What Problems Could Arise After Bariatric Surgery?

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Dr. Blake Movitz

Dr. Blake Movitz

Fellowship trained from the Mayo Clinic in Minimally Invasive Advanced GI Surgery, Complex Endoscopy and Bariatric Surgery.

Are you considering undergoing bariatric surgery? Then, you’ll benefit from reading this comprehensive guide, where we explore the potential challenges and complications that may arise after undergoing weight loss surgery. From understanding the risks to managing post-operative complications, you’ll gain valuable insights into navigating the journey toward a healthier life.

At Detroit Weight Loss Center in Southfield, Michigan, our expert team is dedicated to providing personalized care and support to bariatric surgery patients. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Blake Movitz and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you!

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery (also known as weight-loss surgery or metabolic surgery) involves altering the digestive system to help patients lose weight. This may include procedures like gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, duodenal switch, or gastric banding, each designed to limit food intake or reduce the body’s ability to absorb calories.

While bariatric surgery offers numerous benefits for individuals struggling with obesity and related health issues, it’s important to recognize that these procedures are major surgeries that could carry inherent risks. Additionally, long-term success requires permanent lifestyle changes, including adopting a healthy diet and regular exercise routine.

It’s important to consult a qualified bariatric surgeon in Detroit before undergoing any medical weight loss procedure to ensure personalized care and support.

What Are the Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery can significantly improve the quality of life for many individuals. Following surgery, feelings of constant hunger diminish, allowing patients to focus on healthier eating habits and reducing food preoccupation. The changes in your metabolism help people get the weight off, and keep the weight off. As you lose excess weight, energy levels increase, and everyday activities become more manageable.

Moreover, weight loss surgery often leads to improvements in obesity-related medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea. Many patients experience normalization of blood sugar levels shortly after surgery, reducing or eliminating the need for certain medications.

It’s important to view bariatric surgery as a tool to facilitate weight loss and improve health, rather than a quick fix. Sustainable weight loss and improved quality of life require an ongoing commitment to healthy habits and regular medical follow-up.

Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

While bariatric surgery can yield significant benefits, it also carries certain risks and complications. These bariatric surgery complications are described below.

Leak

Bowel leakage is a serious complication of sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, and duodenal switch surgeries. It is where the bowel contents may escape from surgical connections.

Leaks can lead to symptoms like high heart rate, abdominal pain, fever, and infection. Treatment involves antibiotic therapy, interventional or endoscopic procedures, and surgical repair.

Difficulty Eating

Following gastric bypass surgery, scar tissue may tighten the connection between the new stomach pouch and the intestine, making it difficult for food to pass. This is called a stricture. This issue can be corrected endoscopically by stretching the narrowed opening. Similarly, scar tissue from sleeve gastrectomy may further narrow the banana-shaped stomach, requiring endoscopic treatments or corrective surgery.

Gastric band surgery patients may also experience narrowing in the opening between the upper and lower stomach pouches, which can lead to difficulty eating or heartburn. Loosening the band or repositioning it through laparoscopic surgery may alleviate symptoms. 

Additional Risks

Additional short-term bariatric surgery risks can include:

  • Excessive bleeding: This can lead to complications during surgery and may require blood transfusions.
  • Infection: This can occur at the surgical site or internally, requiring antibiotics or further medical and/or intervention.
  • Anesthesia reactions: Rare but can pose serious risks to patients.
  • Blood clots: Those with higher body weights are at greater risk and they may lead to pulmonary embolism.
  • Lung or breathing problems: Breathing exercises and walking can help mitigate these risks.
 

There also exist some long-term risks associated with weight-loss surgery. These risks vary depending on the type of bariatric procedure performed. They can include:

  • Vitamin Deficiency: Due to changes in vitamin and mineral metabolism, it is required to follow nutritional supplementation and laboratory assessment as instructed by your healthcare provider. 
  • Bowel obstruction: This can result from adhesions or narrowing of the intestines, requiring surgical intervention.
  • Dumping syndrome: Symptoms include diarrhea, flushing, lightheadedness, and nausea after consuming certain foods.
  • Gallstones: May develop due to rapid weight loss post-surgery.
  • Hernias: Can occur at the incision site or within the abdominal wall.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia): Resulting from altered hormone levels and requires dietary adjustments.
  • Malnutrition: Due to decreased nutrient absorption, necessitating dietary supplementation.
  • Ulcers: This can be associated with NSAID use, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. May develop in the stomach or small intestine, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Vomiting and acid reflux: Common post-operative symptoms requiring medical management.
  • Need for revision surgery: In some cases, another weight loss procedure may be needed to address complications or inadequate weight-related outcomes.

Schedule a Bariatric Surgery Consultation Today

If you’re considering bariatric surgery and have questions or concerns about the procedure, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our experienced team at Detroit Weight Loss Center is here to provide expert guidance and support throughout your weight loss journey.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment and get the peace of mind you are looking for. 

Medically reviewed by Blake Movitz, MD, FACS