Surgical Benefits and Risks
Thanks to bariatric surgery, thousands of people have experienced a tremendous improvement in their overall health, well-being and outlook on life. However, if you are considering bariatric surgery, you need to consider both the benefits and potential risks. Listed below are benefits and risks all patients should be aware of before choosing bariatric surgery.
The benefits of bariatric surgery include:
- Significant, sustained weight loss
- Remission of Type 2 diabetes in 84% of patients. The remaining patients typically require less medication than they did before the surgery.
- Lowered blood pressure: hypertension resolves about 80% of the time
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Lowered cholesterol
- Reduced sleep disorders: sleep apnea resolves about 80% of the time
- Improved breathing
- Resolution of symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri
- Relief from acid reflux and/or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Reduced osteoarthritis pain and improved mobility
- Enhanced fertility in younger women
- Reduced risk of cancer. The risk of breast and colon cancer is decreased by 80% in the first three years after gastric bypass.
- Improved mood and self-esteem
If you are considering bariatric surgery, please discuss the following risks with your doctor:
- Leaks may occur from the areas where the bowel is re-approximated, resulting in infection. If leakage occurs, an internal infection can occur from the digestive juices entering the body cavity.
- Blood clots can occur. In order to avoid this problem, the patient receives blood-thinners, wears special compression cuffs during and after surgery and begins taking walks the evening of surgery.
- Dumping syndrome can occur when the stomach’s contents move through the small intestine too rapidly.
- Wound infection, although greatly reduced with laparoscopic surgery, is possible at incision sites.
- Hernias can occur but are extremely rare with the laparoscopic approach.
- Gallstones and/or gallbladder disease can develop due to the body’s rapid weight loss. A medicine taken for the first six months after bypass reduces the risk to 3%.
- Vitamin deficiencies can occur, but can be prevented by taking daily vitamin supplements. Periodic lab testing ensures appropriate vitamin intake.
- As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of death. The first longitudinal studies have shown that risk of death within 30 days after gastric bypass is approximately 0.3%. The National Institutes of Health declare that the risks surrounding gastric bypass are no greater than they are with surgeries such as gallbladder removal or hip replacement.
- Osteoporosis will occur unless the patient takes extra calcium and sometimes vitamin D. This is the most serious long-term problem.
We're Here to Answer Your Questions
If you'd like to learn more about the potential benefits and risks of bariatric surgery, we encourage you to attend a bariatric seminar. There, you will be able to speak face-to-face with our staff about your concerns. We're also here to answer any questions you may have online-- or you can simply call us at 419-291-6777 or 1-800-971-8203 (toll free).