Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric weight loss surgery is often a good option for those wanting to lose a considerable amount of weight. Many people who have this type of surgery have tried numerous times to use diet, exercise and medications to lose the weight and have failed. Weight loss surgery is a life changing procedure and often results in a considerable amount of weight loss. While there are many benefits of this surgery, there are risks involved, as well.

Before a doctor recommends any patient to have weight loss surgery, he or she will carefully consider each patient and their case. Sometimes, even though a person is very overweight, he or she might not be an ideal candidate for the surgery. This is usually because that person has other health issues or illnesses that will become worse after this surgery. It is also so that they have a less chance of developing serious side effects and complications.

Post Surgery

If you are considering any type of weight loss surgery, it is vital that you know and understand the risks of the surgery. There are both short term side effects and this surgery can also cause some long-term effects. Right after surgery, patients will feel some degree of discomfort. This is due to the place of the incision.

With a laparoscopic surgery, the incisions are smaller and the healing and discomfort in the area is less than with an open procedure. For patients that have an open procedure, such as in a gastric bypass, there will generally be more discomfort while the incision heals.

During the first couple of weeks, patients will only be able to tolerate a liquid diet. Anything other than liquids can irritate the system and cause nausea, vomiting and bowel disorders. In the following weeks more food can be added to the diet, but if too much or the wrong types of food are added, it can also causes undesirable side effects. When the stomach and incision has completely healed, these side effects generally subside.


In addition, patients undergoing certain types of weight loss surgery are more prone to developing a condition called “dumping”. This is when food is passed very quickly from the stomach to the large intestines.

As a result, the patient will experience nausea, abdominal cramping, sweating, dizziness and diarrhea. Almost all gastric bypass patients report this condition, but those who have the Lap-Band surgery rarely report this as a side effect.

More Serious Side Effects

Other, more serious side effects of this surgery can include stomach ulcers, acid reflux, heartburn, bloating from gas, constipation, difficulty swallowing, nausea and vomiting, dehydration and in serious cases, death. With the Lap-Band weight loss surgery, the band can deflate causing leakage or the band can slip. In other cases, the band can erode into the stomach requiring a second surgery or the stomach pouch can become enlarged. Sometimes, weight loss surgery can also cause obstruction of the stomach, which can be caused by food, swelling, improper band placement and stomach twisting. There are other side effects from this type of surgery that a doctor can discuss with each patient.