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Bariatic surgery is surgery which is intended to help an overweight patient lose weight. It involves modifying the stomach so that the patient cannot eat as much food, essentially forcing the patient to eat a very restricted diet which will lead to weight loss.
The surgery is restricted to severely obese patients, and can involve stomach stapling, the use of a restrictive band, and resection of the intestines. Like any surgical procedure, bariatric surgery can be risky for patients, and the dangers of bariatric surgery should be considered and discussed with a doctor before undertaking a bariatric procedure.
Certain dangers of bariatric surgery apply to all patients, starting with the physiological changes which the surgery forces in the body. All patients will need to eat radically different diets for the rest of their lives, since they will be unable to digest certain foods. Supplemental vitamins and minerals will need to be taken to reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies. The sudden weight loss which accompanies the surgery can also be dangerous, and patients need to be closely monitored by a doctor while they heal.
The dangers of bariatric surgery really begin in the operating room. All surgeries can be accompanied by complications which may lead to infection, injury, or even death. Obese patients are at a much higher risk of surgical complications, making complications one of the primary dangers of bariatric surgery. A skilled surgery and anesthesia team is required to make bariatric surgery safer for patients.
After the surgery, patients are at risk of conventional post-surgical problems, like infection and internal bleeding. Thrombosis, or the formation of a blood clot inside a vein, is also an issue. The dangers of bariatric surgery also include hernias, breakage of stomach staples, bowel and digestive problems, and prolapse of the stomach. Older patients are particularly at risk from the dangers of bariatric surgery, especially if they are over 65.
The risks of obesity are generally agreed to outweigh the dangers of bariatric surgery. Extremely obese people have a better chance of long term survival with bariatric surgery than they do without the procedure. Especially if the surgery is combined with healthy lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise and eating healthy foods, patients can overcome the dangers of bariatric surgery to lead healthy lives. Patients can also greatly reduce their risk of mortality by seeing an experienced surgeon, and patients should never be afraid to ask about a surgeon's experience, success rate, and patient statistics.