Blog Posts

Is bariatric surgery safe?

March 25, 2021

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding bariatric surgery, and it’s likely that some of what you’ve heard is mere hearsay. But if you’re ready to pursue bariatric surgery to change your life for the better, what you really want to understand is whether or not bariatric surgery is safe.

Surgery requirements

It’s important to understand that bariatric surgery isn’t offered as the first weight-loss option for people. It is often only turned to when individuals are unable to lose weight despite repeated diet and exercise regimens. Many people choose bariatric procedures to improve their health because they are at an elevated risk of life-threatening diseases like heart disease, certain cancers, and Type 2 diabetes. They may already have some health problems related to weight, such as high blood pressure. Regardless, patients are unable to undergo bariatric surgery unless they meet certain guidelines.

Surgery risks

There is always a risk when you undergo surgery under anesthesia, whether it’s for a broken bone or bariatric surgery. Risks of surgery include: excess bleeding, infection of surgery site, blood clots, and reactions to anesthesia. While death is extremely rare, it is important to note that there is risk of death with even the simplest surgeries. With bariatric surgery, you may also experience leaks in the gastrointestinal system. Before undergoing bariatric surgery, your surgery team will conduct thorough tests to ensure you are healthy enough for surgery. You may have to change your habits before surgery, such as eliminating smoking and drinking.

Risks depending on type of bariatric procedure

There are several different types of bariatric surgery—among the most common being gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric banding (the Lap-Band® Procedure). The risk of complications goes up depending on how complicated the surgery you choose is. For instance, during gastric bypass surgery, a small stomach pouch is cut and part of the small intestine is cut and sewn directly into the pouch. During a sleeve gastrectomy, a majority of the stomach is removed. The Lap-Band Procedure, however, does not require any cutting or rerouting of the intestines or stomach, making it a safer, simpler procedure with fewer complications and lower mortality rates. A band is laparoscopically placed at the top of the stomach, creating a smaller stomach pouch. It also does not take as long to perform as other bariatric procedures. The procedure is typically performed in less than an hour, and you can usually return home the same day. It boasts the shortest recovery time of all the bariatric procedures. If for any reason your Lap-Band needs to be removed, it is easily reversible, unlike other bariatric procedures.

Safety conclusion

Despite some risks, bariatric surgery is still considered one of the safest surgeries patients can undergo, especially when you consider the technological advancements made in recent years and the improved aftercare programs. It is also important to note that taking on surgery risks may mitigate the consequences of morbid obesity, such as diabetes, heart disease, and other weight-related health conditions.

The Latest

Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The Lap-Band System is indicated for weight reduction for patients with obesity, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 kg/m2 or a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 with one or more obesity-related comorbid conditions. It is indicated for use only in adult patients who have failed more conservative weight reduction alternatives, such as supervised diet, exercise and behavior modification programs. Patients who elect to have this surgery must make the commitment to accept significant changes in their eating habits for the rest of their lives.

The Lap-Band System is not recommended for non-adult patients (patients under 18 years of age), patients with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or increase the risk of poor results, who are unwilling or unable to comply with the required dietary restrictions, or who currently are or may be pregnant.

The Lap-Band System is a long-term implant. Explant and replacement surgery may be required. Patients who become pregnant or severely ill, or who require more extensive nutrition may require deflation of their bands. Anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, should be used with caution and may contribute to an increased risk of band erosion.

Placement of the Lap-Band System is major surgery and, as with any surgery, death can occur. Possible complications include the risks associated with the medications and methods used during surgery, the risks associated with any surgical procedure, and the patient’s ability to tolerate a foreign object implanted in the body. Most common related adverse events include: Band slippage, pouch dilation, stoma obstruction, gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal dilation, cholelithiasis, incisional infection, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, or nausea and vomiting may occur. Reoperation may be required. Rapid weight loss may result in complications that may require additional surgery. Deflation of the band may alleviate excessively rapid weight loss or esophageal dilation.

Important: For full safety information please click here or talk with your doctor.