Dangers of Gastric Bypass Surgery – No

Gastric Bypass surgery poses side effects, that one may never imagine. After working in a hospital/patient advocate setting for a few years, I have seen patients complain of side effects, that didn’t seem worth the surgery. Among the top complaints for these patients, was pain. Some of the pain these patients experienced was so extreme, that they were prescribed opiate and controlled pain killers. And with the use of prescribed pain pills, comes the risk of dependency associated with them. This was the case with a few of the patients, that frequented my office. One might wonder if the chronic pain these people now have, is worth the surgery at all. I guess the answer to that is relative.

The other risks associated with Gastric Bypass Surgery, is infection. In a study done in 1989, 64 patients were followed that had undergone Gastric Bypass Surgery, of which 15.6% developed deep wound infection. Not only does infection require the GB patient to return to the hospital for more surgery (to remove the infection), but it also counts for more hospital days, more medical costs, and longer recovery. Some of these infections are not to be taken lightly. One infection that is almost impossible to treat, is MRSA. MRSA is an extremely anti-biotic resistant infection, that is growing in number in the United States. MRSA infections account for more than 60% of staph infections, in American hospitals.

And a third common side effect of Gastric Bypass surgery, is skin fungal infections. Some patients that lose up to 100 pounds or more, develop sagging skin on certain areas of their body. This occurs because the sagging skin doesn’t get exposed to a lot of air, or develops too much moisture (in locations like the stomach). These areas on the body that have sagging skin, makes it a prime environment for fungus to grow. Some of these patients that lose a large amount of weight, may elect to do undergo another surgery to remove all the excess skin. So they return to the hospital, to undergo more deep tissue incisions, and further risks of infection.

Some may say the benefits outweight the risks with Gastric Bypass surgery. However, I’ve known too many people that gained twenty pounds or more, to qualify for the Gastric Bypass surgery. Is this just a quick way out, for someone that doesn’t want to exercise and diet? Especially if one takes into account, they weren’t morbidly obese to begin with? If they had to gain weight to get the surgery, they might have have had an excellent chance to lose the weight, by eating healthy and exercise. I think Gastric Bypass Surgery should be reserved for those patients that are morbidly obese, and have several failed attempts at losing the weight with diet, and exercise. But those patients that are just “obese”, could be putting themselves at an unnecessary risk, just to take the easier route on weight loss.