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Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Is Bariatric Surgery Safe?

Posted By: Advancing Care

Written by Ashutosh Kaul, MD, Section Chief of Bariatric & Minimally Invasive Surgery at Westchester Medical Center


As a surgeon who performs surgical weight loss procedures, I wanted to share information about bariatric surgery to allay fears, in light of recent news.

In general, bariatric surgery is a safe surgical procedure for those eligible and the benefits of bariatric surgery far outweigh the risks. Bariatric surgery not only helps people lose weight but also aids them to keep the weight off long-term.

Know the Symptoms of Bowel Obstruction

It was recently reported that a bowel obstruction from adhesions led to complications for a high-profile bariatric surgery patient. Adhesions are scar tissues that form inside the body. These scar tissues can be congenital, meaning they are present in the body since birth, or they can result from abdominal surgery. 

It is important to note that adhesions are a known risk of any abdominal surgery, not just bariatric procedures. 

In this case, news reports claimed the patient had other surgeries including an appendectomy, which could have been the source of adhesions. Other surgeries that can lead to adhesion formations include surgeries of the gastrointestinal tract (e.g., bowel resections, colectomies, rectal surgeries), gynecological surgeries (e.g., hysterectomy, oophorectomy, myomectomy), pelvic surgeries (e.g., procedures for pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis) and abdominal trauma surgeries (emergency surgeries for abdominal injuries and trauma).

As such, knowing the symptoms of bowel obstruction is crucial, especially for those who have had any abdominal surgery. These symptoms include:

Ashutosh Kaul, MD
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty passing gas or having a bowel movement

You should seek medical attention immediately, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Bariatric Surgery: Making the Right Choice

Before making any choices about bariatric surgery, talk to a qualified healthcare professional about your individual circumstances, risks and potential outcomes.  By working closely with your healthcare provider, understanding your own personal risks and educating yourself on the symptoms of complications like bowel obstruction, you increase the odds of having a successful outcome

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our healthcare providers at Westchester Medical Center. Your well-being and safety are our top priority. 

For individuals considering weight loss surgery, Westchester Medical Center offers bariatric surgical services, aftercare and post-operative counseling and nutritional planning. For more information call 914.493.6567, email WMC_Bariatric@WMCHealth.org or visit Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery.