Contrary to popular belief, weight loss surgery is not the "easy way out." Surgery can successfully start you on the road to recovery, but it alone does not ensure long-term success. You must change your eating habits, exercise patterns, and relationship with food.
More than 80 percent of patients are able to lose and keep weight off long term. There is no amount of weight loss that is guaranteed. On average patients lose:
- 40 percent excess weight with the band.
- 50 to 60 percent excess weight with the sleeve.
- 60 to 70 percent excess weight with the bypass.
These results are better in patients who participate in postoperative follow up with their surgeon, nutritionist, and support groups. Many, if not all, weight-related medical issues will resolve or improve after surgery.
These procedures are not without risks or side effects. You will learn about potential complications at the introductory seminar and from your doctor. It is important that you understand these risks so you can make an informed decision about surgery. We encourage you to learn as much as you can from us and through other resources. We invite and encourage questions from you.
The following is a list of potential complications:
For the Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy:
- Wound infection.
- Leak from the staple line/peritonitis/sepsis.
- Blood clots in the legs and/or lungs.
- Stomach ulcers.
- Narrowing of the pouch or "stricture" that must be later stretched open.
- Intestinal blockage.
- Vitamin or nutrient deficiencies.
- Injuries to vital organs, nerves, or blood vessels.
- Scar tissue.
- Hair loss.
- Excess skin.
- Psychiatric problems and addiction.
- Gallbladder disease requiring removal.
- Kidney stones.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Inability to eat certain foods.
- Dumping syndrome (occurs when the undigested contents of your stomach move too rapidly into your small bowel).
- Acid reflux.
- Failure to lose weight or weight regain.
- Need for another operation to correct a problem.
For the Lap Band, all of the above complications apply, plus these:
- Band slip.
- Band erosion.
- Band breakage.
- Band infection.
- Port problems.
- Overstretching of the esophagus.
- Excessive vomiting or heartburn.
Any one of these problems may require another operation, removal, revision, or conversion of the band to a different weight loss procedure.
You can help to reduce your risks of surgery with several measures:
- Do not gain weight.
- Try to lose weight before surgery.
- Become physically active.
- Stop smoking.
- Stop birth control pills.
- Follow the instructions of your physicians and nutritionist.