High Stakes: The Risks of High BMI Bariatric Surgery

June 21, 2016 — by Fernando Garcia
Tags: High Bmi Bariatric Surgery

Surgeons at an operating tableHere at Tijuana Bariatrics, our goal is helping people look great and feel great. In many cases that means the careful tailoring of surgical procedures to address excessive weight. Most bariatric surgeons are able to address obesity and morbid obesity, but not as many are able to address high BMI bariatric surgery for extreme obesity.

With extreme obesity and high BMIs in mind, we want to go over some of the risks involved in these kinds of procedures. Bariatric surgery can be a life-changer for patient with a high BMI, but we want to let these patients know what they may be facing with regard to surgical risks.

Defining "High BMI"

As we noted in our last post on high BMI bariatric surgery recovery, BMI refers to a measurement of body fat related to a person's weight and height. The number helps determine what body mass range a person falls into. Broadly, they are as follows:

  • Underweight – BMI less than 18.5
  • Normal Weight – BMI 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight – BMI 25.0-29.9
  • Obesity (Class 1) – BMI 30.0-34.9
  • Severe Obesity (Class 2) – BMI 35.0-39.9
  • Morbid Obesity (Class 3) – BMI 40.0-49.9
  • Superobesity/Extreme Obesity – BMI greater than 50.0

A high BMI refers to people who suffer from higher-tier extreme obesity, such as BMIs of 75 or higher.

Why High BMI Bariatric Surgery Is Risky

Given the extreme amount of body fat and body mass and the effects of these factors on a person's general wellness, a high BMI makes surgical procedures more difficult than they would be on a patient with a lower BMI. The difficult involved with these sorts of surgeries are such that some surgeons will not perform high BMI bariatric surgery.

These procedures require a great degree of skill to perform, and extra diligence when it comes to post-operative patient care.

Common Risks of High BMI Bariatric Surgery

Some common post-surgical risks for people who have a BMI include:

  • Issues with Healing Time – With increased body mass, a number of patients have issues with slow healing, which in some cases also means an increased risk of infection.

  • Difficulty Performing the Surgery – The sheer body mass of a person can make laparoscopic surgery more difficult to perform.

  • Increased Risk of Hernia – Potential changes to the abdominal wall can increase the risk of a hernia after a person undergoes bariatric surgery, and the risk increases when the surgery is performed on someone with a high BMI.

  • Pneumonia – Fluid accumulation in the lungs after surgery can lead to pneumonia, and patients with a high BMI do run a greater risk of this after their surgery has been performed.

  • Heart Issues – Patients who were at risk for heart disease going into bariatric surgery may run a risk of abnormal heartbeat and other cardiovascular issues as they heal.

  • Blood Clots/Deep Vein Thrombosis – Blood clots can form in the legs while healing after surgery and potentially spread to the lungs. This is why it's important to ensure proper circulation as you recover, though it can be more challenging to accomplish this with patients who have a high BMI.

Preparing Patients for Weight Loss Surgery

In order to prepare patients with a very high BMI for their bariatric procedure, it's not uncommon to have patients go on an all-liquid diet. This allows a person to lose weight and lower their BMI, in some cases dramatically, so that they are in a better position to undergo surgery and experience its benefits without the risks.

During a consultation, we can offer our insight and advice with regard to dealing with high BMI surgical needs.

Using Our Expertise and Insight

We pride ourselves in helping patients with all sorts of issues, and high BMI is one such matter we can handle. It's important that we plan accordingly, prepare a patient for their surgery, and then follow through with expert surgery and proper instructions to prevent severe side effects and complications.

In essence, our team will work with the patient closely to help ensure the right choices are made to help facilitate rapid weight loss that's safe in the short-term and the long-run.

Schedule a Consultation at Tijuana Bariatrics

For more information about high BMI weight loss procedures and how you can learn about your treatment options, be sure to contact our team of bariatric surgery experts today. The team at Tijuana Bariatrics looks forward to your visit and discussing these matters with you in greater detail.