Acute Nonsurgical Complications of Weight Loss Surgery

  • Freeman J. Condon
  • Robert Lim


Weight loss surgery (WLS), or bariatric surgery, by its design fundamentally alters an individual’s anatomy and metabolism. Postoperative complications therefore include those universal to all operative interventions in addition to several unique problems brought about by a patient’s altered postoperative anatomy and physiology. Nutritional derangements due to the malabsorptive effects can range from relatively common and benign (myalgia and fatigue) to rare and devastating (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome). In the case of choledocholithiasis, WLS can confound the diagnosis and complicate the management of an already treacherous clinical entity. Lastly, psychiatric comorbidities are common in the bariatric surgery population, and research suggests that more WLS patients die by suicide than age- and sex-matched peers. Clinicians must therefore be mindful not only of medical and surgical but also of psychiatric crises in the bariatric patient. Given the breadth and prevalence of the postoperative complications of WLS, all practitioners of medicine, not only bariatricians and surgeons, must be familiar with the unique presentations and initial management of postoperative WLS patients.


Weight loss surgery Bariatric surgery Obesity Gastric bypass Sleeve gastrectomy Nutrition Malabsorption 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Freeman J. Condon
    • 1
  • Robert Lim
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryTripler Army Medical CenterHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Department of General SurgeryTripler Army Medical Center SurgeryHonoluluUSA

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