Bariatric surgery was first done in the 1950s as a way to help weight loss. It restricts the ability of a person to eat less by reducing the capacity of the stomach. With obesity on the rise, which is not beyond correction with traditional methods (food, exercise, etc.), more and more people are considering bariatric surgery. However, though it does serve as a quick fix for morbid obesity, it also has a list of potential complications – both short and long term, ranging from the not-so-serious to quite severe ones. Read on to know more about the pros and cons of bariatric surgery.
- Immediate weight loss: The difference seen after the surgery would be so drastic, with significant weight loss quite immediately after the surgery.
- Improved quality of life: For someone who could not move around due to obesity, their life after bariatric surgery can be filled with gratitude, as they are free to move around and a lot of chores on their own which they otherwise could not have done. Sleep and the ability to exercise are improved, making a huge difference in their lives.
- Reduced dependency on medications: As is well known, morbidly obese people often have other medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol abnormalities that require medications. With weight loss under control, these medications would be reduced and in a few cases, totally stopped if overall health improves.
As promising as it may sound, there are quite a few possible complications with bariatric surgery.
- Immediate complications include mostly surgical complications, including anesthesia risks, blood loss, wound infection, and delayed healing of the surgical incisions. A lot of these can be prevented by choosing a good surgeon.
- A few months later, abdominal hernia and malnutrition can develop, as the person’s overall food intake is reduced. Hernias are seen where the stomach is surgically repaired, leading to the need for another surgery.
- A person’s ability to eat is reduced, thereby causing malnutrition and a host of other medical problems.
- Further down the years, there could be bleeding ulcers in the stomach area, leaking of the new gut connections, blood clots to lungs, and other distant areas, and even a heart attack. These are not common but has happened. A lot also depends on the patient’s lifestyle after the surgery including food habits, smoking habits, activity levels, and health check-ups.
- Malnutrition leading to various vitamin and mineral deficiencies is quite common, and so a person may need supplements post-surgery. Gallstones are also quite common and may need removal.
- In those who are conscious of their appearance, sagging of the skin post-surgery is very common, requiring body contouring.
Thus, bariatric surgery might help you lose weight, however, it comes with many side effects and associated risks. Therefore, it is essential to understand all about it and then make an informed decision.