Healthy Living

What Are the Complications of a Bariatric Surgery?

What Are the Complications of a Bariatric Surgery?

Key Takeaways

  • Just like any other type of surgery, bariatric surgery is accompanied by risks and complications.
  • Complications may vary according to the type of surgery performed.
  • Infections, blood clots, and tearing of the incision are some of the expected complications after a surgery is done.

Bariatric surgery, like all other types of surgeries, has its own complications that arise from different causes. Maybe it’s the doctor, the equipment used, or the patients themselves. Complications may vary according to the type of surgery performed.

Major complications could arise if:

  • Something is not done right.
  • An unforeseeable thing happens, which disrupts the patient's healing process.
  • Errors in the procedure itself.

Infections, blood clots, and tearing of the incision are some of the expected complications after a surgery is done.

A bariatric surgery can be performed in two methods: open and laparoscopic. An open surgery requires a bigger cut while a laparoscopic surgery is done by using a small tool that is guided into the area of operation.

Bariatric Surgery Complications

1. General Anesthetic and blood clots

This is a common problem across all surgeries. Anesthetics could cause allergic reactions among other things. The blood clots form in the legs because a patient is required to stay in bed for a long time after the surgery, which is dangerous for them. For this reason, after a bariatric surgery, the patient is encouraged to take walks after a day of staying in bed.

The clots that form in the legs are likely to travel towards the lungs and cause respiratory problems, making it harder for the patient to take in oxygen. Blood clots can also lead to a heart attack or stroke, which can be fatal in the long run.

2. Surgical site infections (SSIs)

When the procedure is complete, a patient may develop a hernia at the incision site. Apart from causing you great pain and delaying the healing process of the wound, the surgical site is also susceptible to internal infections if it is not treated early on.

The signs of infection include an increasing pain, swelling, and redness at the surgical site. If the wound is infected, there will be pus leaking from it. These signs will automatically mean that you have a post-surgical wound infection.

3. Malnutrition

After the surgery, you will have a smaller stomach, which means that you will not be getting enough nutrients for your body. However, you can supplement your diet with essential vitamins and other supplements that you will not get through your daily food consumption.

Moreover, you are advised to eat a nutritious set of food so that despite your small stomach size, you will not be at risk of being malnourished.

However, the procedure called as "vertical sleeve gastrectomy" will ensure that you won't develop such complication. It has been discovered that the patients who underwent the procedure rarely get malnourished.

4. Excess skin due to weight loss

Because of a remarkable weight loss, there is excess skin that will not go back to its original form due to prolonged stretching. It is not a life-threatening situation, but it can be extremely uncomfortable and awkward.

However, there is no need for you to worry since you can have it surgically removed.

5. Calcium deficiency

Bariatric surgery changes the way the digestive tract absorbs the nutrients. This change can lead to a calcium deficiency, which can be life-threatening due to long-term complications such as brittle bones and a stooping back due to the excess weight.

In some rare cases, patients will develop a condition called osteoporosis. This condition leads to bone degeneration. The bones wear down until they become too brittle and very weak. If you have brittle bones, they can easily be fractured or broken even under minimal stress.

 6.  Death

All surgical procedures put patients at the risk of dying because none of them is 100 percent safe. All surgical procedures can lead to death if care is not taken or if something no one anticipated happens and they fail to stop it.

In surgery, any of the following situations can cause death:

Other factors that increase a patient's risk of dying:

  • Having a known pulmonary hypertension condition
  • Being over 45 years old
  • Having a high blood pressure
  • Having obesity-related hypoventilation syndrome

7. Stomal Stenosis

In a gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon creates a hole called the stoma, to connect the stomach pouch and the small intestines. Sometimes, this hole becomes too narrow and could get blocked by food. When this situation happens, you will know because you will feel dizzy and mostly nauseated.

Moreover, the condition leads to a continuous vomiting. It can be remedied by inserting an endoscope that will clear the hole. That is why you are advised to cut your food into small pieces and chew it properly to ensure that this does not happen to you.

8. Food intolerance

After a bariatric surgery, some patients will develop nausea, which will prompt them to avoid certain types of food. Without food, one becomes malnourished, and if the intolerance is severe, the patient will be admitted to the hospital to ensure that he or she will be properly nourished.

However, there is a medication that one can take to reduce nausea.

9. Organ injury during surgery

During the surgery, the surgeon could injure the patient’s internal gastric organs, which will ultimately cause leaks. These leaks could cause infections and abdominal pain. Additionally, if the chemicals produced in the stomach are mixed together, they could create a poisonous concoction that may lead to more complications.

Bottom Line

Bariatric surgery is like all other surgeries, riddled with risks that could arise from events that are not anticipated. However, these risks can be avoided and stopped with proper care. First of all, one should ensure that they get the surgery done by health care professionals at a certified hospital with top-notch doctors who know what they are doing.

Having regular checkups and consuming a healthy diet will ensure that all post-surgery ailments and complications are taken care of in a swift and proper manner. 

Finally, the risks mentioned are preventable and should not scare you in living a healthier lifestyle through a bariatric surgery. These days, modern equipment has guaranteed minimal complications.