Possible Complications of Bariatric Surgery

Possible Complications of Bariatric Surgery

  • Bleeding
  • Complications due to anesthesia and medications
  • Blood clots to legs or lungs
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism
  • Dehiscence (separation of areas that are stitched or stapled together)
  • Infections (abscesses)
  • Leaks from staple lines
  • Marginal ulcers
  • Pulmonary or respiratory problems
  • Spleen injury (To control operative bleeding, removal of the spleen may be necessary.)
  • Stenosis (narrowing of a passage, such as a valve)
  • Death

Long-Term Risks and Possible Side Effects

  • Vomiting
  • Dumping syndrome (diarrhea, hot flashes after sugar intake)
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Gallstones
  • Need to avoid pregnancy temporarily
  • Nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, excessive sweating, increased gas, and dizziness
  • Ineffective weight loss or weight re-gain
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Hernia (open procedure)
  • Small bowel obstruction
  • Anastomotic stricture
  • Hair loss
  • Skin sagging

Negative Psychosocial Outcomes

Currently, there is no permanent “cure” for this nationwide epidemic of obesity, however, Roux-en-Y (RNY) gastric bypass or adjustable gastric band surgeries are effective tools to help control weight. Bariatric surgery is not meant to be cosmetic surgery. Bariatric surgery’s purpose is to improve health problems that would otherwise lead to disability or an early death.

Patients must have a history of documented dietary weight loss attempts, which have failed to achieve permanent weight loss. To ensure a safe and successful outcome after surgery, patients must be motivated to make a lifelong commitment to recommended diet changes, daily vitamin supplementation and exercise. In addition, close medical follow-up with the surgeon is required.

If you choose to have bariatric surgery, your choice should be based on discussions between you and your doctor, including goals and strategy for long-term care.

Patient selection for bariatric surgery is based on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) criteria:

  • 100 pounds or more above ideal body weight or a BMI of 40 or greater
  • BMI of 35 or greater with one or more obesity-related health condition

Expect the pre-qualification process for bariatric surgery to include a series of medical tests. The Bariatric Coordinator, a Bariatric Dietitian, a psychologist, medical specialists, and other support staff members will help prepare you for a safe and successful surgery. We, along with your insurance carrier, require psychological, medical, and nutritional clearances prior to surgery. Each healthcare professional will help you prepare for the changes and challenges that lie ahead.

We recommend that you check with your insurance carrier for benefits regarding gastric sleeve, RNY gastric bypass, or adjustable gastric band surgeries since all insurances have different requirements, and bariatric surgery is not always a covered benefit. If your insurance does not cover bariatric surgery, self-pay is an option if you meet all the criteria discussed.