Side Effects of Surgical Treatment for Obesity
As with any surgery there are risks and side effects. Weight loss surgery is a big undertaking and before making the decision it is important to discuss all of the benefits and risks involved before taking the next step. It pays to be informed.
While the benefits of weight loss surgery far outweigh the risks, these risks should not be ignored. Most benefits occur nearly immediately which is why so many obesity sufferers opt for weight loss surgery. Most patients lose weight right away, even rapidly at first, and continue to lose weight up to two years following the surgery.
Also in relation to the benefits of weight loss surgery are that many obesity related symptoms and problems begin to improve and ultimately go away. These problems may be diabetes, hypertension, joint pain and inflammation, asthma, sleep apnea and even depression. Some of the risks and side effects associated with weight loss surgery and the treatment of obesity are as follows:
- Increased vomiting
A common side effect with the surgical treatment for obesity is vomiting. Vomiting occurs due to the new stomach being reconstructed. The small size of the stomach becomes sensitive when it is reconstructed and when too much food is consumed or not chewed well. Chewing the food until everything is broken down helps your stomach to digest the food more easily.
- Deficiencies in nutrition
Taking vitamins can improve deficiencies in nutrition and give your body the minerals it needs to operate efficiently. After surgery your body may become nutritionally deficient. This may result in anemia, osteoporosis, or bone disease. Any of these deficiencies may be corrected through the intake of proper vitamins and minerals.
- Abdominal infections
After surgery abdominal infections may arise. Infections may occur at the staple line (the area that was made to make your stomach smaller) or at the incision point if invasive surgery took place. Antibiotics are often prescribed in the event of an infection. If the patient experiences a fever for more than 48 hours following surgery it is crucial to contact the doctor and seek medical attention.
Over one-third of all weight loss surgery patients develop gallstones following surgery. Gallstones form as lumps of cholesterol in the gallbladder. Gallstone may be highly uncomfortable and cause pain. The risk for gallstones increases when rapid weight loss takes place. Many patients are prescribed bile salt supplements to be taken during the first six months following surgery to prevent the formation of gallstones.
- Pregnancy avoidance
A temporary avoidance of pregnancy is normally required of weight loss surgery patients. Women should avoid getting pregnant until the weight loss becomes stable and rapid weight loss stops. The rapid weight loss and increased risk for nutritional deficiencies may be harmful to a growing fetus thus it is necessary to prevent pregnancy from occurring immediately following and even up to a year following surgery. Your doctor should be able to assist you in determining the right time to begin planning for a baby.