Massive Weight Loss Surgery: Are You at Risk for Complications?

From the Show: HER
Summary: Patients who have lost over 100 pounds have a higher risk of complications if they undergo a body contouring surgery.
Air Date: 11/13/14
Duration: 10
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pamela Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Robert Singer, MD
DR SINGERDr. Robert Singer has been engaged in private practice in La Jolla, San Diego, since 1976, and is now an internationally recognized plastic surgeon.

Throughout his career, Dr. Singer has authored many scientific publications on various aspects of reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery as well as cosmetic medicine, safety, and practice management. Dr. Singer is frequently invited to speak to distinguished plastic surgeon and executive groups in the United States, Europe, Asia, and entral and South America.

He has been a resource for plastic surgical information to the international and national media, the Medical Board of California, and the Congress of the United States.
Massive Weight Loss Surgery: Are You at Risk for Complications?
If you've been losing a bunch of weight, first of all, kudos to you! But, the downside of such dramatic weight loss is all the excess skin you now have on your body.

Not only may this feel uncomfortable, but you might feel a little self-conscious about it and consider having it removed. Or, if you are overweight and need help jump-starting your weight loss, you might have considered weight loss surgery.

However, do you know the risks you may be facing with this type of surgery?

According to a study conducted by University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal), patients who lost more than 100 pounds and those who are shedding weight through bariatric surgery had the highest risk of complications from later surgical procedures to reshape their new, lean bodies.

Researchers examined 450 participants who had undergone body contouring, a procedure in which the excessive skin is removed. Out of these 450 participants, 124 men and women had lost 50 pounds or more before their surgery. Those patients who had a weight loss number more than 100 pounds were at a higher risk for complications, regardless of their weight loss method (diet, exercise, gastric bypass, lap-band, etc.).

Furthermore, those patients who had gastric bypass had the highest risk for complications.

What exactly are these risks you may face if you decide to have massive weight loss surgery?

One major reason why patients who had undergone gastric bypass had the highest risk for complications is because of diet. If you've just had gastric bypass, you are unable to eat as much food as you did previously. Typically, your caloric intake drops to around 1,000 calories a day, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Another risk could be infection, poor healing of your tissue, and bleeding.

Is there a way to prevent a weight loss surgery?

This can be a difficult answer. You may think diet and exercise combined with a reasonably healthy lifestyle should do the trick. However, sometimes this just isn't enough. Every person is different and may have other factors in life contributing to weight and his or her weight loss journey.

What else do you need to know about your risks of massive weight loss surgery?

Dr. Robert Singer discusses why you may be considering body contouring, the risks, and if there is a way to prevent yourself from having to have a massive weight loss surgery.