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Risks and Potential Complications of Bariatric Surgery

Make well informed decisions by assessing the risks associated with bariatric surgery.

Like any surgical procedure, weight loss surgery carries its own set of risks and complications. At Alabama Surgical Associates in Huntsville, Alabama, we help patients who are interested in weight loss procedures consider the potential risks and the potential benefits in order to make an educated decision that is best for their health.

Dr. Doucette will explain potential bariatric surgery risks to you during your pre-surgical consultation and discuss them as they relate to your health and medical history.

Complications and Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric procedures, such as gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery, are generally considered to be safe and effective.1 Surgical complications are adverse events that may occur during surgery or immediately after surgery. Long-term risks are conditions that may occur long after surgery. Your risk of surgical complications may be lowered by choosing an experienced, board-certified surgeon.

Potential Complications of Bariatric Surgery

  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Perforation of the stomach or intestines
  • Lung or breathing problems
  • Blood clots in the lungs or legs
  • Infection
  • Death, in very rare cases2

Long-Term Risks of Bariatric Surgery

  • Stomach or intestinal ulcers
  • Hernias at the surgical site and/or abdominal incision
  • Low blood sugar
  • Anemia
  • Malnutrition due to vitamin, mineral, protein, or calorie deficiency
  • Digestive issues
  • Sagging skin after weight loss3

Medications That You May Need to Avoid After Bariatric Surgery

  • NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen, ketorolac, etc.)
  • Salicylates (aspirin)
  • Macrolide Antibiotics (erythromycin, azithromycin and clarithromycin)
  • Tetracycline Antibiotics
  • Ketolide Antibiotics (telithromycin)

Psychological and Emotional Effects of Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery involves significant lifestyle changes and the psychological impact of surgery will be different for each patient. Many patients experience a boost in confidence and self-esteem. They find the lifestyle changes that are required for weight loss success have a positive influence on their lives. However, some patients may experience mood swings, depression, or anxiety after surgery. This can be due to the challenge of adjusting to new lifestyle habits or a lack of support from friends and family.

At Alabama Surgical Associates, our weight loss experts offer patients support and guidance before and after surgery to optimize your experience. Read our How to Prepare for Bariatric Surgery Guide to get tips for a successful pre and post surgical experience.

The Rewards and Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

There are many factors to take into consideration when you decide whether or not to have surgery. For patients who do decide to have gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery, the potential benefits outweigh the relatively small chance of complications. Potential benefits include:3

  • Significant loss of excess weight
  • Reduction or elimination of Type 2 diabetes
  • Improvement in sleep apnea, hypertension, and asthma
  • Reduction in daily medications
  • Increase in self-confidence

Contact Alabama Surgical Associates

Dr. Doucette and the team at Alabama Surgical Associates are dedicated to helping people improve their health. Contact our office with any questions or to schedule a consultation appointment.

1 Colquitt JL, Pickett K, Loveman E, Frampton GK. Surgery for weight loss in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Aug 8; (8):CD003641
3 Pories, WJ. Bariatric Surgery: Risks and Rewards. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Nov; 93(11 Suppl 1): S89–S96. doi: 10.1210/jc.2008-1641