Weight Loss Surgery

What are the risks?

Risks and Complications of Bariatric Surgery
Surgery should not be considered until you and your physician have evaluated all other options. As with all surgeries, there are risks associated with this procedure. If complications occur during the operation, your doctor may choose to perform open surgery. Your physician must determine if you are an appropriate surgical candidate.

Weight loss surgery is typically reserved for those individuals 100 pounds or more overweight (Body Mass Index [BMI] of 40 or higher) who have not responded to other non-invasive therapies such as diet, exercise, medications, etc.
In certain circumstances, less morbidly obese patients (with BMIs between 35 and 40) may be considered for surgery if they have two or more associated co-morbidities such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension, sleep apnea, GERD, osteoarthritis, etc.

Important Considerations
Surgery should not be considered until you and your physician have evaluated all other options. The proper approach to weight-loss surgery requires discussion and careful consideration of the following with your physician. These procedures are in no way to be considered as cosmetic surgery.

  • The surgery does not involve the removal of adipose tissue (fat) by suction or excision.
  • A decision to elect surgical treatment requires an assessment of the risk and benefit to the patient and the meticulous performance of the appropriate surgical procedure.
  • The success of weight loss surgery is dependent upon lifelong lifestyle changes in diet and exercise.
  • Problems may arise after surgery that may require re-operations.
  • Success of surgical treatment must begin with realistic goals and progress through the best possible use of well-designed and tested operations.

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 your doctor. Possible risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Bleeding
  • Complications due to anesthesia and medications
  • Conversion to open surgery
  • Death
  • Deep vein thrombosis causing pulmonary embolism
  • Dehiscence
  • Heart attack
  • Hernias - Internal and/or External
  • Infections
  • Leaks from intestinal connections or staple line breakdown 
  • Marginal ulcers
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Pulmonary problems requiring ventilation support
  • Spleen injury
  • Stroke