Gastric bypass has been getting a lot of attention lately, particularly since celebrities like Al Roker are talking about their own “successful” surgeries. This isn’t surprising, since more and more people are obese. Gastric bypass surgery is highly recommended by many doctors as a “permanent” solution for weight problems. As with so many procedures, however, the real risks of this surgery are not usually disclosed to the patient, which is why I hear so many people say following the procedure that if they had known then what they knew now, that they would never have had this procedure. The same is true for liposuction.
The National Institute of Health states that wound problems and complications from blood clots are common byproducts of gastric bypass surgery and liposuction. The NIH also acknowledges that nutritional and metabolic complications, gastritis, esophagitis, and abdominal hernias are all common. More than 10% of all patients require another surgery to fix problems related to the first one.
Liposuction is by far the more dangerous of the two options, which surprises many people since it is commonly done as an outpatient procedure in a doctor’s office. A survey of North American board-certified plastic surgeons confirms that there are now 20 deaths for every 100,000 liposuctions. The mortality rate from automobile accidents is 16.4 per 100,000, to provide a point of reference.
A 14-year follow-up by the NIH confirms these statistics for complications of gastric bypass surgery:
- B12 deficiency 39.9%
- Readmission to the hospital 38.2%
- Incisional hernia 23.9%
- Depression 23.7%
- Staple line failure 15%
- Gastritis 13.2%
- Dehydration, malnutrition 5.8%
- Dilated pouch 3.2%
I think and my experience shows that the figures for dehydration and malnutrition are grossly underreported, since these patients can only consume a couple of tablespoons of food at a time, which can hardly nourish a full-grown person.
Some people justify these surgeries by stating that it is just too hard to change your habits. I think it is considerably harder to deal with these horrendous surgeries and their complications than to learn how to eat and exercise properly!