Weight Loss Surgery Risks

Weight loss surgery is a major surgery, and as with any major surgery, has many risks that are associated with it. These risks can be encountered by anyone having abdominal surgery and should not be minimized or ignored; nor should they be exaggerated. Understanding the risks that are involved and coming to terms with them is a key factor when considering weight loss surgery.

Abdominal Surgery Risks: These risks are associated with any abdominal surgery:

  • Bleeding
  • Blockage of the intestines (caused by adhesions)
  • Heart or lung complications
  • Hernia Infections (of the incisions)
  • Pulmonary embolism (resulting from a blood clot in the veins of the legs)
  • Rejection of suture materials
  • Risks associated with general anesthesia

Complications Specific to Weight Loss Surgery:

  • Blockages (food becomes lodged in the stoma causing discomfort and preventing additional food from reaching the stomach / pouch)
  • Dumping (Light headedness, sweating, or heart palpitations as the intestines try to process concentrations of sugar)
  • Formation of ulcers in the stomach or small intestines (smokers carry the highest risk of this)
  • Hair loss (usually due to vitamin deficiency)
  • Leakage (Fluid from the stomach or intestines leaks through the sutures or staples resulting in infection of the abdominal cavity)
  • Strictures (Blockage caused by formation of scar tissue around staple lines / openings in the stomach and small intestines)
  • Vitamin deficiency (Iron, vitamin B-12, and fat soluble vitamins such as A,D, and E are sometimes mal-absorbed following weight loss surgery)