Note: The information on this page is intended for informational use only. Do not use this post, or any other information on this site, to diagnose or treat any medical condition, or in lieu of professional medical advice from a certified personal physician. Always check with your doctor before undergoing any treatment or beginning any weight loss regimen.
Growing rates of obesity and related complications have become an unambiguous medical epidemic in America. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 2 of every 3 adults are overweight – half of whom are considered obese. About 5% of adults are considered extremely obese, and 10% now suffer from diabetes.
Understandably, this has caused a huge increase in the research and development of medical interventions to treat obesity. Often, medical intervention takes the form of weight loss surgeries like gastric bypass, lap band surgeries, and others.
If you’re overweight or obese, you might be considering weight loss surgery as a way to get down to a healthy weight. But while weight loss surgery can produce great results for many patients, as with any surgery serious risks of complication cannot be completely avoided. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most serious risks of weight loss surgery.
Gastric bypass is one of the most common surgical treatments for obesity in America, and works by creating a small stomach pouch in the small intestine, reducing the amount of food that can be consumed by “bypassing” the rest of the stomach.
This highly-invasive surgery can cause a serious of symptoms called “dumping syndrome,” where consumption of high-fat or high-sugar foods results in nausea, vomiting, faintness, or diarrhea. Other complications can include malnutrition (multivitamins are encouraged after gastric bypass), separation of tissue that has been stitched or stapled, ulcers, and internal leaking (source).
With lap band surgery, a silicone ring is placed around the top of the stomach, reducing how much food it can fit to restrict caloric intake in the patient. While not as invasive and therefore not as risky as gastric bypass, lap band surgery does sometimes result in complications. As many as 3% of lap band patients experience abdominal bleeding or infection, deep vein thrombosis, damage to the stomach or esophagus, and other complications (source).
Gastric balloon surgery is a procedure where a balloon is inserted into the stomach, then inflated with saline solution so that the stomach holds less food and patients feel satisfied after eating a small meal.
As with gastric bypass and lap band surgeries, nausea and malnutrition are risks of this procedure. Patients may also experience complications resulting from the balloon leaking or rupturing in the stomach, as well as internal bleeding caused by faulty insertion (source).
The latest weight loss surgery option to hit the market, and by far the most controversial, is the personal stomach pump. Patients have a tube inserted into the stomach which leads to an external valve. 20 minutes after eating a meal, patients turn on a mechanical pump that removes 30 percent of their meal through the valve and into the toilet.
FDA approval of the device was immediately met by outcry from numerous physicians, who have likened it to “mechanized bulimia” that encourages an unhealthy relationship to food. The FDA also notes that the procedure comes with the risk of infection, bleeding, vomiting, nausea, and internal sores. Food not thoroughly chewed may also clog the device (source).
Due to these risks and other reasons, weight loss surgery is best reserved as the furthest of last resorts for losing weight.
But that doesn’t mean weight loss shouldn’t involve medical supervision – quite the contrary. Pre-medical interventions, like meal-planning for seniors can be helpful. Medically supervised weight loss, like the services offered by Medical Weight Loss Solutions in Connecticut, can be one of the best ways for overweight and obese patients to get down to a healthy weight safely and effectively.* Patients work with doctors and medically-trained weight loss experts on diet and exercise plans specifically tailored to the individual.* Even with surgery, long-term weight loss requires substantial lifestyle changes and better habits. Why not start there?