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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.

Risks of Gastric Bypass:

  • Breakage
  • Dumping syndrome
  • Gallstones (risk increases with rapid or
    substantial weight loss)
  • Hernia
  • Internal bleeding or profuse bleeding of the
    surgical wound
  • Leakage
  • Perforation of stomach or intestines
  • Pouch/anastomotic obstruction or bowel obstruction
  • Protein or calorie malnutrition
  • Pulmonary and/or cardiac problems
  • Skin separation
  • Spleen or other organ injury
  • Stomach or intestine ulceration
  • Stricture
  • Vitamin or iron deficiency

Risks of Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band:

  • Band slippage, erosion, deflation
  • Breakage
  • Hernia
  • Port malposition
  • Skin separation

Risks of Gastric Sleeve:

  • Blood clots
  • Gallstones (risk increases with rapid or
    substantial weight loss)
  • Hernia
  • Internal bleeding or profuse bleeding of the
    surgical wound
  • Leakage
  • Perforation of stomach or intestines
  • Skin separation
  • Stricture
  • Vitamin or iron deficiency

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.

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