Indications Bariatric surgery is intended for people who are 100 pounds or more overweight (with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater) and who have not had success with other, less risky weight loss therapies such as diet, exercise, and medications. In some cases, a person with a BMI of 35 or greater and one or more co-morbid condition may be considered for bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery should not be considered until you and your doctor have explored all other options. The best approach to bariatric surgery calls for a discussion of the following:
- Bariatric surgery is not cosmetic surgery.
- Bariatric surgery does not involve the removal of adipose tissue (fat) by suction or surgical removal.
- Together, you and your doctor should discuss the benefits and risks.
- You must commit to long-term lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, which are key to the success of bariatric surgery.
- Complications after surgery may require further operations.
- Patients who underwent bariatric surgery have significantly reduced rates of developing cancer, cardiovascular diseases, endocrinological disorders, infectious diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, psychiatric disorders, and pulmonary disorders.6
As with any surgery, there may be immediate and long-term complications and risks. Discuss the benefits and risks with your healthcare team.
Possible risks associated with abdominal surgery can include, but are not limited to:
- Shoulder pain
- Complications due to anesthesia and medications
- Deep vein thrombosis (clotting in the veins, commonly in the lower extremities or pelvis)
- Carbon dioxide embolism
- Injury to the stomach, esophagus, or surrounding organs
- Dehiscence (separation of areas that are stitched or stapled together)
- Leaks from staple lines
- Marginal ulcers
- Pulmonary problems, pulmonary embolism
- Spleen injury (to control operative bleeding, removal of the spleen may be necessary)
- Stroke or heart attack
- Stenosis (narrowing of a passage, such as a valve)