What Are the Disadvantages of Bariatric Surgery?

What Are the Risks of Bariatric Surgery? | Henry Carus and Associates

Bariatric surgery refers to several different procedures that can help patients lose weight. Although gastric bypass and other types of weight loss surgery can be effective for some patients who are obese or extremely obese, bariatric surgery is not right for everybody.

Qualifying for bariatric surgery can take up to a year or longer. Bariatric surgeons will generally work closely with candidates to ensure they meet the requirements for the surgery to be performed safely. Frequently, patients have to lose an enormous amount of weight – often 10 to 20 kgs – for the operation to be performed safely. They also need to learn about the changes to their digestive system that will occur after the surgery and be prepared for this, both physically and mentally.

Unfortunately, even if patients reach a safe weight ahead of the operation, bariatric procedures are risky. The patients who have them are often generally unwell, with other comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, and general deconditioning.

We have helped several people get compensation following a delay in diagnosing and treating a leak after the bariatric procedure. This frequently occurs at the anastomosis, or where the digestive tract has been modified. A leak will mean that food contents leak into the person’s abdomen. If this complication is not picked and treated straight away, people can suffer life-threatening sepsis and serious and permanent injuries. They may even die.

If you or a loved one suffered adverse effects from bariatric surgery, you may be able to recover compensation through a medical negligence claim. Please contact Henry Carus + Associates today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Common Bariatric Surgery Complications

Post-operative monitoring and management are essential for successful bariatric surgery outcomes. Doctors and other medical staff must stay vigilant for early complications such as:

  • Leak at the surgical anastomosis
  • Infection at the surgical site
  • Haemorrhage and excess blood loss
  • Bad reaction to anaesthesia, which can lead to trouble breathing during surgery and afterwards
  • Fistulae (openings and leakage in the stomach and/or bowel)

The risk of serious complications continues as patients recover from bariatric surgery and resume their normal routines. Over time, patients may experience:

  • Obstruction of the bowel
  • Acid reflux
  • Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
  • Hernia
  • Malnutrition
  • “Dumping syndrome” – patients with this condition may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and other symptoms within the first few hours of finishing a meal

Some of these complications are chronic health issues, while others are medical emergencies. In the event that a complication is not diagnosed and treated in time, the patient may suffer severe physical and/or psychological injury.

When Do Bariatric Surgery Complications Constitute Medical Negligence?

All surgeries carry risks, and bariatric surgery is no exception. Though errors can occur during the procedure itself, we see more serious injuries arise from negligent handling of these complications. If many of these complications are identified and addressed early, they can be successfully treated.

Errors on the part of multiple providers could constitute bariatric surgery negligence. Potential scenarios include:

  • The bariatric surgeon fails to advise the patient of potential complications and when to seek emergency medical care
  • Emergency department staff discharge the patient too early – often before the patient has received sufficient care for the complication
  • Delayed treatment by emergency department staff who fail to recognise the seriousness of the patient’s condition
  • Failure to communicate between the emergency department and the bariatric surgeon who performed the operation

Timely intervention is critical for any type of surgical complication. Unfortunately, when patients aren’t informed of the signs to watch out for, when medical professionals fail to communicate, and when diagnosis and treatment are delayed, serious and even fatal injury may befall bariatric patients.

Proving negligence on the part of one or more healthcare providers is difficult. Hiring a lawyer is crucial for establishing your right to compensation.

The nature of your losses and the severity of your injuries will determine how much compensation you may be due. You may be entitled to recovery of damages such as the cost of treating the complications, revision bariatric surgery, etc., as well as lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more.

Contact a Bariatric Surgery Negligence Lawyer Today

At Henry Carus + Associates, we have seen how errors during and after bariatric surgery can lead to devastating consequences for patients and their families. It is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible if you suffered harm due to a surgical error or other medical negligence related to gastric bypass, lap band, gastric sleeve, or another weight loss procedure.

Lawyer Michelle Dubrava has represented patients as well as doctors and hospitals. She knows how healthcare practitioners, hospitals, and medical centres operate, especially when they are accused of wrongdoing. Today, Michelle leads our Medical Negligence Practice Group, a team of lawyers and staff committed to pursuing fair compensation on behalf of patients who suffer due to the errors of doctors, surgeons, and other practitioners.

We believe that You Deserve More. When you hire Henry Carus + Associates, you will have a dedicated team to support you, guide you, and advocate for you at each stage of your claim.

Please call Henry Carus + Associates at 03 9001 1318 today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers handle medical negligence claims involving bariatric surgery throughout Melbourne and all of VIC.

Medical Negligence
Last updated on - Originally published on

Leave a Reply