As with any surgery, complications may arise. There is risk with any surgery, including metabolic or bariatric surgery. Listed below are a number of possible complications experienced by post-operative metabolic/bariatric surgery patients. If at any time you experience these or other complications after surgery, please notify your metabolic/bariatric surgeon. If you feel that you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, contact 911.
This is rarely a complication of the surgery, but rather a result of poor post-operative eating habits. Eating too fast, not chewing food properly, and not following your strict diet are causes of nausea and vomiting.
Dehydration is an important concern for weight loss surgery patients. To avoid dehydration, it’s important to sip small amounts of water or low-calorie beverages between meals.
Some patients may experience a side effect known as “dumping syndrome” when they consume food with high sugar content. Symptoms may include weakness, nausea and light-headedness. It usually passes within 45 minutes.
Patients who never before had a problem with dairy products may develop lactose intolerance after surgery. Symptoms include abdominal discomfort, bloating, flatulence and nausea. If you believe you have become lactose intolerant, stop consuming dairy products for a few days and monitor your symptoms. Lactaid® pills and milk products are effective ways to counter these symptoms.
Most patients experience some degree of hair loss in the first year. This is caused by your body being in a state of malnutrition due to rapid weight loss and reduced calorie intake. This condition is nothing to be alarmed of and usually corrects itself about nine months after surgery.
Loose stools are common in the days and weeks immediately after your surgery. This is your body’s natural response to malabsorption. Diarrhea normally resolves over time, and patients can eventually expect one to three normal bowel movements per day. Experiencing diarrhea two to three months after surgery is most likely a result of your diet.
Constipation is normal for the first few months after surgery. This is due to your high protein, low fiber diet. Prune juice, soft fruits and vegetables, and over-the-counter remedies such as Milk of Magnesia can help resolve constipation. This problem should go away as you begin to introduce more fiber into your diet. Keep in mind that you will most likely not have as many bowel movements as you.
Most headaches and dizziness can be attributed to dehydration. Be sure to drink plenty of water (48-64 ounces a day). This might be difficult immediately after your surgery, so we recommend keeping water near you at all times, and sipping frequently. Lack of food may also cause headaches, so be sure to eat several small meals throughout the day as well.