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What are the complications associated with Bariatric surgery?

Q: I am a 35 years old male, weigh 130 kg and wish to go for Bariatric surgery. Is it legal? I do not have any history of diabetes or hypertension. What are the complications associated with Bariatric surgery?

A:Bariatric surgery is an established method of treating morbid obesity and is legal. The complications are:

  1. Surgical: Leaks from places where intestines were sutured (2-3%), wound infection (about 2-3%), intestinal obstruction (1-2%), hernias at the wound site (1-2%)
  2. Anaesthetic: Cardiac or respiratory problems (4-5%), mainly due to the patients obesity
  3. Metabolic: Malnutrition, if the weight loss is too severe, or persistent obesity, if the weight loss is insufficient. Also, anaemia, vitamin deficiencies and other forms of malnutrition may occur. Gallstones are common.
A 35 year old male who is non-hypertensive and non-diabetic may undergo this procedure. The diabetes/hypertension is not a contraindication. The decision depends on the degree of obesity. Patients die early if they are obese. Bariatric surgery will prolong the life span, though the patient may not live as long as he/she would have if there had never been any obesity.

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