Navigate Up

Bariatric Surgery Risks, Complications and Side Effects

All surgical procedures carry risks. Your surgeon will explain all potential bariatric surgery complications, both short and long term, and answer any questions.

What Are the Most Common Post-Op Risks and Side Effects Associated with Bariatric Surgery?

Some bariatric surgery risks include:

  • Acid reflux
  • Anesthesia-related risks
  • Chronic nausea and vomiting
  • Dilation of esophagus
  • Inability to eat certain foods
  • Infection
  • Obstruction of stomach
  • Weight gain or failure to lose weight

Bariatric Surgery Long-Term Risks

Bariatric surgery carries some long-term risks for patients, including:

  • Dumping syndrome, a condition that can lead to symptoms like nausea and dizziness
  • Low blood sugar
  • Malnutrition
  • Vomiting
  • Ulcers
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Hernias

Overview of Bariatric Surgery Risks and Complications by Procedure

Risks and side effects vary by bariatric procedure. The following list is not all-inclusive, but briefly outlines risks of gastric bypass, laparoscopic adjustable gastric band, and gastric sleeve. Your bariatric surgeon will make sure you understand the risks and complications of your specific procedure.


Bariatric ​Procedures

  Gastric Bypass Laparoscopic Adjustable 
Gastric Band


Band slippage, erosion, deflation   X  
Blood clots     X
Breakage X X  
Dumping syndrome X    
Gallstones (risk increases with rapid or
substantial weight loss)
X    X
Hernia X X  X
Internal bleeding or profuse bleeding of the
surgical wound
X    X
Leakage X   X
Perforation of stomach or intestines X    X
Port malposition   X  
Pouch/anastomotic obstruction or bowel obstruction X    
Protein or calorie malnutrition X    
Pulmonary and/or cardiac problems X    
Skin separation  X X  X
Spleen or other organ injury X    
Stomach or intestine ulceration X    
​Stricture X X
Vitamin o​​r iron deficienc​​y X    X​

Reducing Your Bariatric Surgery Risks

You can help lower some of the risks and possible side effects by:

Our Presurgical Lifestyle Program can help you prepare for bariatric surgery.​​

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |