3 Types of Bariatric Surgery Problems

3 Types of Bariatric Surgery Problems

Choosing to have any surgery has the potential for many health risks that can impact your mental and physical health.  The difficult and challenging aspect of weight loss surgery is the many unknown factors.  Unfortunately, many variables cannot be determined before and after surgery. Many patients do not experience negative health side effects from weight loss surgery, but many patients experience various health problems that range from minor to severe. Having minor issues or discomfort after bariatric surgery is a common occurrence. Serious or severe health complications need immediate attention to prevent further infection. Depending on which weight loss surgery you chose to have, you can experience a variety of side effects after surgery.

Many weight loss surgery patients experience an improvement in their overall quality of life, but not everyone has those identical experiences.  Weight loss surgery promotes a radical life change that can either be both permanent and temporary.

If you are experiencing any problems after surgery, contact your health care team immediately. 

Physical Health Problems after Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery has many risks and problems that can occur after surgery that must be immediately identified and cared for.  Some short term problems include:

  • Leak
  • Bleeding
  • Vomiting or Nausea
  • Infection
  • Blood clots

You may also experience more long-term risks, which have many health risks.  Some of the long term problems that are caused by bariatric surgery include:

  • Dumping Syndrome
  • Vitamin, mineral, protein deficiencies
  • Ulcers
  • Internal hernias
  • Low Blood Sugar
  • Vomiting

Your problems will vary in severity and frequency.  You should discuss with your bariatric health care team any concerning symptoms you may be experiencing.  Any discomfort or questionable physical sensations should be discussed as soon as possible to avoid infection and complications to your physical health.

Speak with your health care team to discuss your mental health options if you are struggling. 

Psychological Problems after Bariatric Surgery

Physical changes as a result of weight loss surgery can lead to mental health struggles.  Your mental health goes through a radical change after weight loss surgery.  Many patients experience depression or similar symptoms one year after surgery.

Although you will lose a significant amount of weight due to your weight loss surgery, this dramatic change in your size can lead to negative self-esteem issues surrounding your new body image. When you lose a large amount of bodyweight and appear substantially slimmer and lighter, this is usually seen as a positive development.  Some patients develop ambivalence and sadness because their life-changing surgery was the reason for changes in their interactions with others.

You will experience interactions with strangers, acquaintances, friends, and family that are friendlier than ever before, which will cause you intense feelings and thoughts. You will also be asked invasive questions about your radical weight loss, which can cause uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.

Most bariatric patients are thrilled with their weight loss success. Still, you will experience a period of grief or depression because of the realization that you had to have life-changing surgery to receive respect.  This realization has a lasting effect on many bariatric patients that requires time and patience to process and understand.

Significant weight loss creates loose skin. Consult with your plastic surgery and dermatology team to help. 

Skin Problems after Bariatric Surgery

Another important consideration you need to be aware of is loose skin with massive weight loss. Massive weight loss is categorized as losing more than 50 pounds.

Most weight loss patients lose more than 50 pounds with weight loss surgery; therefore, loose skin is a serious consideration and process.  Loose skin is a serious issue because the skin does not disappear after weight loss surgery.

After your significant weight loss, you are left with extra skin looser and saggier than before your surgery.  Your skin sags because when you gain weight, your skin adjusts and expands with the new tissue.  When you lose weight, you no longer have enough elasticity to shrink your skin back down.

Many bariatric patients experience many issues with their excessive skin.  These problems include:

  • Skin rashes and chafing
  • Skin infections
  • Open sores

All of the listed skin complications occur when your excess skin rubs against other folds of your skin. You can also experience rashes when your excess skin is moist.  From constant rubbing and chafing, you will eventually have infections. The immediate and short-term solution to excessive skin is crèmes, lotions, and powders to reduce redness, irritation, and infection.  These are great for immediate pain relief.

The negative aspect of only using crèmes and powders is that they do not solve your excessive skin's overall issue.  To fully solve your excessive skin issue, you need to remove it.  The only way to remove your loose skin is by consulting with a plastic surgeon professionally trained with bariatric health care.

Cosmetic surgery does not magically change your self-esteem and overall body image. 

Detailed Skin Problems after Bariatric Surgery

When you lose over 100 or 150 pounds from your weight loss surgery, plastic surgery is almost necessary to remove your excess skin.  A steady diet and exercise routine will never give your body its intended shape back because of the loss of elasticity.

If you are seriously considering plastic surgery, you should have a maintained weight for a minimum of six months after your weight loss surgery.  Most plastic surgeons prefer you at a stable weight around 18 months after your bariatric surgery.

Another vital component is that most cosmetic surgeries are not covered by insurance.  Medical insurance will only cover plastic surgery if deemed medically necessary, which can be difficult to attain.

If you have lost a substantial amount of weight from your weight loss surgery, you may qualify for skin removal.  Review your healthcare policy to determine your next steps.

Kelsey Renae Schulze


Kelsey is a post-op bariatric patient who had sleeve surgery in 2018. She is a writer, focusing on a variety of topics given her background in legal studies and criminal justice.