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Benefits & Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Undergoing any type of surgery has its benefits and risks; weight-loss surgery is no different. It is important that all patients understand both the benefits and risks associated with bariatric surgery. Please remember that the Denver Health bariatric team is always available to answer questions and address any concerns that you may have.

Weight-Loss Surgery Benefits 

  • Following surgery, most patients lose weight quickly for 18-24 months. Many maintain a long-term weight loss of 100 pounds or more. 
  • Surgery improves and sometimes resolves most obesity related medical conditions. For Denver Health patients, more than 80% of bariatric patients reported that their diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea had improved or gone away following surgery. 
  • Improved quality of life! After losing excess weight, patients are able to enjoy life more, spend more time with their children and grandchildren, become more active with family and friends, take less medication and much more. 
  • Medical studies show that bariatric surgery may prolong life in severely obese patients.

Weight-Loss Surgery Risks 

  • There may be complications after surgery such as abdominal hernia and about 10% of patients may experience a surgery complication that requires another surgery. 
  • Patients may develop gallstones — clumps of cholesterol and other matter that form in the gallbladder — after surgery, which is common during rapid weight loss. There is medication that can be taken to help prevent gallstones from developing. 
  • Without proper nutritional management, up to 30% of patients may develop nutritional deficiencies such as anemia, osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. 
  • Other risks include bowel or stomach leaks (3%), lung blood clot (pulmonary embolism) (0.6%), wound infection (5%), and death (0.9%).

Reducing Weight-Loss Surgery Risks

To lessen post-operative surgical risks, the Surgical Weight-Loss Center at Denver Health has designed a post-op recovery program specifically for bariatric patients. This program includes frequent post-op follow up at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year. Plus, nutrition follow up after solids are started and then every month, as needed, and follow up with our psychologist as you feel is needed.