Surgical Risks

All surgeries carry inherent risks. Bariatric (weight loss) surgery is no exception.

While most surgical weight loss procedures are performed laparoscopically (see the various Surgical Treatments pages of our website), salve a technique that is considerably less invasive than an open technique, they all require general anesthetic. Even if you meet all the surgical and insurance requirements for candidacy, you will have to be cleared by an anesthesiologist in order to undergo a surgical procedure. Anesthesiology is part of the surgical team. They are responsible for ensuring you are properly sedated prior to surgery, and are healthy enough to properly recover from anesthesia after surgery. A Registered Nurse (RN), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist (CRNA) and/or and Anesthesiologist will interview you prior to your procedure, and a number of diagnostic tests may need to be completed in order for the anesthesia team to determine whether you are a candidate for anesthesia. Although all types of anesthesia involve some risk, major side effects and complications from anesthesia are uncommon. Your specific risks depend on your overall health, the type of anesthesia used and your response to anesthesia. A high Body Mass Index (BMI) may interfere with your candidacy to receive anesthesia. Dr. Nowzaradan, armed with a complete health history and physical examination, will work with the anesthesiologist in determining your candidacy and assessing your risks.

Post-operative Risks and Complications
There are post-operative risks and complications that are present with all surgical procedures and some that have a higher tendency specific to weight loss surgery. While uncommon, these include:

  • Rare occurrence of incision hernia, which is a weakness of the surgical incision. This is rare in laparoscopic procedures and is not specific to bariatric surgery.
  • With Roux-en Y Gastric Bypass, there is a risk of a narrowing of the opening between the stomach and the small intestine. Typically, this complication can be remedied with a simple out patient procedure.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis, or blood clotting in the legs. While this is a universal surgical risk, it tends to be higher in obese or sedentary patients. Blood clotting can be dangerous if they are not discovered timely. Clots can unpredictably dislodge and travel to the lungs where they become lodged in the pulmonary arteries. This pulmonary blockage can lead to a condition called pulmonary thrombosis, cutting oxygen off to areas of the lung, seriously damaging lung tissue. Blood clotting can usually be caught early and treated with anti-embolism stockings worn for the first few weeks following surgery.
  • Leakage at the staple sites can occur. This is typically treated with antibiotics and will heal over time. In severe instances, this complication may require emergency surgery.
  • Site infection may occur. You will be instructed on proper post-operative hygiene procedures to minimize this risk. It is also crucial to adhere to post-operative follow-up visits with Dr. Nowzaradan so he can monitor your progress and detect early sign of site infection or other potential complications.
  • There is a risk of death associated with any type of surgery, including bariatric surgery.

Refer to the Surgical Treatments pages of our website to learn about some other potential complications, disadvantages or inconveniences of specific bariatric procedures.