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What are the risks of weight loss surgery?

What are the risks of weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery can benefit your life in many ways; including overall improvements with your health, confidence and even increased life expectancy- but as with any form of surgery, it may come with notable (however unlikely) risks. Before contemplating weight loss surgery, you should carefully consider and understand all the potential risks.

The types of risks vary depending on the type of surgery that you choose, as some procedures may be seen as more invasive than others. Some risks can result is serious health concerns, whilst others are of a more cosmetic nature. The different risks can be separated into two subcategories: during or immediately after surgery and long-term risks. This article is going to delve deeper into these different types of risks, ensuring you have the correct knowledge to assist you in making the right decision for you.

Remember that these consequences are very rare, and The Hospital Group have the surgical knowledge and aftercare experience to prevent these from happening as much as they possibly can.

What are the potential risks during or immediately after weight loss surgery?

There are risks that could potentially occur during or immediately after weight loss surgery- but first it is important to understand WHO is at greater risk of developing these issues. Patients who have high blood pressure, a BMI of 50 or above, are over 45 years of age or have suffered blood clots in the past are classed as higher risk.

Here is a list of immediate risks that may occur, however unlikely:

  • Internal bleeding and potential deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in your legs)
  • Blood clots in your lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • Stomach perforation and injuries to the spleen
  • An adverse reaction to the anaesthetics
  • The potential of leaks in your gastrointestinal system
  • Incisions may also become infected and hernias may occur at the incision site

What are the long-term risks associated with weight loss surgery?

There are also a few different risks associated with weight loss surgery that can take place sometime after, depending on the type of surgery:

Blood clots- Following weight loss surgery with The Hospital Group, you will be given quality treatment to reduce the chance of blood clots, such as blood-thinning medication and special blood-flow stockings. Surgery is one of the biggest causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – which applies to all surgeries and not just weight loss. The biggest issue when it comes to blood clots is the likelihood of the patient staying in bed for long periods of time after surgery, which can cause the blood flow to slow down in your legs.

Gallstones– Another one of the long-term risks of gastric and bypass surgery is the development of gallstones, which are small, hard stones in the gallbladder – these are common when people lose weight too quickly and can be very painful for the patient. A gallstone will present itself as an intense abdominal pain that can last between 1-5 hours. At The Hospital Group, we provide an excellent aftercare plan which will help to ensure that your weight loss stays at a more gradual, safe rate to avoid the onset of gallstones.

Stomal Stenosis – This is a common complication for patients who undertake weight loss surgery (occurring in 1/5 of patients), that occurs when the hole that connects the stomach pouch to the small intestine becomes blocks by a piece of food – presenting itself as constant vomiting. Ensuring that your food is cut into smaller pieces following your surgery will help to prevent this.

Movement of the gastric band – While this is uncommon, particularly when highly skilled surgeons perform the operation, one of the risks of gastric surgery is that the gastric-band could slip out of place. This can result in food leaking through between the join of the stomach and the small intestine. Patients will usually feel sick and get heartburn to indicate where this has happened, and correctional surgery will be required.

Excess folds – Whilst this type of risk is less of a health concern compared to the others, drastic weight loss can leave you with folds of skin that are uncomfortable and you may feel self-conscious about. Some patients go on to have further surgery to remove the folds of skin. You can help to improve skin health through staying hydrated by drinking lots of water, not smoking and protecting your skin from the sun – this can help reduce the amount of loose skin that appears after weight loss.

Malnutrition and hair loss – Patients who undertake gastric bypass surgery and more likely to be at risk of vitamin and iron deficiencies – due to these usually being absorbed in the stomach and upper intestines which have now been removed. These deficiencies are easily avoidable with oral supplements and injections which are available as part of The Hospital Group’s aftercare plan. Within the first 6-12 months after surgery, hair loss can occur. Although, this is only temporary for most patients.

Ulcers and Hair loss – A very rare result with weight loss surgery can be ulcers forming in the stomach or small intestine – symptoms include abdominal pain and vomiting – more common in smokers and patients who are currently taking medications for arthritis.

Why choose The Hospital Group for weight loss surgery?

The Hospital Group are specialists in weight loss surgery, offering surgical and non-surgical options to our patients. Our multi-disciplinary team is always available to offer ongoing advice and support during your patient journey- along with an expert dietician who is available to provide nutritional lifestyle support should you require it. We are there for you throughout your whole weight loss journey and will provide all the relevant information where relevant.

If you are looking for more information on weight loss surgery, or if you are looking to meet with one of our experts, then book your FREE appointment today here


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