With bariatric surgery on the rise, we’re getting much more data about some of the long-term risks associated with the treatment. While it is effective for patients with intractable obesity and metabolic conditions, the surgery is not without risk.
Most of the short-term effects of bariatric surgery are well-known among patients. Patients often complain of acid reflux, problems with esophageal dilation, and issues eating certain foods. There is risk of complications, too. Anesthetic risks, infections of the newly-cut stomach area, and obstruction or blockage are near-term complications.
But long-term risks that can arise after bariatric surgery are not well understood. People simply don’t understand what might be in store for them.
In this post we take a look at some of the potential long-term risks — and what, if anything, you can do about them.
Bariatric weight loss procedures are major surgery. Surgeons must pierce the abdomen. Then they need to cut and suture the stomach so that only a small amount remains. With a gastric bypass and duodenal switch there is further cutting and suturing of the intestinal tract.
People have significant pain after bariatric surgery and are prescribed painkillers. But, as Sunshine Behavioral Health points out, many of these can be addictive. Patients can wind up dependent on certain types of pain medications even after their bodies heal.
The trick here is to avoid some of the more addictive opioid-containing painkillers. So your surgeon may recommend traditional OTC versions. Ask your doctor before taking over the counter medications. They are generally safer for long-term use but can still damage the stomach.
Low Blood Sugar
You may begin to experience the effects of low blood sugar. This feels a bit like fainting. You have a woozy sensation and can feel sick at the same time.
Low blood sugar happens because you’re not able to put the usual quantity of food into your body. Your portion sizes decline substantially now that your stomach is smaller in size.
You can correct this quickly by eating natural sugar foods such as raisins. You also can sip orange juice but don’t make it a habit. Juice is a high sugar and high caloric drink. And the purpose of bariatric surgery is weight loss and better health.
Malnutrition is a significant risk of stomach stapling. You’re simply unable to get the calories and nutrients that you need for your body to function.
The trick here is to switch to high nutrient-density foods. Think green smoothies, salads, protein shakes and the like. These options provide the nutrition you require without causing any damage to your body. In fact, they may actually help you heal.
Hernias are where part of the stomach protrudes through the abdominal cavity. It appears as a large lump under the skin.
Hernias aren’t only unsightly; they’re also uncomfortable – not something that you want getting in your way as you go about your day.
A hernia is one of the more common long-term risks of bowel surgery. Damage to the abdominal wall can lead to protrusions. The best way to deal with them is more surgery to close the gap.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life