How Safe is Bariatric Surgery?
Any kind of major surgery carries risk, and bariatric surgery is no exception. The health risks associated with obesity far outweigh the risks associated with bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery brings about changes in the patient’s life that influence the person’s health, self-image and relationships. Quality of life and longevity is improved after bariatric surgery when compared to morbidly obese persons who do not undergo bariatric surgery.
What is essential is an open and transparent channel between the patient and the doctor. The health condition of the candidate for surgery will be assessed in depth and the patient will be informed about all aspects of the surgery. With all the information provided, the patients will be well informed about the risks and actual benefits associated with the surgery. Surgeons advise whether bariatric surgery will be appropriate for you. Not all obese patients qualify to undergo bariatric surgery. Before initiating the weight loss programme, doctors assess the risk factor profile of the patient and counsel accordingly.
There are various types of bariatric surgery and each type of surgery carries different risks and benefits. Your surgeon will consider your health history, BMI, eating habits, obesity-related health risks and your various test results to suggest the type of weight-loss surgery that will be best for you.
What are the real risks?
All surgeries present risks and these risks vary with the patient and their health condition.
Post-surgery only about 10% of patients have complications, which are minor. These include:
- Digestive problems
Only 1% to 5% of patients have any serious or life-threatening complications. These include:
- Pulmonary embolism (blood clot)
- Heart attack
- Serious infections and/or bleeding
Mortality after bariatric surgery is found to be a rare event (Morino M et al.). Mortality rates of bariatric surgery compare favourably to that of other major surgeries (Buchwald et al.). More recent studies reaffirm that mortality associated with bariatric surgery is low, as low as 0.08%-0.35% (Su-Hsin Chang et al.). It can be inferred that the risk of dying from an obesity-related health condition is greater.
After weight-loss surgery, your body may not absorb enough nutrients from the food you consume. You may be required to take supplements as suggested by your doctor. Regular blood tests will allow you to monitor your health status.
Why bariatric surgery?
Obesity is a very real concern. It brings with it conditions that affect the way the patient leads his life. Some of the major and glaring health conditions are diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dyslipidema, metabolic disorders, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, GERD, PCOS, sleep apnea, urinary incontinence, impotence, depression, migraine. The co-morbidities of obesity are responsible for millions of deaths worldwide.
There is no question that a good diet plan and physical activity will not only impart a healthier life, but will also ward off several diseases. However, traditional weight loss approaches often fail in morbidly obese individuals. That is when bariatric surgery can help, if it is appropriate for you. It is an option to be explored only when all other weight-loss interventions have failed.
The decision to opt for weight-loss surgery is a major step. It requires thorough assessment, careful thought and consideration. As a facility that is dedicated to help you realise your weight loss goal, we have highly experienced surgeons who have successfully overseen many bariatric procedures. We perform thousands of surgeries every year and are well-equipped to facilitate your wellness. We can assure you that you are in good hands!