How to Reduce Your Risk of Surgery Complications
There are always risks associated with any surgical procedure, no matter how minor. These risks can include infection, bleeding, and adverse reactions to anaesthesia. If you’re obese, you may be worried about how to reduce the risks of undergoing surgery, and possible complications. After all, obesity is linked to a number of health complications that could potentially make surgery more complicated.
Obesity and Surgery Risks
Studies have shown that obese patients are more likely to experience complications during and after surgery. They are also at higher risk for developing blood clots, pneumonia, and other respiratory problems. In addition, obese patients tend to heal more slowly and are more likely to develop infections at the incision site.
Link Between Surgery Risks and Obesity
Given the increased risks associated with obesity, patients need to discuss their weight with their surgeon before having any type of operation. By understanding the link between obesity and increased surgical risks, patients can make informed decisions about their care. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of complications during and after surgery. Here’s what you need to know.
Obesity and Surgery Risks
So what exactly are the risks associated with obesity and surgery? There are a few reasons why being obese increases your risk of complications during and after surgery. First, excess weight can put a strain on your heart and lungs. This can make it more difficult for them to function during and after surgery. Additionally, obesity can cause inflammation throughout your body, which can lead to surgical site infections. Finally, fat tissue is more likely to bleed during surgery, which can make it more difficult for surgeons to operate.
Dr. Marty Makary is an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He led a study comparing the risk of surgery complications between obese and normal-weight patients. Their research found that obese patients were more likely to experience complications, such as inflammation (by 22 times), infection (13 times), and pain (11 times).
Anaesthesia and obesity
According to the “American Society of Anesthesiologists”, one of the biggest causes of concern is related to sleep apnoea. Other concerns include higher than normal blood pressure, diabetes and acid reflux. However, even if overweight patients don’t suffer from any of these medical conditions, their excess weight can cause many potential challenges for anaesthetists. These include locating veins to administer anaesthetic intravenously, and if necessary, any emergency medications, determining the appropriate dose of any medications, inserting a breathing tube, and ensuring the patient gets enough oxygen and airflow.
Other risks associated with obesity
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust has also produced a leaflet. It specifically provides information about anaesthetic risks for patients who have a high Body Mass Index, or BMI. The leaflet points out an extensive list of possible complications. These include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots in the veins, breathing problems, low oxygen levels, complications with pain relief, and extra time to come round and recover after the anaesthetic.
It’s not about fat-shaming you…
There’s an interesting blog post on the Newport Orthopedic Institute website, written by spinal surgery specialist, Dr. Michael Gordon. Firstly, he outlines all the extensive problems, risks, and possible complications that obese patients may experience.
Then he concludes with the statement: When your surgeon says, “you are too fat to have surgery and I’m not going to operate on you unless you lose weight,” your surgeon is not fat-shaming you, but fat-facting you. Your surgeon is trying to protect you by weighing risk appropriately, and improve your chances of a good outcome. Listen to your doctor’s suggestions – they will help you improve your health and may save your life.
Anaesthesia and your weight
And, in the UK, The Royal College of Anaesthetists’ provides their leaflet, “Anaesthesia and Your Weight”. It clearly explains: “Anaesthetists and surgeons regard obesity, not in a judgemental way, but as a medical condition which carries a higher risk during surgery.”
How can you reduce your risk of surgery complications if you’re obese?
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of complications. First, make sure to talk to your doctor about your weight before surgery. They may recommend that you lose weight before undergoing surgery. This is often the case if your operation isn’t urgent and can be scheduled for some time ahead.
Obesity and Surgery Risks
Additionally, before any planned or elective surgery, they may recommend certain lifestyle changes. These include quitting smoking or eating a healthier diet, for example, which can also reduce your risk of complications. Finally, be sure to follow all of your doctor’s instructions before and after surgery to help ensure a successful procedure.
The Bottom Line
Obesity is a serious medical condition that can carry a number of risks during surgery. However, by talking to your doctor about your weight before surgery and following their recommendations, you can help reduce your risk of complications.
FAQ 1: How much weight do I need to lose to reduce my risk of complications during surgery?
ANSWER: There is no set amount of weight that you need to lose in order to reduce your risk of surgery complications. Your doctor will likely recommend losing as much weight as possible before surgery. However, even losing as little as 5-10% of your excess weight can help to reduce the risks. They may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or eating a healthier diet.
