Although the results of weight loss surgery can be drastic, there are potential risks and complications. Surgery should not be considered until you and your doctor have evaluated all other options. Before making your decision, you should be well informed so that you can give what is called "informed consent" for the procedure. When patients give informed consent, it means that they agree they have received and understood enough information about a procedure's benefits and risks to allow them to make a decision that is right for them.
Your surgeon will require you to sign a consent form before performing your procedure. Before you sign a consent form, you should have a solid understanding of what is about to take place. You should know what you will need to do to live well after the operation. And you should be aware of the signs or symptoms of complications to look for that may occur after your surgery.
Surgery should not be considered until you and your doctor have evaluated all other options. The proper approach to weight-loss surgery requires discussion and careful consideration of the following with your doctor:
- These procedures are in no way to be considered as cosmetic surgery.
- The surgery does not involve the removal of adipose tissue (fat) by suction or excision.
- A decision to elect surgical treatment requires an assessment of the risk and benefit to the patient and the meticulous performance of the appropriate surgical procedure.
- These weight loss surgical procedures (approved in the United States) are not reversible.
- The success of weight loss surgery is dependent upon long-term lifestyle changes in diet and exercise.
- Problems may arise after surgery that may require reoperations.
Success of surgical treatment must begin with realistic goals and progress through the best possible use of well-designed and tested operations.
Risks and complications
As with any surgery, there are operative and long-term complications and risks associated with weight loss surgical procedures that should be discussed with your doctor. Possible risks include, but are not limited to:
- Complications due to anesthesia and medications
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Leaks from staple line breakdown
- Marginal ulcers
- Pulmonary problems
- Spleen injury*
*Removal of the spleen is necessary in about 0.3% of patients to control operative bleeding.
If surgery is performed laparoscopically and complications occur during the operation, your doctor may choose to perform open surgery.