be necessary. So, before deciding, discuss your options fully with your doctor. © 2003-2017 Bariatric-Surgery.Info - Terms - Contact - Information - Resources