What are the Most Common Bariatric Surgery Complications?

Jami Yontz

Bariatric surgery complications include an infection or hernia of the incision, blood clots, gastric dumping syndrome, ulcers, gallstones, and nutritional deficiency. This surgery is a type of procedure performed to enhance the person’s ability to lose weight by decreasing the size of the stomach or reducing the person’s ability to consume large quantities of food. Gastric bypass surgery is the most common type of weight loss procedure, and although many people have shown that these surgical procedures are successful, there are some risks associated.

A person who has undergone bariatric surgery may suffer from diarrhea and nausea if he eats too much, especially of the wrong foods.
A person who has undergone bariatric surgery may suffer from diarrhea and nausea if he eats too much, especially of the wrong foods.

Infections can occur at the incision site or in the stomach from the partial removal during bariatric surgery. Fever, nausea, or discharge from the site could signal an infection. Pneumonia can develop because of increased stress on the heart and lungs during surgery. An incisional hernia can form after surgery if the cut does not properly heal and the tissue becomes weak, allowing internal tissue to push through the incision.

A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used in surgeries to make incisions.
A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used in surgeries to make incisions.

Blood clots can form when the patient is confined to a bed during the recovery period. The clot could travel to the person’s lung, causing a pulmonary embolism, which can result in death. Patients who are overweight or obese are also more likely to form blood clots because of already poor circulation, so proper recovery care should include moving the legs as much as possible, or using leg wraps.

Bariatric surgery is performed to enhance an individual's ability to lose weight.
Bariatric surgery is performed to enhance an individual's ability to lose weight.

Bariatric surgery complications can create dumping syndrome in a patient. Sugary and high-fat foods can cause the bowel to flood with fluid. The person may experience an increased heart rate, sweats, bloating, and cramping. Diarrhea will usually occur with an hour of eating the food.

Ulcers and gallstones can be painful bariatric surgery complications. Gallstones are common for people who lose weight rapidly. Pain in the stomach, upper back, or under the right shoulder as well as nausea, bloating, or heartburn are symptoms of gallstones. Ulcers can develop after gastric bypass surgery in the place where the newly formed stomach pouch attaches to the intestine. Blood that appears in stool or vomit is usually a sign of an ulcer.

Nutritional deficiency can occur if the body no longer absorbs certain nutrients after surgery. Protein, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies can occur and can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, and nerve or neurological damage. Vitamin supplements and a multivitamin should be taken by patients following surgery to ensure that even though their consumption has decreased, they are still absorbing the proper amount of vitamins to prevent bariatric surgery complications.

Gallstones are a common complication of bariatric surgery.
Gallstones are a common complication of bariatric surgery.

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