Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, used to be something we only heard about every so often. In the beginning, it may have seemed that you heard about it but never actually knew anyone that had weight loss surgery. Nowadays, weight loss surgery is becoming more and more common, and chances are we all know several people now that have undergone such a procedure.
In fact, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), in 2019, an estimated 256,000 weight loss surgeries were done in the U.S. That is only in one year’s time; no wonder we hear about it more and more! In addition, weight loss surgery complications may be something you’ve heard about more and more as well.
While bariatric surgery can be a lifesaving procedure for some, it becomes a long-term struggle for health for others. Did you know that gastric bypass surgery has the very highest rate of medical malpractice claims? If you are one of these unfortunate patients that have been injured, suffered from complications, or have a family member or friend that has lost their life, filing a medical malpractice claim may be a possible option.
Let’s look at weight loss surgery in general, some of the complications that can result from them, and what you can do about them moving forward.
Types of Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery encompasses a host of specific techniques and procedures that are done to treat obese patients. There are many different types, and each has its own set of benefits and risks. The main types of weight loss surgery include:
Gastric Bypass or Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass – The most popular type of bariatric surgery across the world, this surgery divides the stomach to make a small pouch that is then attached to a divided portion of the small intestine. This makes it so that the food you eat can bypass the lower part of the stomach, making patients feel like they are fuller much faster than usual, so they don’t eat near as much as they used to.
Lap-Band – The Lap Band procedure is popular because it is one of the least invasive of all bariatric procedures. The surgeon simply puts a ring around the very top portion of the stomach so that not as much food can enter the stomach. As a result, patients feel fuller much faster when this is done.
Gastric Sleeve – In America, more than half of bariatric surgeries done are with the gastric sleeve technique. In this procedure, about 80% of the stomach is taken out until it looks like a “sleeve” or skinny tube. This smaller stomach size again helps patients feel fuller faster, not as much food is consumed, and weight loss is the result.
Gastric Balloon – A gastric balloon as big as a grapefruit is filled with saline and inserted inside the stomach to help the patient feel full longer and faster. One of the greatest benefits of this procedure is that no actual “surgery” is done. Instead, the balloon is guided through the mouth and down the esophagus into the stomach. It only lasts about six months and must be removed using the same method.
Duodenal Switch – This procedure is for extremely obese patients. It’s a very complex technique but also the most reliable one. In this surgery, the stomach’s size is substantially reduced, and the food is bypassed into the last section of the small intestine. With the food being bypassed to this portion of the small intestine, much fewer calories are absorbed into the body, leading to high amounts of weight loss. However, nutritional deficiencies can be a massive risk with this method of weight-loss surgery.
Weight Loss Surgery Complications and Risks
Now that you know about the different types of weight loss surgery available, the potential side effects and complications that can arise will be much easier to understand. All surgeries have their own risks and complications associated with them. Some of the most common complications or side effects related to weight loss surgery include:
- Acid reflux
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Stomach or bowel obstruction
- Weight gain
- Food intolerance
- Perforation of stomach and intestines
- Blood clots
- Band slipping
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
Weight Loss Surgery Medical Malpractice
Unfortunately, there are many surgeons that perform bariatric surgery on patients that simply aren’t good candidates for it. Other malpractice cases occur because of inexperienced surgeons, unaddressed problems immediately after the surgery, gastric perforations, or pulmonary embolisms.
Of course, many other complications during and after surgery could be avoided if the proper treatment and care were given, but sadly many end up leading to medical malpractice claims and years of suffering instead.
Patients who can prove negligence or a breach of duty of care can be successful when filing a malpractice claim against their surgeon, the facility, or more. Keeping track of all medical records, any communication, and a journal or log of all happenings after surgery will help your case as it moves forward.
You would deserve compensation if you were treated with negligence or felt something didn’t go quite right in surgery. It may feel intimidating to go up against a doctor. But as you advocate for yourself and partner with a lawyer, you will gain the confidence you need to move forward.
Medical Malpractice Experts
The legal team of Wormington & Bollinger has been successfully obtaining well-deserved compensation for weight loss surgery patients for years, probably even before you gave surgery a thought yourself. We know what it takes to navigate our clients through such a case while taking over the burden of the everyday tasks that need to be done to push your claim forward.
Weight loss surgery complications should not just be endured. If you are ready to get started on a medical malpractice case or want to know more about what it would entail, contact us to set up a free appointment and consultation today.