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Benefits and Risks of Weight Loss Surgery in New York

Woman at Office for Weight Loss Surgery, Syracus, NY Photo - William A. Graber, MD, PC

The decision to undergo weight loss surgery is an important one. It is key that you understand both the risks and benefits of weight loss surgery. New York patients often benefit from the surgery, but as with any procedure, there are certainly risks. That being said, one clinical study shows that gastric bypass surgery decreases the 10-year death rate by 40%.

The risks of weight loss surgery are not insignificant and should be weighed against the benefit of living a longer, healthier life. It is important to understand that the risks of bariatric surgery are low and that the majority of patients have no complications. Your surgeon will explain to you all the risks of each individual procedure we offer, as well as the impact on your future lifestyle.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Risks and Complications of Surgery for Morbid Obesity
(Please note, this list does not include every possible complication)

1. Death

2. Potentially Serious Complications

  • Surgical:
    • Perforation of stomach/intestine or leakage, causing peritonitis or abscess.
    • Internal bleeding requiring transfusion.
    • Severe wound infection – opening of the wound – incisional hernia.
    • Spleen injury requiring removal/other organ injury.
    • Bowel obstruction.
  • Pulmonary:
    • Pneumonia – atelectasis (collapse of lung tissue) – fluid in chest.
    • Respiratory insufficiency – pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs).
    • Blood clots in legs and/or lungs (embolism).
  • Cardiovascular:
    • Myocardial infarction (heart attack) – congestive heart failure.
    • Arrhythmias (irregular heart beats).
    • Stroke (cerebrovascular accident, CVA).
  • Kidney and liver:
    • Acute kidney failure.
    • Liver failure – hepatitis (may progress to cirrhosis).
  • Psychosocial:
    • Anorexia nervosa – bulimia.
    • Postoperative depression – dysfunctional social problems.
    • Psychosis.

3. Other complications (may become serious)

  • Minor wound or skin infection/scarring, deformity, loose skin.
  • Urinary tract infection.
  • Allergic reactions to drugs or medications.
  • Vomiting or nausea/inability to eat certain foods/improper eating.
  • Inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis) – acid reflux (heartburn).
  • Low sodium, potassium, or blood sugar – low blood pressure.
  • Problems with the outlet of the stomach (narrowing or stretching).
  • Anemia – metabolic deficiency (iron, vitamins, minerals) – temporary hair loss.
  • Constipation – diarrhea – bloating – cramping – malodorous stool or flatus.
  • Development of gallstones or gallbladder disease.
  • Stomach or outlet ulcers (peptic ulcer).
  • Staple-line disruption – weight gain – failure to lose satisfactory weight.
  • Penetration of foreign material (e.g. band, ring) inside the stomach.
  • Intolerance to refined sugars (dumping), with nausea, sweating, weakness.
  • Stenosis of pouch anastomosis.

For more information on the benefits and risks or weight loss surgery, New York residents should schedule a consultation with William A. Graber, MD, PC. Our Syracuse and New Hartford-based practice serves all of Upstate New York.