Bariatric Journal

Risks of Bariatric Surgery

What are the Risks of Bariatric Surgery? – How to Reduce the Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Understanding the risks of bariatric surgery is extremely important to be considered an excellent candidate for weight-loss surgery. Learn the various complications and how to reduce their occurrence. The difficulties that may accompany weight loss surgery depend on the type of operation, the skills of the surgeon and the individual patient peculiarities. Nevertheless, the majority of these complications only occur in less than 10% of all patients and almost never result in death. The good news is that they can further be minimized through various ways.

It is also important to know that obesity has been associated with a high risk of premature death and reduced quality of life. Therefore, remaining obese is far more risky than going for a weight loss surgery. In summary, if you go for a bariatric surgery, the benefits are enormous: You lose from 20-90% of your excess weight (depending on the type of procedure), health problems that are associated with obesity are reversed or ameliorated, discrimination/stigmatization reduces, your likelihood of premature death is abolished, and mental health improves, and your life is prolonged.

How can the risks of weight loss surgery further reduce?

Take an informed decision.

It is essential that you get adequate information about each of the weight loss procedures, know the benefits and likely complications associated with each of them. You should also get yourself evaluated by your physician to understand which of the surgical procedures will be the best for you. All these will enable you to choose a process that is less risky with a satisfactory outcome. An adjunct to this is to educate your family members as well as they would be the one to encourage you throughout your weight loss journey.

Shed some weight before surgery

Many studies have shown that the more your body mass index (BMI) before surgery, the higher the risk of complications. This requires that you adhere to your dietary and exercise plans before surgery, a requirement by most insurance companies before your surgery is financed.

Get yourself optimized before surgery

Obesity is usually associated with a lot of disease conditions, some of which may increase your probability of having complications during and after surgery. Thus, as part of your pre-operative preparation, you should ensure that your blood pressure is well controlled if you are hypertensive. Your blood sugar should be within acceptable level days-weeks before surgery. For those with sleep apnea or gastro-esophageal reflux disease, a thorough assessment by the physician is required to optimize them and also choose the most appropriate weight loss surgery.

Go for the best surgeon

It is no longer news that the experience of the surgeon is one of the factors that determine the outcome of any weight loss surgery. A surgeon with the best skills and experience will translate to a reduced risk of complications and satisfactory result.

Engage in exercise as early as possible

Getting out of bed shortly after surgery can help prevent specific life-threatening complications such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. However, always try to comply with the level of exercise that your health can bear at any particular time by adhering to your physician’s advice.

Make your surgeon your best friend during the recovery period

All complaints should be directed to your surgeon. Although you may get useful information form family, friends, weight loss forums, etc. your will, however, give you the best of expert answers/guidance to any complaint. You should also follow the advice of your dietician as this will save you from nutritional deficiencies (one of the significant complications of weight loss surgeries).

While some complications are general (common to all weight loss procedures), others are procedure specific. Some of the possible complications after weight loss surgeries are listed below.

  • Anesthetic complications
  • Damage to other organs during surgery
  • Anastomotic/staple-line leakage
  • Bleeding, peritonitis
  • Wound infection, intra-abdominal abscess
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism
  • Marginal ulcers
  • Pouch dilatation
  • Nausea, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Port infection/dislocation,
  • Band slippage and band erosion
  • Hernias
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Bowel perforation
  • Hair loss
  • Gastric fistula
  • Gallstones
  • Dumping syndrome
  • Esophageal dilation/esophagitis

In summary, weight loss surgery risks are negligible when compared to the risk of remaining obese. They are procedure specific and also depend on individual patient factors. However, a lot can be done to minimize their chances of occurrence further.

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