Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery Complications: Overview

Alternative names: Gastric Bypass Surgery Complications

Obesity rates are the highest they have ever been, with more and more people turning to bariatric surgery as a solution.  However, this type of surgery is not without its risks.

Diagnose your symptoms now!
  • see your health summarized and in detail
  • have a doctor review your case (optional)
  • identify any nutritional deficiencies

Bariatric surgery refers to various weight loss procedures that an obese individual can have in order to reduce food intake.  The three most widely-used procedures are gastric bypass, gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy, each carrying their own risks.

There is no question that obesity is a major cause of potentially life-threatening disease.  The question is whether this risk is greater than the risk of complications arising from bariatric surgery, which depend to a large extent on the procedure that the patient undergoes and other pre- and post-operative factors.

The overall consensus is that the health risks from obesity far outweigh the risks associated with bariatric surgery.  Bariatric surgery is associated with a major reduction in the risk of premature death over a 5-year period.

Incidence; Causes and Development; Contributing Risk Factors

Complications arise in about 10-20% of cases, with serious complications arising in the first 30 days after surgery in 2-4% of cases, depending largely on the experience of the surgeon.

Bariatric surgery is one of the fastest growing hospital procedures performed in the United States, with some 220,000 surgeries being performed in 2008.

Open gastric bypass surgery patients are at higher risk of incisional hernia, organ injury, and wound infection.  Laparoscopic gastric bypass patients have increased risk of bowel obstruction, gastrointestinal tract hemorrhage, and stomal stenosis.

Risk of complications is increased by:

Treatment and Prevention

Reducing the risk of complications includes choosing the right type of surgery for your situation, choosing a skilled surgeon, educating yourself about the procedure, carefully following medical and nutritional advice, pre-surgery weight loss, eating a healthy bariatric diet prior to surgery, detecting and treating sleep apnea prior to surgery, exercising as soon as possible after surgery, and post-surgery use of blood thinners.


Complications of bariatric surgery include:

Medical News Today reported in 2013 that women who have undergone weight loss surgery are more likely to give birth prematurely and have low birth weight babies.

Despite the many possible risks, overall risk of complications from bariatric surgery is now no greater than that from laparoscopic gall bladder surgery in the US.

On This Page

Bariatric Surgery Complications:

Conditions that suggest Bariatric Surgery Complications:


Rapid Stomach Emptying (Gastric Dumping)

Gastric dumping is more common in bariatric surgery patients who are severely obese.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
Symptom Entry
Symptom Entry
Full Explanations
Optional Doctor Review
Review (optional)
Report by The Analyst™
Click to see sample report
Health problems rarely occur in isolation or for obvious reasons

Your body is a highly complex, interconnected system.  Instead of guessing at what might be wrong, let us help you discover what is really going on inside your body based on the many clues it is giving.

Our multiple symptom checker provides in-depth health analysis by The Analyst™ with full explanations, recommendations and (optionally) doctors available for case review and answering your specific questions.


Weak or unproven link: may suggest
Weak or unproven link:
may suggest
Strong or generally accepted link: often suggests; often increases risk of
Strong or generally accepted link:
often suggests; often increases risk of
Definitely or absolutely counter-indicates: decreases risk of
Definitely or absolutely counter-indicates:
decreases risk of
We use cookies for traffic analysis, advertising, and to provide the best user experience