Risks of Bariatric Surgery
All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk,
and bariatric surgery is no exception. Weight loss surgery
is fundamentally an elective procedure, and the risks must
be carefully considered before undergoing an operation. Your
specific questions may be best addressed by your surgeon,
but some general information on risks of the procedure follows.
Bariatric surgery requires the use of general anesthesia.
This requires placement of a temporary breathing tube during
the procedure. This, in and of itself, may cause complications,
ranging from a sore throat or a chipped tooth, to death, in
The overall rate of complications in bariatric surgery is
between 5 and 10 percent, with most of these complications
being minor. More common complications include wound infections
and atelectasis, a condition where the smallest portions of
the lung remained closed. Ultimately, atelectasis may lead
to pneumonia. Additionally, the stress of bariatric surgery
may worsen heart problems in surgical patients. Some patients
develop blood clots in their legs, known as deep venous thrombosis
(DVTs). Finally, any new intestinal connection that is created
may not heal well, resulting in a leak.
Any of these complications may occur in an operation, some
people are at higher risk for complications than others. Please
consult your doctor for more information.