Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is major surgery and there are some risks, even with minimally invasive surgical techniques. The operation requires general anesthesia and typically one to four days of hospitalization. Most patients require several weeks of physical recovery and aftercare before feeling “normal” again.

General Risks

All abdominal operations carry these risks:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the incision and/or abdomen
  • Potential problems with heart and/or lungs including blood clots
  • Obstruction (blockage) of the intestine caused by scar tissue
  • Hernia through the incision or inside of the abdomen
  • The usual risks associated with general anesthesia — these risks are no greater for morbidly obese patients than those of normal weight

The risk of death associated with weight loss surgery is extremely low — less than 0.5%.

Early Risks

Early risks are those where complications occur within the first few days following surgery.

  1. Leakage of fluid from the stomach or intestine through the staples or sutures which results in abdominal infection. This potentially serious (but rare) complication frequently requires a second operation for drainage of infection.
  2. Injury to spleen. This is a very uncommon complication which may require removal of the spleen if bleeding cannot be controlled.

The incidence of early postoperative complications is under 5% for most types of bariatric surgery.

Late Risks

Late risks are complications that may occur weeks, months or even years following surgery. These vary considerably according to the operation performed. All risks will be discussed in detail with the surgeon during your initial consultation.

Because the LAP-BAND and sleeve gastrectomy procedures are still relatively new, there is the potential for other complications which are not yet known. This is one more reason why we stress the importance of postoperative follow-up care at NJ Bariatrics. Your long term health is our primary concern.

Meet with a NJ bariatric surgeon one-on-one to discuss the risks and benefits.

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