Any surgical procedure carries risk. Severe complications, such as leaks, bleeding and pulmonary embolism are rare. Other potential complications include wound infection, hernia, dehydration and malnutrition. About 20 percent of people undergoing weight-loss surgery experience some—usually very minor—complications, according to a study by the Southern California Evidence-Based Practice Center.Long-term complications of weight loss surgery include marginal ulcer, internal hernia, fistula, vitamin deficiencies and stomal stenosis—a narrowing of the opening that food passes through. Complication rates are found more often with surgeons who have performed 50 or fewer procedures.Although estimates vary, the most widely accepted statistic is that the chance of dying during gastric bypass surgery is one in 200, or one half of 1 percent. This is often compared to the risk of dying from a comorbidity associated with morbid obesity before 76 years of age, which is about one in seven, or 14 percent.Laparoscopic adjustable band surgery carries a lower risk than Roux-en-Y gastric bypass-with an about one in 10,000 chance of death and a 10 percent complication rate, including such issues as infection and port problems. About one in 10 laparoscopic adjustable band patients will have an inadequate weight loss and there is also the risk of weight loss persisting past two years.
Weight-loss surgery has proven to be the most effective means for morbidly obese individuals to lose weight and maintain that weight loss, according to a study published in the April 2005 Annals of Internal Medicine.Gastric bypass surgery typically results in the loss of 75 percent of excess weight, and weight-loss maintenance of 10 years or longer. For example, if a person is 100 pounds overweight, he or she may lose 75 pounds and keep it off for 10 or more years. The long-term average weight regain for gastric bypass patients is about ten percent. In addition, comorbid conditions such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure and type II diabetes are greatly improved and frequently eliminated.A study by the National Institutes of Health found that a weight-loss surgery patient’s lowest weight is usually achieved at 18 to 24 months after surgery, with some weight regain by two to five years. Nonetheless, the patient’s weight is still significantly lower than it was before surgery.
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