Bariatric Surgery Side Effects

Introduction to Weight Loss Surgery

A. Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, is a medical procedure that is performed on individuals who are obese in order to help them lose weight.

B. There are several types of bariatric surgery, including gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric banding, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. Each type of surgery has its own unique set of benefits and risks.

C. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the potential side effects of bariatric surgery and discuss ways to manage them in order to ensure successful weight loss results.

What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is a type of bariatric surgery that involves creating a small stomach pouch and re-routing the small intestine to this new pouch. This limits the amount of food that can be consumed at one time and also changes the way food is absorbed by the body. Gastric bypass is considered to be one of the most effective weight loss surgeries, with patients typically losing 50-70% of their excess weight. This procedure is also known to improve or resolve obesity-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. However, it also has a higher risk of complications such as nutritional deficiencies, dumping syndrome and bowel obstruction, so it's important to have a thorough discussion with a bariatric surgeon to understand the risks and benefits of this procedure and to decide if it's right for you.

What is a Sleeve Gastrectomy?

Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as gastric sleeve surgery, is a type of bariatric surgery that involves removing a large portion of the stomach, leaving a small, sleeve-shaped stomach. This limits the amount of food that can be consumed at one time and also leads to a decrease in hunger-causing hormones. Sleeve gastrectomy is considered to be a less invasive option compared to other types of bariatric surgery and patients typically lose 60-70% of their excess weight. This procedure also improves or resolves obesity-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. However, as with any surgical procedure, it also has potential risks and side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and stomach obstruction, so it's important to have a thorough discussion with a bariatric surgeon to understand the risks and benefits of this procedure, and to decide if it's right for you.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Weight loss surgery is typically recommended for individuals who have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 40 or higher, or for those who have a BMI of 35 or higher with at least one obesity-related health condition such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea. These are generally considered the minimum requirements for weight loss surgery.

Additionally, most bariatric surgery centers require that patients have attempted to lose weight through diet and exercise without success. This is to ensure that patients have a good understanding of the lifestyle changes that are required for weight loss and are committed to making those changes after surgery.

Other considerations may include overall health and medical history, such as the presence of other health conditions that may increase the risk of complications during surgery or recovery. Psychological evaluation may also be required to ensure patients have realistic expectations and are able to comply with the recommended treatment plan.

It's important to note that the criteria for weight loss surgery may vary depending on the type of surgery, the surgeon, and the patient's overall health. It's always recommended to consult with a qualified bariatric surgeon to discuss your specific needs and eligibility for weight loss surgery.

Bariatric Surgery Side Effects

A. Nutritional deficiencies: Bariatric surgery can lead to nutritional deficiencies due to the changes in the way the body absorbs nutrients. Some common deficiencies include iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, and calcium deficiency.

B. Dumping syndrome: Dumping syndrome is a condition where food moves too quickly through the stomach and into the small intestine, causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

C. Gastrointestinal issues: Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, diarrhea, and constipation after bariatric surgery.

D. Bowel obstruction: In rare cases, a bowel obstruction may occur due to the formation of scar tissue or adhesions in the stomach or intestines. This can cause severe abdominal pain and requires immediate medical attention.

Managing Side Effects

A. Following post-surgery guidelines: It is crucial to follow the post-surgery guidelines provided by your bariatric surgeon in order to manage any potential side effects. This may include following a specific diet, taking nutritional supplements, and avoiding certain foods or activities.

B. Nutritional supplements and vitamin therapy: To prevent or manage nutritional deficiencies, your surgeon may prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements. These supplements should be taken as directed by your surgeon or a dietitian.

C. Medications: Medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms of dumping syndrome and gastrointestinal issues. It is important to take these medications as directed and to inform your surgeon of any side effects or concerns.

D. Regular follow-up appointments: Regular follow-up appointments with your bariatric surgeon are important to monitor your progress and address any potential side effects or complications. Your surgeon may adjust your treatment plan as needed.


A. Bariatric surgery can be an effective way to help individuals lose weight, however, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects such as nutritional deficiencies, dumping syndrome, gastrointestinal issues and bowel obstruction.

B. Following post-surgery guidelines, taking nutritional supplements and vitamin therapy, taking medications as prescribed and regular follow-up appointments with a bariatric surgeon are essential to managing potential side effects and ensuring successful weight loss results.

C. If you are considering bariatric surgery, it is important to speak with a bariatric surgeon to learn more about the risks and benefits of surgery, as well as the potential side effects and ways to manage them.


A. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. (2021). Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved from

B. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). (2021). Weight-loss surgery. Retrieved from

C. American College of Surgeons. (2021). Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved from

D. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery). Retrieved from

E. World Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. (2021). Nutritional deficiencies after bariatric surgery. Retrieved from

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