All surgeries come with risks. Some procedures have more risks than others. With gastric bypass surgery the risks are not just with the surgery but also with the lifestyle after the surgery. For a successful surgical outcome, it is critical that you understand and follow the post-operative advice you receive from your surgeon, in relation to the quantity and types of food you may eat.
The potential expected benefits of gastric band surgery usually outweigh the risks. Extreme obesity is linked to many health problems, including heart disease, strokes, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. For the more extreme cases, just moving is next to impossible.
However, there are a number of complications associated with all surgeries, which you should be aware of, including:
- Anesthetic complications
- Post-surgical bleeding
- Leaks from the point of incision.
- Blood clots.
- Kidney failure.
As most of these surgical risks are exacerbated by high body fat, you may be asked to lose some weight prior to surgery, by following a very low calorie diet.
You must understand that gastric bypass surgery is not an easy fix. You will need to have strong self control before and after the procedure. You have to watch what you eat and ensure that you get plenty of exercise, just as everybody else who wants to lose weight has to!
Also, you should be aware that as a result of bypassing most of your stomach and part of your small intestine, your body will have difficulty absorbing sufficient nutrients. You will need to take vitamin supplements – such as calcium, iron, protein and vitamin B-12, amongst others.
Unfortunately, another common side effect of gastric bypass surgery is depression. Studies have shown 23% of patients report post-operative depression, often due to unrealistic expectations about how they will feel after the surgery. Many of the problems you had before the surgery will still be there after you have begun to lose weight! This is why it is important to have realistic expectations about what the surgery can achieve for you.
For many morbidly obese patients, gastric bypass surgery is literally a matter of life and death. Even so, do not enter into this procedure lightly. Carefully consider the potential problems before, during and after the surgery and be prepared for them.