The Weight Loss Question: Is Gastric Bypass Surgery Safe?

Gastric bypass surgery is easily the most common surgery used for weight loss in severely obese patients. The popularity of this surgery has caused it to gain a great deal of attention, raising the question “is gastric bypass safe?” While any major surgery may pose risks, the risks involved with gastric surgery could be considered the minimum.

Procedural Risks

While the procedure is typically considered very safe, there is a list of potential risks involved during the procedure. As with most surgeries, there is always a risk of blood clots and excessive bleeding. The patient may also suffer adverse effects from the anesthesia. There is the possibility of infection and in very rare cases, the surgery can be fatal. It is important to choose your surgeon carefully. The rate of complications decreases significantly when the surgery is performed by a surgeon who performs the gastric bypass surgery regularly. In most cases, you will be able to view the doctor’s success rates. Always talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have because it is better to go into any major surgery with a clear mind.

Risks of Long Term Complication

After your surgery, the doctor will give you tips and guidelines to aid in the weight loss process and properly care for your surgery wounds. These guidelines will likely include a stricter diet and an exercise routine. In fact, there are sometimes specialized types of exercise recommended for gastric bypass patients. You should never continue an exercise if you feel any sharp pain. It is important to carefully abide by these guidelines. Doing so can greatly reduce the risk of future complications. However, the risk of long term complication still exists. These complications could include gastrointestinal bleeding, low blood sugar, malnutrition, bowel obstruction, sluggishness or difficulty returning to normal activities.

There Are Also Long Term Benefits

On the other hand, the number of potential benefits is definitely something to consider. Many patients report those months after their surgery, they feel better and are more active. Most patients experience greater mobility. Generally, patients can lose up to 75% of their excess weight within 5 years from the surgery alone. Some patients even see greater success. On average, patients maintain 50% of this weight loss. Weight loss related to gastric bypass surgery has also shown a reduction in the mortality rate from cancer by 60%, Type 2 diabetes by 92%, and coronary artery disease by 56%. If you have other complications caused by obesity, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, or sleep apnea, they may also be greatly reduced.

The Rate of Safety

Compared to other major surgeries, the risk of complications is incredibly low. In fact, there is only a 0.2%-0.5% fatality rate in the months following the surgery, assuming the surgery is performed by a trained professional who regularly performs the gastric bypass. The 30-day serious complication rate is also comfortably low at 1.25%. Overall, with proper care and attention to new diet and exercise guidelines, the answer to “is gastric bypass surgery safe?” is a pretty cut and dry “yes.”