Regardless of what type of bariatric surgery you have completed, there are risks associated with it. The exact risks vary, but some general risks are common across the board. It is important to be aware of both, but also about what you can do to avoid these risks from becoming a reality. Your physician will have discussed this with you in great length, and it is vital that you follow their recommendations to the letter. In fact, you will be psychologically assessed beforehand to determine whether you are committed and motivated enough to do so.
Common Bariatric Procedures
All bariatric procedures involve some form of surgery, be that laparoscopic, such as with the gastric balloon, or full open surgery that is still done with some gastric bypasses. Because of this, there is always a risk of infection. Operating theaters and clinics today are managed to the highest safety standards, so it is rare for an infection to happen during the procedure itself. However, between 5% and 10% of people do suffer from a post-operative infection at the incision site. Peritonitis is also quite common, which is in infection inside the abdomen itself. Both of these types of infections can easily be controlled.
With specific procedures, there are a number of specific problems as well. For instance:
- Stomach stapling, which isn’t offered often anymore, can lead to staples that become loose. Many people also suffer from heartburn, as well as significant nutritional deficiencies. The latter can be avoided by properly following the recommended diet.
- Most surgeries now involve the lap band, as it is safer and more effective. However, the band can slip. Additionally, in very rare cases, the body may reject the lap band, which is a medical emergency. More commonly, people experience vomiting and heartburn, which can lead to dehydration. It is quite common for people to have to have their band adjusted (the average is four times over a two year period), and these symptoms may reappear at each adjustment.
How to Avoid Complications
There are a number of important things you can and should do in order to avoid complications. These actions should have been described to you by your surgeon and your aftercare team. They include:
- Making sure that you don’t overeat. This can lead to significant stomach pains. Most of the time, however, people who have had a procedure completed no longer feel as hungry. If you do feel hungry, and you do overeat, you may need some counseling as it could point to you having an unhealthy emotional relationship with food. Many people eat out of habit, and it is very difficult to break through old habits. This is why your commitment and motivation is so important.
- Making sure you eat what you are supposed to eat. You will probably come under consultation with a nutritionist and dietician who will make sure you know what you can and should eat. You must follow this in order to get the right nutrients to sustain your body.