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Morbid Obesity
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Body Mass Index (BMI)
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Morbid Obesity : Risks of Surgery

Weight loss surgery is not without risk, however the degree of risk is not to the extent as may be portrayed in the lay media/press. Before deciding to undergo weight loss surgery it is important to understand the types of risks involved and when those risks become more significant. It is also important to understand the risks in terms of their actual likelihood of occurrence as outlined in scientific studies. The longer one has been obese the more likely there are associated co-morbidities that could result in a higher rate of complications. The more health problems one has accumulated, the more likely it is to have a complication related to weight loss surgery. The older one is, the more likely it is to have a complication related to weight loss surgery. The more obese one is, the more likely it is to have complications related to weight loss surgery. I was once told by a colleague and friend and well respected bariatric surgeon that it is those people that are the most sick as a result of their obesity that need weight loss surgery the most. That may be true, but the risk of complications also rises in that category of people and it is important to understand the risks involved before deciding to undergo weight loss surgery. The following is a list of the most significant risks and their frequency in relation to weight loss surgery. These statistics are averages, and an individuals risk may be less or more dependent on their individual health status and other factors as mentioned above:

Death 0.5%
Cardiac Problems  
   Heart Attack extremely rare
   Sudden Cardiac Death 8X the risk of the general population
Lung Problems variable depending on pre-existing lung conditions and mobility after the operation
Blood Clots 5 %
Leaks 1%, requires re-operation
Spleen injury 1%
Marginal Ulcer < 1%, treatable with antacids, in worse form may require re-operation
Stricture 1- 5%, treatable with balloon dilatation or may require re-operation
Wound Infection 1 á°¥, depends on the size of incision and length of operation
Hernia 0 áµ¥
Intestinal Obstruction 1%, may require operation
Malnutrition 0 ã°¥, depends on type of operation and adherence to dietary regimens
Dumping syndrome variable, depends on operation and adherence to dietary regimens
Hair Loss variable
Excess gas variable
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