Bariatric Surgery - 8 Complications It Can Cause!

Written and reviewed by
Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, Fellowship in Bariatric Surgery, M.S.
Bariatrician, Lucknow  •  13years experience
Bariatric Surgery - 8 Complications It Can Cause!

Bariatric surgery is unlike other surgeries, the success is defined after 6-18months later. It is not without its complications. But complications managed well by Bariatric surgeons and the introduction of Laproscopy, it gives advantages of reduced post-op pain to less incisional hernias and less post-operative hospital stay. 

Sometime problems may happen like- 

  1. Post-operative bleeding: Managed well by the surgeon. 
  2. Dehydration: Chances of dehydration, therefore, one of the main post-op instructions, would be to increase water intake significantly, after the first week of course, when water is included in the diet. For someone who is not used to drinking lots of water, this can be difficult. 
  3. Indigestion: Difficulty digesting food after the surgery is very common. There could be a burning sensation in the stomach. This is often managed by dietary changes like avoiding fatty foods, eating small frequent meals, avoiding too much sugary food items, etc. Too much fruits and vegetables should not be introduced early on, as fibre can be difficult to digest. Avoid fruits like nuts, seeds, fried foods, processed foods, etc. Gradually moving from water to pureed diet to semi-solids to solids can help in getting the stomach used to it. 
  4. Vitamin and mineral deficiency: With the drastic cut in the amount of food consumption, there could be multiple problems including skin rashes, weak bones, dental issues, hair loss, gallstones, kidney stones, etc. All these are due to deficiency of various essential minerals like calcium, potassium, etc. This can be managed through minor diet modifications to ensure the body gets the required minerals and vitamins, even if they are in the form of supplements. 
  5. Dumping syndrome: With a reduced size of the stomach, the food moves from the stomach into the smaller intestine much faster. Therefore, the sugar levels increase rapidly, producing various symptoms like bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, weakness, and anxiety. This is managed by eating less amount of sugars and fats and spacing out the meals through the day. Five to six small meals are preferred over 2 to 3 large meals. Some people also get relief from lying down after eating. 
  6. Hernias: Less after laproscopic surgery but sometime it may happen.
  7. Diet changes: Whether it is medications or foods, some substances have to be knocked off your list. A detailed diet plan should be made with the doctor, as some can affect the stomach in an adverse manner.
  8. Altered bowel habits: Some people may have diarrhoea, others have constipation. Looking into one’s diet and making suitable changes will help. Therefore, it is very important that you must keep regular follow-up and consultation with your surgeon, in order to avoid complications.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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