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Risks and Complications:

As bariatric surgery has matured and new techniques have been developed, many of the risks of complications and overall mortality have been addressed. Currently, complications arise in about 5% of all bariatric procedures. Mortality rates for a bariatric procedure that is performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon are 0.111-0.18% 2

Complications may arise from undergoing any surgery, including bariatric surgical procedures. Most surgical procedures, heart, brain, bariatric or otherwise require some sort of an incision so the development of an infection is not only a complication that can occur after bariatric surgery.

Surgery in the abdomen may present unique risks as well. For example, the staple line can leak. In both the bypass and sleeve surgical procedures, part of the stomach is cut and, in order to seal the stomach, a staple line is created along the remaining portion of the stomach. There is the possibility that the staple line will leak, possibly causing serious infection in the abdomen that can require immediate emergency attention or possible second surgical procedure.

Complications following the placement of the adjustable gastric band, including the Lap-Band®, may include the improper placement of the band, “slippage” or “prolapse” of the band where the lower portion of the stomach migrates above the band, “band erosion” where the band itself rubs into or erodes into the stomach tissue near the band, or “rotation/flipping” of the adjustment injection port . All of these complications could require surgical intervention and would be considered urgent complications.

There are, of course, several more minor complications which may not require surgical intervention but may require close attention from the surgeon or primary physician to ensure that the complication does not develop into anything more severe.

To minimize the possibility of complications, it is very important that patients follow their surgeon’s recommendations, both before and after surgery. Patients should choose a surgeon that is experienced in the procedure they will be undergoing. Patients who do comprehensive research and follow the guidance provided by experienced surgeons and staff, should feel confident that the chances for severe complications after bariatric surgery will be greatly reduced.

2Diabetes,Obesity and Metabolism  Volume19,Issue 9 Sep 2017  P1223-1232

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