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Frequently Asked Questions About Weight Loss Surgery

What Are the Pros and Cons of Various Weight Loss Surgeries? continued...

The Cons:

  • Your weight loss may be less dramatic than with gastric bypass. The average loss is 21% of your excess weight after one year, and 47% of your excess weight after two years.
  • You may regain some of the weight over the years. Ten years after surgery, the average weight loss is about 13%.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

The Pros:

  • Weight loss is quick and dramatic. People lose an average of 38% of their excess body weight in the first year, and 62% of excess body weight in two years.
  • Because weight loss is quick, weight-related health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, sleep apnea, and heartburn improve quickly.
  • Many people keep most of the weight off for 10 years or longer. After 10 years, the average weight loss is 25%.
  • Loss of stomach tissue results in a drop in the so-called "hunger hormone" Ghrelin, which helps control appetite.

The Cons:

  • Gastric bypass surgery is riskier and is associated with more complications. Although the surgery is generally safe, 10% of people have minor complications. Less than 5% have serious (potentially life-threatening) complications. The risk of death is under 1%.
  • The surgery may result in dumping syndrome, which occurs when food moves too quickly through the stomach and intestines. Dumping syndrome can cause shaking, sweating, dizziness, nausea, and severe diarrhea.
  • Gastric bypass is generally considered irreversible. The surgery permanently changes how your body digests food.


What Are Typical Risks After Weight Loss Surgery?

Typical risks associated with weight loss surgery include:

  • Vomiting from eating too much too quickly and not chewing well
  • Constipation
  • Nutritional deficiencies such as anemia, osteoporosis, and metabolic bone disease

As with any surgery, wound infections can occur up to three weeks after surgery. These can be treated with antibiotics, and sometimes require further surgery.

Complications that may develop following weight loss surgery include:

  • Hernia
  • Gallstones
  • Ulcerations
  • Gastric prolapse
  • Severe scarring of the new stomach pouch
  • Excess skin that may need to be removed in an additional surgery
  • Dehydration
  • Hair loss
  • Kidney stones
  • Hypoglycemia

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