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Bariatric Surgery Risks

Bariatric surgery risks and dangers you should be aware of


Bariatric surgery risks need to be known by a patient who is both a candidate and willing to undergo weight loss surgery. The procedure is literally a life changing process and careful consideration should be put into making the decision. 

Like all other surgical procedures, bariatric surgery risks exist and health dangers associated with it. Infact it is the differential between the risk of surgery and the dangers of obesity that determine if one should choose surgical intervention. 

Though there are times that it is necessary to save a life it should only be used as the very last resort. SO there is need ot be well informed. For example   "Go Beyond Calories" (Get your FREE copy here)  looks not only at ricks but also likely hood of complications while at the hospital and after; as well as what to do to get the best results among other critical things.

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Bariatric risks include mortality rates as high as 2% within the first 30 days, 3.5% within 90 days and while nearly five out of one hundred will die in one year i.e. 5% risk. 

Complications arising from the procedure are about 7 - 14 persons in a hundred i.e. 7% -14%.

These rates of mortality and complications vary with a number of factors. 

They include the degree of obesity of the patient, conditions of the cardio-pulmonary system, existence of obesity related disease (co-morbidities like diabetes, sleep apnea etc), age, type of weight loss surgery, the hospital etc.

However, the most significant of these factors point to the experience and expertise of the surgeon.

Problems of Bariatric Surgery

The problems commonly associated with bariatric surgery are as follows;

Incisional infections - There is a 5-10% risk that after weight loss surgery you’ll get infection on the incision. This is particularly with open surgery. 

This may not be such a big problem with laparoscopic weight loss surgery. Usually with incisional infections the wound is opened up and allowed to heal from inside. This may leave a larger scar but will rarely become a big problem.

Other Infections - Apart from incisional infection you can get other infections. These include peritonitis which is the infection of the abdominal cavity. This happens if there is leakage of the gastric system into the abdominal cavity. Early detection is critical in this kind of infection. 

There are also chances of bladder infection. This is because as you undergo surgery you will need a catheter. This is a thin piped instrument that is inserted directly into your urethra to directly empty the bladder. Infections unfortunately are not rare with catheters, but it is easily treated with antibiotics. Furthermore you will not be on a catheter for long. 

Other infections you can get include pneumonia, kidney infection and blood infection. Usually to mitigate most of these infections the patient is encouraged to engage in activity within a few months after surgery.

Abscesses - These occur as area in the abdomen fill with pass. As a result of the surgical operation, fluids may collect in different parts of the abdominal cavity. If bacterial is present, the fluids get infected and form the abscess. This is corrected by draining the fluids and providing antibiotics. 

Leaks - This occurs when the operated parts are not completely sealed. When the weight loss staples break or the gastric banding erodes the stomach, gastric fluids may be released into the abdominal cavity resulting to peritonitis. Leaks have a 2% chance of happening in surgery.

Bleeding - At times after surgery the blood vessels may not seal very well and may continue to bleed. Sometimes sealed vessels break and begin to hemorrhage again. Usually the problem can be corrected without having to do a revisional surgery. This has a 5% risk of happening. Bleeding can be encouraged by use of blood thinners used to treat other bariatric surgery complications

Small bowel obstruction - This is more likely to happen with the laparoscopic procedure than open surgery. Has a 2-10% risk of happening.

Stricture - Also referred to as stomal obstruction. This occurs at the point where the new small pouch of stomach is attached to the intestines in the weight loss surgery procedure. This is the passage that alters food from the restricted stomach into the intestines, the passage is called stoma. If the stoma during the healing forms a scar, the scar tissue may end up blocking it. Treatment involves dilation of this passage.

Hernia - This is a condition where the intestines break through the abdominal wall. This happens because the abdominal wall has been weakened by the surgical incision. This condition is more likely with open surgery. To avoid hernia patients are discouraged from strenuous activity for 2-3 months following surgery.

Ulcers - There is an increased danger of developing ulcers with bariatric surgery.

Deep Vein Thrombosis - If you have low mobility after surgery or even prior, you could pool blood in the low extremities (legs). Pooled blood encourages clots that can result to severe consequences. This condition is prevented by encouraging activity few hours after surgery. Patients who have restricted mobility can wear compressing stockings as well as use blood thinners.

Pulmonary Embolus - This will occur if a clot forms and travels to the lungs, preventing measures similar to those of deep vein thrombosis are necessary. Surgeons are usually watchful of this.

Nutritional deficiency - This is a major risk of bariatric surgery; particularly the gastric bypass procedures. Infact after weight loss surgery there is such a change in dietary lifestyle often referred to as the weight loss surgery diet. If you do not follow your surgeon’s instruction, you can suffer some serious malnutrition to the extent of brain damage. 

First you face protein deficiency because of very small amounts of food you can tolerate at a time. Proteins are particularly important during healing and so extra effort is required to include proteins in your daily post surgery diet. 

Similarly you will need to water your micro-nutrients with bariatric surgery. You have a lifetime of Vitamin and mineral supplementation. It includes Calcium, Iron, Vitamin A, D, B12 and B9 (Thiamine). This will help prevent Osteoporosis, Anemia, Brain damage etc. The deficiency of thiamine has been linked to Wernicke’s syndrome, a form of brain damage. 

Hair loss -This is temporary and particularly occurs in the early days after surgery. Hair loss occurs because of low levels of protein. Your body then chooses to sacrifice your hair which is made of proteins to supply the more important functions like healing your scars.

Food intolerance - Due to the small size of the stomach created by surgery, you will tend to react negatively to many foods initially. And though this is temporary, you will most likely never go back to the same variety and quantities of food prior to surgery. For example you will likely be intolerant to red meat for some time so chicken and fish will do. 

But with high sugar food you will experience dumping syndrome. Dumping syndrome is a condition that occurs because the high sugar foods move quickly into the intestines collecting a lot of fluid triggering nausea, vomiting, etc. 

The risks of bariatric surgery are shown to be higher in men than in women. They are also higher in older patients than the younger ones. So a decision of whether or not to go under the knife to lose fat should be very well informed.

You see when it comes to losing alot of body fat, there are two primary things you should do. But if you want to lose belly fat and get a flat stomach or even a six pack; you need to Go Beyond Calories. You need to do more than your regular weight loss strategies. To do this you need two things, just two things. These two are...

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