Like any other surgical procedure, bariatric surgery does come with its share of potential complications. Depending on which bariatric surgery you opt for the complications will vary but there are some typical complications that are common to most weight loss surgeries.
Understanding the risks, and planning for them ahead of time are the best tools you have at being able to manage and overcome anything that should arise. Your doctor will help you understand in greater detail which potential complications are more likely for you based upon your individual situation.
Complications and risks of bariatric surgery can be broken down in to two major groups. There are short term complications that will more commonly be experienced in the period of time immediately following your weight loss surgery. This time frame is typically defined as the 30 days following surgery. The second group are those that fall under long term complications or any complications experienced past 30 days and for the months and years following.
Short Term Complications and Risks
According to a study by the National Institute of Health, Within 30 days of bariatric surgery, 4.1% of patients had at least one major adverse outcome, defined as death, development of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs or in the pulmonary artery of the lungs, repeat surgeries, or failure to be discharged from the hospital within 30 days of surgery.”
Short term complications seem to be heavily influenced by the overall health of the patient leading up to surgery, with those patients who have a higher BMI and larger amount of health conditions at a higher risk of post surgery short term complications.
Short term complications can include:
- Pneumonia – Excess weight places extra stress on the chest cavity and lungs
- Blood clots in the legs (venous thrombosis)
- Infections at the incision site
- Leaks around the staples
Long Term Complications and Risks
Long term complications can also vary between the different weight loss surgeries and can range from the potentially severe to minor.
Long term complications can include:
- A narrowing or stricture of the opening (stoma) between the stomach and intestine can occur.
- A hernia or weakness in the incision can sometimes occur and would need to be surgically repaired
- Patients may suffer from nutritional deficiencies
- Frequent dehydration is seen as patients ability to take in fluids is reduced
- Depression – the psychological aspect of surgery must not be overlooked as people can sometimes have a hard time dealing with such drastic change after surgery
The overall complications and side effects of bariatric surgery can also include common ailments that go along with such a dramatic body transformation. This includes:
- Joint soreness
- Low energy level
- Hair & skin changes
Your doctor will discuss all of the potential risks that could affect you and your specific surgery and help you understand how to better prepare for your surgery and overcome whatever complications should arise.