Risks of Weight Loss Surgery
For health risks associated with obesity and morbid obesity, click here. Weight loss surgery can offer patients a new lease on life by improving health and mobility, but as with any surgery, it’s important to understand the risks, however remote. If complications occur during the operation, the surgeon may choose to perform open surgery. We must determine if you are an appropriate surgical candidate through medical evaluation.
The proper approach to bariatric surgery requires discussion and careful consideration of the following:
- These procedures are life-saving, and in no way are considered cosmetic.
- A decision to proceed with surgical treatment requires a thorough assessment of the risks and benefits specific to each patient.
- Weight loss surgery is only a tool. For optimal weight loss, long-term changes in behavior, proper diet selection, exercise, and proper medical follow-up are critical for successful results.
- Success of surgical treatment must begin with realistic goals. Patients at Roller Weight Loss & Advanced Surgery will be supplied with all the proper education and information to help facilitate healthy weight loss.
Complications and Risks
As with any surgery, there are operative and long-term complications and risks associated with weight loss surgical procedures that should be discussed with a doctor. Dr. Roller and his staff will be happy to discuss any potential complications. Don’t be afraid to ask us questions! Possible risks include, but are not limited to:
- Leakage from staple or suture lines
- Complications due to anesthesia and medications
- Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis)
- Marginal ulcers
- Pulmonary problems
- Injuries to other organs
- Band slippage or erosion (for Lap Band and Realize Band patients)
Very rarely, a laparoscopic procedure will need to be converted to an open operation. In very rare cases, complications can be fatal.
Possible Gallbladder Complications in Gastric Bypass Procedures
Several studies have shown that people who experience significant weight loss can develop gallstones. Approximately six to eight percent of patients will develop problems with their gall bladder that will require removal. On the other hand, up to 92-94 percent of patients will not have any problems with their gall bladder. In our opinion, the risk of removing the gallbladder at the time of gastric bypass surgery exceeds any potential benefit.
Weighing Benefits vs. Risks of Weight Loss Surgery
While there is some risk associated with bariatric surgery, the benefits of long-term weight loss are immense. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know how difficult it is to keep it off, and weight loss surgery provides an important platform for long-term weight loss. Remember, most major health organizations around the world classify obesity as a disease. Just as appropriate treatment for other diseases can improve symptoms and lead to better health, so can weight loss surgery ease obesity-related health problems. Morbid obesity leads to higher rates of early death. For instance, the life expectancy of a 20-year-old morbidly obese male is thirteen years shorter than that of a 20-year-old male who is at a normal weight. Ultimately, weight loss surgery is not so much about losing weight as it is about living a longer, healthier life. It’s about being there for life’s greatest events and being able to easily participate.
Some of the challenges facing a person after weight loss surgery can be unexpected. Lifestyle changes can strain relationships within families and between married couples. Attending support groups and making sure that people close to you understand the changes in your life is important. You must weigh all the information available to you and decide if the benefits outweigh the potential risks. Bariatric surgery is only a tool. Ultimate success depends on strict adherence to the recommended dietary, physical activity and lifestyle changes.