Weight Loss Surgery for Sleep Apnea: 3 Major Risks

sleep-apnea-180x150All surgical procedures carry risks of complications during and after surgery. The risk of complications during and immediately following bariatric surgery are lower now than they have been in the past. This is because most procedures are performed laparoscopically, meaning that incisions are small.

Doctors no longer have to open the abdomen to perform surgery. However, people who undergo surgery are at risk of developing certain complications.

weightloss_speech_bubble_570It is important to have a discussion about the risks with your doctor. However, to fully ensure your safety, talk to your surgeon about:

  • their experience, including how many procedures they have performed and experience with different bariatric procedures
  • the hospital where your surgery will be performed, including the staff’s experience with bariatric patients
  • board certifications and membership in professional medical organizations

Weight loss surgery tends to be riskier for people who are very obese. Your doctor may ask you to lose weight before your surgery through restrictive dieting and other methods. This will make the surgery safer and less likely to cause problems such as uncontrolled bleeding, leaks and other issues.

Risks During Bariatric Surgery

The risks posed during bariatric surgery tend to be risks that are present in all types of surgery. However, obese patients are often more likely to experience complications because of certain health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. People who are obese are also more likely to experience respiratory problems associated with anesthesia.

Complications that may occur during weight loss surgery include:

  • Reactions to anesthesia and other medications
  • Infection
  • Bleeding problems, including blood clots and uncontrolled bleeding
  • Leaking in the digestive system
  • Respiratory problems

Although the risks of these complications are higher in patients who are very obese, the risk is still low. The benefits of weight loss surgery are much more prominent than the level of risk.

Risks During Recovery

Many of the complications that may occur during recovery from weight loss surgery are the same as complications that can occur during surgery. Blood clots, sustained bleeding and leakage in the gastrointestinal system are all common complications following surgery. Sutures or staples may break or come undone, especially if the person is too active during their recovery.

People who receive gastric bands may experience leakage from their bands, which are filled with a saline solution that can cause problems if the band leaks.

Risks From Lifestyle Changes

Many bariatric patients have difficulty maintaining the lifestyle changes they need to make after their surgery. All types of weight loss surgery change the body in drastic ways, and eating right is crucial.

  • Dumping syndrome is common among people who receive Roux-en-Y procedures. It occurs when too much food, especially fatty or sugary food, is eaten. It causes low blood sugar and diarrhea. Drinking small amounts of sugary juice can alleviate these symptoms. Dumping syndrome does not occur in patients with gastric bands or gastric sleeves.
  • Malnutrition often occurs in people who receive Roux-en-Y or gastric sleeve procedures. These surgeries may make it difficult for the body to absorb enough protein, vitamins and minerals from food. Hair loss and fatigue may occur.
  • Digestive blockage often occurs in people who receive gastric bands. Eating too much food too quickly can cause food to become lodged in the stomach, unable to pass through the small channel formed by the band. This also occurs when the band is too tight.

Although these risks can be bothersome, they are not usually dangerous. Patients can usually avoid them by maintaining healthy habits and sticking to the diet plans developed by their nutritionists.

Interested in learning more about how to lose weight to reduce or cure sleep apnea? Please click here to get ‘Weight Loss For Sleep Apnea Program’.

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