With 73.7 percent of Americans considered overweight or obese, many are taking drastic measures to lose weight. Gastric bypass surgery is becoming more common. Bariatric surgery should be a last resort for those having trouble losing weight. It involves taking out a part of the stomach so patients can only eat a small amount of food. There are many risks involved because it changes the anatomy of the body. Although many patients lose a lot of weight, some continue to overeat, restretching the stomach and causing even more problems.

Who Should Get Bariatric Surgery?

According to the Mayo Clinic, only those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher should even begin to consider weight loss surgery. Those with a BMI of 35 to 39 may have the option of weight loss surgery only if they suffer from one or more obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease. However, bariatric surgery is not an easy fix. It is a last resort that results in the possibility of nutrient deficiency and the need to follow a very strict diet.


Like all major surgeries, gastric bypass has several possible complications, including bleeding, infection, and an anesthetic reaction. In addition to standard complications, this surgery might result in nutrient deficiencies, dehydration, gallstones, extreme indigestion, hypoglycemia, and bleeding stomach ulcers.

Some rare but unpleasant side effects include shrinking of the opening between the small intestine and stomach, which requires corrective surgery. Another side effect is dumping syndrome, which is when contents from the stomach move through the small intestines too quickly, causing nausea, vomiting, and profuse sweating.

Bariatric surgery is only recommended for those who are severely obese. In general, there is a higher risk in surgery among people who are morbidly obese than people who are not. Older patients have the highest mortality rate. Patients ages 65 and older recovering from bariatric surgery have a 7 percent mortality rate within the first three months of leaving the hospital. After 75, the rate increases to 20 percent.

Instead of turning to weight loss surgery, take your diet into your own hands and try a physician-supervised weight loss program, such as Medi-Weightloss®. The program will help you create a healthy diet and exercise plan without the need to alter your anatomy.