Bariatric Surgery Complications

Making the decision to have bariatric surgery is extremely difficult. There are several different complications that can develop during and after surgery.

Knowing what to expect allows you to pre-plan for the post surgery process and make sure you take all the necessary precautions before the surgery.

Here is a list of the possible bariatric surgery complications:

1. Staple Line Leaks

If a leak does occur, it’s usually not serious. However, there are rare occasions when a major leak develops. This will require the patient to have emergency surgery.

If the leak is minor, most of them can be drained properly. You can also take antibiotics to help the staple line heal. We would consider this a short term complication.

2. Dehydration

One of the most common complications associated with bariatric surgery is dehydration.

The body needs about two ounces of water every hour while you’re awake. Granted, you have to sip it in order for the water to digest properly.

Taking bigger drinks could create complications as well, so it’s important to ingest the water appropriately.

3. Blood Clots

Another complication associated with bariatric surgery is the blood clot.

These will typically form in your legs and could create some serious issues. However, you can reduce the risk of blood clots with a little bit of exercise.

The goal is to get the blood flowing, so something as simple as walking would be an easy remedy. If you’re bed-ridden, just move your feet around in circles, up and down, etc.

4. Hernia

Reducing the risk of hernia can easily happen if you listen to your surgeons. Sometimes the initial incision will be too weak and the incision will tear.

Hernia creates another surgery you will have to go through in order to repair the lining and make the area strong again.

Sometimes this cannot be helped, but on most occasions it occurs because the patient didn’t take the necessary precaution.

5. Malabsorption

Sometimes the body cannot absorb the proper amounts of calcium and iron after bariatric surgery.

When this occurs, patients can end up with diarrhea, anemia, kidney stones, and even bone disease. This complication can have an everlasting effect on the rest of your life.

In order to reduce the risk of malabsorption, patients should get a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals through a recommended supplement.

6. Dry Skin

Some bariatric surgery complications are minor like dry skin. It’s something that can be categorized as a short term issue due to dehydration.

Drinking the appropriate amounts of water throughout the day can remove this issue from the post surgery equation.

7. Mood Swings

Don’t be surprised if you tend to be a bit edgy, sad, or even depressed during your recovery period. While we wouldn’t consider mood swings as part of your bariatric surgery complications, it could surface because you’re stuck in the house for an extended period of time.

8. Excess Weight Areas

One of the common bariatric surgery complications is the way your body looks after losing an extreme amount of weight.

In most cases, there will be additional fat-flabs around your stomach, neck, and underarms.

This becomes worse if you aren’t sticking to your post surgery diet, especially if the body isn’t getting enough protein.

9. Ulcers

One of the rarest bariatric surgery complications is an ulcer.

If one is present, it is usually around the area where your small intestine attaches to the upper part of your stomach.

This is most likely due to taking a lot of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents or aspirin.

Lowering your dosage for either of these products can greatly reduce the chance of an ulcer developing and creating problems.

10. Non-Insulinoma Pancreatogenous Hypoglycemia Syndrome (NIPHS)

If you’re dealing with NIPHS, it means your blood sugar levels reach very low levels and create severe complications. You could feel confused several times throughout the day, have to deal with visual disturbances, or even end up with seizures.

Also, there is a good chance this will lead to neurologic symptoms.

11. Fatigue

Since you will be on a strict diet throughout the upcoming months, it’s possible you will experience a case of fatigue.

This will feel more like the flu, because the body is trying to cope with the major change that has taken place.

It’s a short term issue, but it can also be scary. Often patients will think they’re dealing with major bariatric surgery complications, but it will eventually subside. Try to sleep it off if at all possible.

12. Hair Thinning and Hair Loss

There is a possibility your hair will start thinning. You might even see some hair loss.

We understand this is a sore topic for a lot of people, so make sure you take the proper amount of vitamins and minerals throughout the process. It will definitely help reduce your hair thinning or loss.

13. Gallstones

Unfortunately, one of the bariatric surgery complications is gallstones.

These occur because of your diet and continued weight loss. These crystallized stones can be quite painful, and they form in the gallbladder. They can also be found in the bile ducts. These are created from a mixture of cholesterol, calcium salts, and bile pigments. They are shaped like pebbles and will sometimes block the bile duct.

14. Dairy Intolerance

There is also a possibility you will struggle to digest dairy products.

We’re not sure why, but due to the massive change to your body in a short period of time, some patients can no longer drink milk, eat cheese or ice cream, or digest any other dairy foods.

Medical experts say that 1 out of every 2 people who have bariatric surgery will have to deal with dairy intolerance.

15. Constipation

Earlier we mentioned bariatric surgery complications like dehydration and dry skin. Both of these issues are due to a lack of water. You can add constipation to this list as well.

You can see this is a growing trend, so be sure to drink the right amount of water during your recovery period.

16. Arrhythmia

According to bariatric surgeons and a countless number of surveys, only about 10% of the patients undergoing bariatric surgery will end up with Arrhythmia.

If you’re not familiar with this term, Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. This is due to electrical impulses to the heart not working properly.

The end result is a heartbeat that is too fast, too slow, or inconsistent.

If you feel like your heart is fluttering or it doesn’t seem right, contact a physician immediately.

Here is a list of other bariatric surgery complications:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Anemia
  • B12 Deficiency
  • Dumping
  • Vomiting


It’s important to remember that some of these bariatric surgery complications are associated with the surgery options.

The good news is; your surgeon and doctor will go over all the potential risks before you have the surgery. It gives you a chance to know what to expect and decide whether or not a bariatric surgery is right for you.

I hope we haven’t scared you off! But it’s so important to be aware that there can be risks.

Weight Loss Surgery truly can be incredibly life-changing, improving your health, self-image and your expected life-span.

You, better than any other person, know that Morbid Obesity is a very serious illness that threatens your life and ruins your life quality.

Bariatric surgery can give you a renewed sense of freedom.

Freedom to go where ever you want to go, freedom to feel as healthy as you can be, and freedom to meet new people and take advantage of thousands of new opportunities.

If you are ready to make your first steps towards a better life for you and your family, just fill in this very short, simple form.

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