Weight loss surgery has some risks and side effects as most surgeries do. Those considering the surgery because of obesity should carefully weigh the benefits and possible drawbacks.
The procedure, also called bariatric surgery, involves incisions and bands or pouches in the stomach area to limit the intake of food. Surgery may limit the number of calories a person eats or reduce calories and nutrients the body absorbs, according to the Mayo Clinic
. Patients have a fuller feeling as a result, so they don’t eat as much.
Procedures include gastric bypass that leaves only a small part of the stomach to ingest food, WebMD said
. Gastric band surgery puts a small band around the top of the stomach to limit food intake. Gastric sleeve surgery removes most of the stomach and duodenal switch surgery uses a gastric sleeve to bypass most of the small intestine.
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Some risks include blood clots or complications from obesity, WebMD noted. Obese patients have a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, which can make complications more likely. In some cases, patients don’t get the nutrients they need following surgery. Nutritional deficiencies, such as anemia, may occur. They may need to take nutritional supplements for the rest of their lives. Patients usually discuss dietary changes with a dietitian and doctor before the surgery.
Patients who have success following weight loss surgery generally follow the essential guidelines that have changed their eating patterns. They also get frequent medical check-ups to monitor their conditions, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
For patients at risk for nutritional deficiencies, serious side effects may occur. Some people may not take their prescribed vitamin and mineral supplements. Damage to the nervous system can cause such diseases as pellagra from lack of vitamin B3 or beriberi due to lack of vitamin B1 or thiamine, NIDDK said.
Narrowing of areas in the intestine or hernias, bulging in organs from weakened muscles, can occur following surgery for some patients. The problems require prompt medical attention. Maintaining a proper diet discussed with a dietitian and regular visits to a doctor helps avoid risks and side effects from weight loss surgery.
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