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Benefits and Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a serious approach to losing weight and regaining mobility, health, and self-confidence. However, you should not consider bariatric surgery until you have explored all other options and you have given careful thought to the benefits and risks. Your discussion should include the following points:

  • Bariatric surgery is not cosmetic surgery.
  • Bariatric surgery is not liposuction — it does not involve removing fat by suction or surgery.
  • You must commit to long-term lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, which are keys to the success of bariatric surgery.
  • Complications after surgery may require further operations or procedures.

Benefits of bariatric surgery

In addition to losing weight and feeling better, patients who undergo bariatric surgery significantly reduce medical problems, risks for developing cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, reflux, psychiatric problems, arthritis and breathing problems.

Weight Loss

Weight loss results vary among patients depending on dietary and exercise patterns as well as genetic, social, emotional and cultural factors. It is hard to accurately predict who will lose a lot of weight after bariatric surgery and who will lose a smaller amount. Those who do best with weight loss avoid snacks, eat nutritious foods, are more active, continue to work with support programs and follow up with their doctor. Those patients who show a less than average weight loss over time often do not change their eating and exercise patterns or return to snacking.

Potential Risks of bariatric surgery:

As with any surgery, there may be immediate and long-term complications and risks after bariatric surgery. These include:

  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Gallstones
  • Blood clots or embolus
  • Dehydration
  • Failure to lose weight
  • Selective food intolerance
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Death
  • GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease)
  • Inflammation of the esophagus, gallbladder, or stomach
  • Dumping syndrome, which occurs when food (especially sugar) moves from the stomach into the small bowel too quickly
  • Leakage from connections
  • Hernia

What to Expect from Bariatric Surgery