Gastric Bypass Surgery is it Safe – No

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No surgery is 100% safe. Getting yourself cut open - especially around such vital organs as your stomach and intestines - is inherently risky.  Gastric bypass surgery involves an incredible amount of risks of internal infection, malpractice, problems with the anesthesia and post-operative complications to take lightly.

Why Bother With It?

Gastric bypass surgery is a drastic means to reduce a patient’s weight.  For some morbidly obese people, it may be the only meathod of keeping weight off for the long term – but only if they drastically change their diets for the rest of their lives.  Obese paitens may have to go o a liquid diet and exercise programs months before surgery so that they have a better chance of surviing the procedure.  Gastric bypass surgery is not a “get out of dieting and exercise” card. 

But some people want elective gastric bypass sugery even if they are not morbidly obese or clinically obese.

Risk of Complications 

The rise in staph MRSA infections is particularly worrisome.  In the United States, more people die of MRSA than from AIDS, according to WebMD Health News.  You can only get MRSA from having your skin opened, usually very deeply, in order for the infection (which usually sits quietly on your skin, minding its own business) to get to work making you incredibly sick.  This kind of staph you usually can only get in hospitals.

The Mayo Clinic notes that other complications from gstric bypass surgery include a chance of dangerous dehydration; the body suffering from a lack of vitamins because it is not getting them from food; an increased risk in blood clots and “dumping syndrome.”  This is where food is passed through the body barely digested.  This causes massive bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, sweating and light-headedness.

In 2004, the University of Washington did a study of people who get gastric bypass surgery. They discovered that one in fifty will die due to complications of the surgery within a mere 30 days of getting the Lapband installed. The study also reported that men died more than women. However, if you are a woman considering gastric bypass surgery, you are still at risk.

The point of gastric bypass surgery is to stick a device called a laparascope around your stomach to keep it feeling full.  The most famous brand name is Lapband.  And the device can slip, which means you are at risk of needing ANOTHER emergency surgery in the future. Gastric bypass surgery should only be for exceptional cases.

Risks to the Health Care System

The way many nations' health systems are today, you want to avoid a hospital if you can help it, and not just to avoid and other kind of infections. Doctors and nurses are overworked, exhausted and prone to making mistakes. It's not just America that has had to deal with hospital-related infections and medical mistakes. So has England and Canada.

The situation has gotten so bad in America than many health insurance companies, including Medicare (the biggie) will no longer cover any procedures you need that was caused by a hospital error.  So, why do you want to push your luck?

Hospitals are having problems having the money to stay open, and cut corners wherever they can. For example, because of the insurance costs, most hospitals in the Greater Philadelphia have closed their maternity wards.  In 1997, Philadelphia had 19 hospitals with these wards.  Ten years later, only eight remained. You won't get the care and attention needed in any American hospital anymore for any procedure, let alone gastric bypass surgery.

A competent doctor will not allow you to get gastric bypass surgery if you fail any of the criteria for surviving a surgery. But you should not get one anyway, unless as an absolute last resort.


“Impact of gastric bypass operation on survival: a population-based analysis.” FR Flume, et al. Department of Surgery, University of Washington. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2004.

Mayo “Gastric Bypass Surgery”.

WebMD Health News: “More U.S. Deaths from MRSA Than AIDS.” Salynn Boyles. Oct. 16, 2007

CBS News: “Philadelphia’s Maternity-Ward Crunch.” May 22, 2007.

More about this author: Rena Sherwood

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