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Bariatric Surgery Indications
Bariatric surgery is intended for people who are 100 pounds or more overweight (with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater) and who have not had success with other, less risky weight loss therapies such as diet, exercise, and medications.In some cases, a person with a BMI of 35 or greater and one or more co-morbid condition may be considered for bariatric surgery.

Important Considerations
Bariatric surgery should not be considered until you and your doctor have explored all other options. The best approach to bariatric surgery calls for a discussion of the following:
  • Bariatric surgery is not cosmetic surgery.
  • Bariatric surgery does not involve the removal of adipose tissue (fat) by suction or surgical removal.
  • Together, you and your doctor should discuss the benefits and risks.
  • You must commit to long-term lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, which are key to the success of bariatric surgery.
  • Complications after surgery may require further operations.
  • Patients who underwent bariatric surgery have significantly reduced rates of developing cancer, cardiovascular diseases, endocrinological disorders, infectious diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, and respiratory disorders.
Risks Associated with Abdominal Surgery
  • Bleeding
  • Pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Pneumonia
  • Complications due to anesthesia and medications
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Injury to stomach, esophagus, or surrounding organs
  • Infection
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Stroke or Heart Attack
  • Death
Note: Risks are associated with any type of surgery, including abdominal surgery. These risks are greater for individuals who suffer from obesity.

Risks Associated with Bariatric Surgery

  • Abdominal hernia
  • Chest pain
  • Collapsed lung
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Enlarged heart
  • Gallstones, pain from passing a gallstone, inflammation of the gallbladder, or surgery to remove the gallbladder
  • Gastrointestinal inflammation or swelling
  • Stoma obstruction
  • Stretching of the stomach
  • Surgical procedure repeated
  • Vomiting and nausea

Note: Your weight, age and medical history play a significant role in determining your specific risks. Your surgeon can inform you about your specific risks for bariatric surgery.

Risks Associated with Gastric Banding

  • Migration of implant (band erosion, band slippage, port displacement)
  • Tubing-related complications (port disconnection, tubing kinking)
  • Band leak
  • Esophageal spasm
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Inflammation of the esophagus or stomach
  • Port-site infection

Note: Complications may result in reoperations. Refer to the Realize™ Band Patient Guide for a full description of risks and side effects. To order a patient guide click here.

Risks Associated with Gastric Bypass

  • Dehiscence (separation of tissue that was stitched or stapled together)
  • Leaks from staple lines
  • Ulcers
  • Dumping syndrome, an unpleasant side effect that may include vomiting, nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness, and diarrhea
  • Required supplementation of diet with a daily multivitamin, calcium, and sometimes vitamin B12 and/or iron
  • Inability to detect the stomach, duodenum, and parts of the small intestine using X-ray or endoscopy, should problems arise after surgery such as ulcers, bleeding, or malignancy
  • Increased gas
Compare Mortality Rates
Procedure Mortality Rate Occurs In…
Gastric banding 0.1% 1 out of every 1,000 people
Gastric bypass 0.5% 1 1 out of every 200 people
Hip fracture repair 3.3 to 8.2%10,11 6 out of every 200 people10,11

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery 2004 Consensus Statement, the operative morbidity (complications) associated with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in the hands of a skilled surgeon is roughly 5%, and the operative mortality (death) is roughly 0.5%.9

For gastric banding, the same consensus statement reported that, in the hands of a skilled surgeon, the operative morbidity is approximately 5% and operative mortality is approximately 0.1%.9

Why Would I Have an Open Procedure?
In some patients, the laparoscopic or minimally invasive approach to surgery cannot be used.

Here are reasons why you may have an open procedure, or that may lead your surgeon to switch during the procedure from laparoscopic to open:
  • Prior abdominal surgery that has caused dense scar tissue
  • Inability to see organs
  • Bleeding problems during the operation
Based on patient safety, the decision to perform the open procedure is a judgment made by your surgeon either before or during the actual operation.

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