Bariatric Surgery Risks & Complications

bariatric surgery patientIt’s normal to feel concerned or anxious about surgery. As with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications. But talking with your doctor can help you feel more comfortable in making a decision that's right for you. They can help you compare the benefits of surgery against the potential risks. 

Possible risks associated with the surgical procedure can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Lung problems
  • Leaks in your gastrointestinal system 

Complications following surgery can include:1 

  • Dumping syndrome (a group of symptoms, including weakness and abdominal discomfort that occurs after meals)
  • Gallstones
  • Malnutrition
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea and constipation 

Keep in mind: 

  • Risks and complications vary depending on the type of surgery and your commitment to following post-surgery guidelines. Talk with your doctor to get the facts. 
  • Advances in bariatric surgery over the years have reduced the rate of serious complications.2 
  • Bariatric surgery is considered to be as safe as or safer than other commonly performed procedures.2 

It may help to speak with a bariatric surgeon, who can tell you more about the risks of surgery specifically for you. Click here for a list of bariatric surgeons in your area.


1. Mayo Clinic Web site. Bariatric surgery. Accessed December 2, 2019.

2. DeMaria EJ, Pate V, Warthen M, et al. Baseline data from American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery-designated bariatric surgery centers of excellence using the bariatric outcomes longitudinal database. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2010;6(4):347-355.