Weight loss surgery is a very safe and effective way to achieve significant weight loss. The surgery is usually performed using advanced minimally invasive techniques to minimise injury to surrounding healthy tissue and to ensure a quick and smooth recovery. However, with any type of surgery, there are some risks involved.
Possible surgical risks include:
- Anaesthetic side effects
- Failure to heal
- Breathing difficulty
Risks associated with specific weight loss procedures:
- Gastric Band: Displacement of the band, injury to the food pipe or stomach, and vomiting. Although device-related problems can occur long-term with the band, these are usually easily corrected and are typically rare.
- Gastric Sleeve: Leakage from the sleeve, stomach distention, and acid reflux are some of the possible risks with the procedure. The advanced surgical technique used, which is completely different to the old ‘stomach stapling’ operation, ensures such problems seldom occur. Also, there is virtually no risk of malabsorption of protein, vitamins or minerals.
- Gastric Bypass: Stomach distension, obstruction, gallstones, dumping syndrome, perforation of the stomach, hernia, and nutritional deficiency are some of the risks of this procedure. Although this surgery carries more risks, it has a very good track record and is considered an excellent and reliable tool for long term weight loss. To balance out the risks, it is generally recommended for patients that have a body mass index of 50 and above, severe acid reflux, diabetes, or those who have regained weight after other types of weight loss surgery.
Despite the associated risks, the benefits of weight loss surgery far outweigh the risks associated with the surgery or with obesity which include high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, joint problems, and organ damage.