Bariatric Surgery: Safer Than You Think | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Obesity remains a major cause of illness and death in the United States.  It has spread to all areas of our population, including the young and the old.


One of the ways the medical community has developed to address this very serious health problem is through the use of what is known as bariatric surgery.  There are several types of bariatric surgery, but all of them have one primary goal, which is to drastically reduce the size of the stomach, thereby involuntarily reducing the amount of food that the surgical recipient can put into his or her stomach at any one time.  This can be accomplished by surgically reconfiguring the digestive tract, known as a Roux-N-Y gastric bypass surgery.  The other method that enjoys the most popularity as this time is the laparoscopic application of a band that is placed around the stomach and constricted to divide the stomach into two sections, one of which cannot accommodate food.

In a recent report of the American Journal of Medicine, a large perspective study was reported in which the post-operative complications associated with these two types of bariatric surgery were studied and statistically tabulated.

The major adverse outcomes which were encountered and studied were death, blood clots and perforations to portions of the digestive tract, causing sepsis

The results of the study were that a surprisingly few number of patients who underwent one of these two types of procedures had severe or serious post-operative complications such as death, blood clotting and perforation of portions of the digestive system, such as stomach perforation and bowel perforation.  The study concludes that because of the low number of major adverse outcomes following either of these two types of surgery, surgical intervention for a severely obese individual should be seriously considered when weighed against the adverse effects that morbid obesity has on the health of the untreated patient.