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Bariatric surgery complications

If you’re considering having bariatric surgery, we know you have many questions. One of the most common questions we receive from patients during consultations is “What are the potential complications from bariatric surgery?”

As with any surgical procedure, there are both short-term and long-term risks involved. Below, we’ve listed some of the potential complications of bariatric surgery in general, as well a few of the specific complications associated with three common bariatric procedures (Gastric BypassLaparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band or LAP-BAND; and Sleeve Gastrectomy​).

General Bariatric Surgery Complications

Potential risks and side effects associated with bariatric surgery can be broken down into two main categories: short-term and long-term.

Short-term complications may include:

  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia.
  • Blood clots.
  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Leaks in your gastrointestinal system.
  • Lung or breathing problems.

Long-term complications may include:

  • Bowel obstruction.
  • Dumping syndrome (causing diarrhea, nausea or vomiting).
  • Gallstones.
  • Hernias.
  • Low blood sugar.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Stomach perforation.
  • Ulcers.
  • Vomiting.

Note that bariatric surgery can have fatal complications as well, but that these are exceptionally rare.

Complications Associated with Specific Bariatric Procedures

The above risks and side effects will vary in frequency and severity by bariatric procedure. The risks most associated with three of the more commonly performed bariatric procedures include:

Gastric Bypass

  • Dumping syndrome.
  • Gallstones.
  • Hernia.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Leakage.
  • Perforation of the stomach or intestines.
  • Pulmonary and/or cardiac issues.
  • Skin separation.
  • Stomach or intestine ulceration.
  • Vitamin or iron deficiency.

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (LAP-BAND)

  • Band slippage, erosion or deflation.
  • Hernia.
  • Skin separation.

Sleeve Gastrectomy​

  • Blood clots.
  • Gallstones.
  • Hernia.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Perforation of the stomach or intestines.
  • Skin separation.
  • Vitamin or iron deficiency.

Reducing Your Risk of Complications

Before undergoing your procedure, your bariatric surgeon will discuss the potential risks of your specific surgery with you, and in detail. At the same time, they will review your current lifestyle and overall healthiness.

You will also be provided with a pre-surgical plan to prepare you for surgery and help reduce some of these potential risks and side effects. As part of this plan, you may be asked to lower your body mass index (BMI) and increase your level of exercise — and, if you’re a smoker, quit smoking — before undergoing your procedure.

If you would like to discuss the various bariatric surgery options made available by Dallas Bariatric Center, sign up for a free informational consultation with a weight loss surgeon today.

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