Weight loss surgery is not for everyone. We celebrate the stories of black women who have used weight loss surgery as a tool on this site because we believe that it is a viable option for many people and that they are under a doctors care. We also assume that they were aware of all of the risks and potential complications involved with weight reduction surgery. For many, the risks out weight the benefits and they are blessed to have successful surgeries. For others, that is not the case. It is a very personal choice.
Anyone considering weight loss surgery of any kind should seek out ALL information available from their doctors and other medical professionals about the risks, including death. I’m not a medical professional but I’m going to present in this article an overview of information that I’ve gathered to get you started.
There are extreme benefits to surgery. There are also serious risks associated with weight loss surgery, and the dangers are very important to understand. While the serious dangers of weight loss surgery do not necessarily have a high chance of occurring, when they do occur they can be debilitating and life threatening. There are also some risks that are not life threatening, but problematic and they are equally important to know.
I’m going to focus on the 2 most common procedures – The gastric sleeve and gastric bypass?
The two most common types of weight loss surgery are the gastric sleeve and the gastric bypass. With the sleeve (also known as sleeve gastrectomy), a portion of the stomach is removed to reduce its size. This will result in making you feel full faster to encourage weight loss. With gastric bypass surgery, a section of the stomach and sometimes the intestine are reshaped to change how food is processed through the body. Neither is without danger, and both are irreversible procedures, which are the reasons why there is much to consider before going ahead with weight loss surgery.
Potential Life-Threatening Dangers of Weight Loss Surgery
- Surgical – The surgical dangers of weight loss surgery are the same for either type of procedure. There is the risk of infection, perforation, blood clots, and having a reaction to the anesthesia to name a few. There are a few rare cases of death occurring during bariatric surgery. There is also a high risk of lung and cardiac problems occurring, mostly due to the nature of the anesthesia.
- Pulmonary and Cardiovascular – During and after surgery, there is a risk of lung collapse or the lungs filling with fluid. There is also a risk of a stroke caused by an embolism or blood clot along with blood clots forming elsewhere in the body. You can also experience a cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. The dangers of weight loss surgery also include an elevated risk for a heart attack.
- Liver and Kidneys – Weight loss surgery also puts you at risk for kidney and liver failure, plus Hepatitis which can then go on to develop into cirrhosis.
Potential Complications of Weight Loss Surgery
There are several possible complications that can come from having weight loss surgery. While these issues ma not be life threatening when they begin, can create complications that are. Here are some examples:
- Depression – Post surgical depression can be common after weight loss surgery.
- Anorexia Nervosa/Bulimia – Post surgical patients may develop either of these eating disorders or both together. Without proper treatment, each of the disorders may be fatal.
- Hypoglycemia – An erratic processing of insulin and blood sugar can also result as a permanent change to the body’s metabolism.
- Reactive Hypoglycemia – If a situation called “dumping” occurs during surgery or directly after, in which food moves too quickly through the system, it is called dumping. This can lead to a condition called reactive hypoglycemia which is similar to hypoglycemia but includes an adrenal disorder as well.
- Sleeve leakage, Internal leakage
- Chronic Pain
- Digestive issues associated with the stomach and intestines
Are the Dangers of Weight Loss Surgery worth it?
Every procedure comes with a set of worst case scenarios for how things can go wrong. Weight reduction surgery is no exception. That there are risks does not mean that it should be avoided all together. However, there are certain realities about weight loss surgery that should be considered before risking the possible dangers of having it done.
- Weight loss surgery is meant for people who are morbidly obese. This means they are in excess of 100 lbs. overweight and their weight is creating life threatening conditions. Anyone who is less than 100lbs overweight is generally discouraged from surgery as there are still other, less invasive and expensive interventions to try. Exceptions are sometimes made for serious health issues, like diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Weight loss surgery by itself does not make you a healthy weight. You may lose significant weight with surgery, but not all of the weight. You may lose too much weight and deal with “wasting”. You may lose weight in the beginning but then gain the weight back due to eating habits. It is the start of a long journey to get to a healthy body that you have to commit to.
- Some people regain weight they have lost lost within one year of the surgery. They regain the weight because they never examined how they became overweight and made the necessary changes to their life style to keep the weight off. No matter how good the plan is that your receive from your health care provider and surgeon…if you are not ready to follow that plan and change you lifestyle, it’s possible that you can experience weight gain. Proper diet and adequate exercise are the only way to maintain a healthy weight, but you have to deal with emotional and situational issues, as well as your past. Follow doctor’s orders and work to create a lifestyle that keeps you healthy and happy.
If you are considering the dangers of weight loss surgery, talk to your doctor about how real the risks are for you. Make the most informed decision you can.