requirements for weight loss surgery

Benefits and Risks of Weight-loss Surgery

According to the Centers for Disease Control, weight-loss surgery can be successful when diet and exercise have failed and a person's health is on the line. Patients usually lose 40–70 percent of their excess weight within the first year. Obesity-related medical problems typically improve, often dramatically.

Improvements from weight loss surgery include:

  • 74–98 percent of patients improving or resolving sleep apnea
  • 50–90 percent resolving high blood pressure
  • 72–98 percent improving or resolving gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • 40–75 percent improving orthopedic issues
  • More than 80 percent of patients improving or resolving diabetes

People who undergo weight-loss surgery usually live longer than those of a similar weight who don't have surgery. Most patients report their quality of life has improved.

Potential complications

Most people have no serious problems after weight loss surgery, though less than 10 percent have minor complications. Both the Lap-Band and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy surgeries carry the same risks as other laparoscopic surgical procedures and much less risk than traditional gastric bypass surgery.

These risks usually only affect 1 -3 percent of patients and include:

  • Blood clots
  • Infection inside the abdomen
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Perforation of the stomach or esophagus during surgery
  • Dehydration
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Spleen or liver damage
  • Death (less than 1 percent)

Though not directly due to surgery, another possible complication of rapid weight loss can be the development of gallstones. This risk is highest in the first six months after surgery and is related to the amount of weight lost.

Complications related specifically to the Lap-Band

In time, it is possible for the band to move out of its position, causing stomach outlet obstruction or eroding into the stomach lining, all of which require additional surgery to correct. Any removal or replacement of the band will also require additional surgery.

Complications with the band can include:

  • Acid reflux
  • Ulcers
  • Bloating
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea and vomiting

Complications related specifically to laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy

The operative risks associated with the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy are the same to slightly higher than those seen with the Lap-Band, but lower than the risks associated with gastric bypass.