• The more extensive the bariatric operation, the greater the risks for complications and nutritional deficiencies. Patients with bypasses of the normal digestive process require close monitoring and a lifelong addition of vitamins and minerals to reduce the risks of post-surgical complications.
• Bariatric surgery risks include abdominal hernias, which are the most common complication requiring additional surgery, but are much more common with "open" surgery where an incision is made.
• Uncommon bariatric surgery risks can include rare complications of leakage through staples or sutures, ulcers in the stomach or small intestine, blood clots in the lungs or legs, stretching of the pouch or esophagus, persistent vomiting and abdominal pain, inflammation of the gallbladder, and failure to lose weight (very rare).
• More than one-third of obese patients who have bariatric surgery develop gallstones. Gallstones are clumps of cholesterol and other matters that form in the gallbladder. During rapid or substantial weight loss, a person’s risk of developing gallstones increases. Gallstone formation and its risks can be lessened with medication taken for the first six months after bariatric surgery.
• Among other bariatric surgery risks, nearly 30 percent of patients who have weight loss surgery develop nutritional deficiencies such as anemia, osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. These post-surgery deficiencies can be avoided if vitamin and mineral supplements are maintained as recommended on a life-long basis.
• Women of childbearing age should avoid pregnancy for 18 months to two years until their weight becomes stable, because the bariatric surgery risks of rapid weight loss and nutritional deficiencies harming a developing fetus are considerable.
• Non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as, ibuprofen and many arthritis drugs that contain aspirin may not be taken after bariatric surgery.
• Smoking after bariatric surgery may cause ulcers in addition to other known health risks.
Though gastric bypass procedures can be reversed if medically necessary, patients should consider bariatric surgery permanent, and should carefully consider all of the bariatric surgery risks and benefits before electing to have this surgery.