Central Maine Medical Center
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300 Main Street, Lewiston, ME 04240 | 207-795-0111
Bariatric Surgery - Imagine Tomorrow

Weight Loss Surgery - Risks & Benefits

There are Benefits and Risk to Weight Loss Surgery

Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery: Improved Quality of Life

Bariatric surgery can greatly improve your quality of life in many ways. As you begin to lose weight, you may experience more energy and feel better about yourself. You may notice you are no longer short of breath during daily activities and you may start participating in new adventures. Many of our patients uncover opportunities for better work, new friendships, and an improved outlook on a long and happy life.

Effectively Maintained Weight Loss

Bariatric surgery is a tool for weight loss, not the cure. Your commitment to diet and exercise to achieve a healthier and fuller life is essential for long-term success. Surgery is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle – it is a measure that allows diet and exercise to actually work. We have many resources available to help you achieve this success, including monthly support groups, and one-on-one follow-up with our dietitians and social worker.

Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

As with any surgery, bariatric surgery has some risks.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)/Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in the lungs. The problem actually begins in the legs, where blood clots can form in the veins of the calves or thighs, especially if the legs are stationary. Such clots (known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) can cause leg swelling or pain. However, they present the most danger if they break off and travel to the lungs. A large clot can cause shortness of breath or completely block blood from entering the lungs, causing death. Overweight patients have a higher risk of forming blood clots in the legs, particularly during or soon after surgery. To prevent pulmonary emboli, your legs will be fitted with compression boots during surgery and you will be given a small dose of a blood thinner at the time of surgery. The best prevention is to get out of bed and walk as soon as possible after surgery.

* To help prevent clots from forming, you will need to take Lovenox for several days after surgery. This medication is self-injected at home and you will be instructed on how to do this by your nurse at the bariatric center.

Wound Infection

As with any surgery, the incision site can become infected. In overweight patients who have more fat in their abdominal walls, the infection can be deeper than usual. Minor infections are treated with oral antibiotics. Deeper, more serious infections may require opening the wound and packing it with gauze, in addition to receiving antibiotics.


During any surgery there is a risk for bleeding to occur. To prevent excessive bleeding during and after the surgery, it is important that you follow our pre-op instructions about medications and foods to avoid prior to surgery. Some medications can increase your risk of bleeding.

Lung complications

As with any surgery, there is a risk of lung complications such as fever, pneumonia, or shortness of breath. These can be prevented by using your incentive spirometer, a device to help respiration, which will be provided to you at the time of your surgery.


Anytime patients undergo an operation, there is a risk of death. The bariatric surgeries we perform are very safe and we take many precautions to ensure your safety.

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