What are bariatric surgery problems?
Bariatric surgery is a group of surgical procedures that aim to help obese or overweight patients to lose weight and improve their overall health (including helping diabetic patients). Bariatric surgery includes sleeve gastrectomy, gastric band, or a gastric bypass. Even though all surgical procedures carry the possibility of risks and complications, sometimes problems do occur. These problems may be easily resolved, some might require further surgery, but some can be longer-term problems.
Complications of bariatric surgery may include:
Symptoms of bariatric surgery problems:
Some risks of bariatric surgery include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Acid reflux
- Anaesthesia risks
- Obstruction of the stomach
- Weight gain
- Failure to lose weight
- Inability to eat much food
Some longer-term complications associated with bariatric surgery include:
- Low blood sugar
- Dumping syndrome (when food is ‘dumped’ too quickly into the intestines before it is properly digested, which can cause nausea, vomiting, pain and diarrhoea)
Can bariatric surgery problems be prevented?
Although complications of weight loss surgery cannot be predicted, it can be in the patient’s best interests to do the following before surgery:
- Stop smoking
- Reduce their body mass index (BMI)
- Increase the amount of exercise they do
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Reducing high blood pressure
To reduce the risk of long-term complications occurring, the following can help:
- Supplementing your diet with vitamins.
- Chopping food into smaller pieces.
- Avoiding foods that are not easily digested, or lead to dumping syndrome.
Additionally, before bariatric surgery, it is standard procedure to receive treatment to reduce your risk of blood clots by taking blood-thinning medicine or wearing specialised leg stockings.
Treatments for bariatric surgery problems:
If your surgical wound becomes infected, you will likely be prescribed a course of antibiotics, with the infection being monitored for improvement.
If your gastric band has slipped, you will require additional surgery to put it back in place or remove it, if necessary.
Excess skin is often an inevitable consequence of bariatric surgery, and in extreme cases, some patients might decide to have the excess skin removed in further surgery.
If you have a leak in your gut, surgery will be required to fix it. A blocked gut can be treated by using an endoscope, inserted down the throat to clear the blockage.
After bariatric surgery, you will have frequent blood tests to ensure that you are not becoming malnourished, and if it is detected, treatment is given.
Developing gallstones may require surgery to remove the gallbladder.
Which type of specialist treats bariatric surgery problems?
Bariatric surgery and treating any related risks or complications are treated by surgeons specialising in bariatric surgery.