Obesity and how to reduce surgery risks and complications
FAQ 2: What if I can’t lose weight before surgery?
ANSWER: If you are unable to lose weight before surgery, don’t despair. There are still things you can do to reduce your risk of complications. First, be sure to talk to your doctor about your weight and concerns. They may be able to recommend certain lifestyle changes. For example, quitting smoking, ideally a few weeks before your operation will help to increase the oxygen level in your blood.
Obesity and surgery risks
Also, cutting down on alcohol will help to improve your liver function as well as reduce the severity of obstructive sleep apnoea. And finally, increasing your general activity level will not only improve your heart and lung function but can also have a very positive effect on how quickly you will recover after your operation.
FAQ 3: How will my doctor know if I’m at risk for complications during surgery?
ANSWER: Your doctor will likely ask about your weight and health history before surgery. They may also order certain tests, such as a chest X-ray or electrocardiogram, to check for underlying health conditions. Based on this information, they will be able to determine if you are at an increased risk for complications during surgery.
Are you tired of trying an endless list of diets that just don’t work? And becoming weary of your efforts, which always result in you regaining all the lost weight? Are you looking for a medically endorsed solution; one based on thousands of hours of clinical experience? Maybe something that doesn’t involve following a restrictive diet, doing lots of exercise, or having invasive surgery…?
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Martin and Marion Shirran
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Registered Stakeholder in NICE – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Marion Shirran, as a director of Oxford Therapeutics Limited, is proud to be a registered Stakeholder in NICE – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Additionally, she is involved in the government’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity.
We were proud to be nominated the ‘Most Innovative Obesity Psychological Therapy Service’ in the UK Mental Health Awards 2022.
We also appeared on the This Morning TV show, with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.
And, in 2010, we travelled to New York to be interviewed on the Good Morning America TV Show.
We are also co-authors of two, bestselling books, on the topic of non-surgical weight loss, published by Hay House.
Below is a selection of weight-loss tips that everyone can start using straight away. And, if you enroll in the My Weigh Less Course, you will learn many more of our helpful tips and techniques about how to achieve successful, permanent weight loss.
Tip No. 1 – Only Eat When You’re Hungry!
This has to be our number one, golden rule, when it comes to achieving successful weight loss. In our experience, most overweight people eat for many different reasons, other than physical hunger. But, if you allow your emotions to control your eating habits, then it is unlikely that you will be able to control your weight as a result. So, before you reach for anything to eat, stop and ask yourself first if you physically NEED to eat, or you just WANT to…
Tip No. 2 – Use a Smaller Plate!
You’ve probably heard this many times before, but it’s a fact that people who use larger plates tend to eat more food than those who eat from smaller plates. No doubt you know about the power of optical illusions. But are you aware of just how much more generous the same size portion of food appears, when presented on a smaller plate, instead of a larger one? Have a look at the image below. It’s known as the Delboeuf optical illusion. If you stick to our mantra, “always go for quality over quantity”, then you will definitely lose weight much more easily.
Tip No. 3 – Drink a Glass or Two of Water Before Your Meal!
Reduce your calorie intake by over 20%, with almost with no effort! Research results, published by Harvard Medical showed that people who drank two large glasses of water, just before eating, on average, consumed around 20% less food compared with when they didn’t drink anything before they ate. This is possibly as a result of the stretching and fullness sensation in the stomach.
Tip No. 4 – Eat Slowly and Mindfully!
A growing number of studies have consistently found a correlation between speed of eating and weight, so it is officially accepted now that faster eaters are definitely more likely to become overweight. Studies have also shown that people are much more likely to eat more when their eating is mindless, as opposed to mindful. So, make meal times an occasion by sitting down at a table, with no distractions. Then eat slowly and savour every mouthful. You will naturally eat less food and also find it easier to lose weight as a result!
Tip No. 5 – Stay Away From Sugar and Highly Processed Foods!
It’s a fact that sugar and highly processed foods have addictive properties! So much so, that many people find that once they start eating these foods, they literally can’t stop. And, of course, if you’re making such poor food choices, this in turn will make it almost impossible for you to lose weight. So, our advice is to choose healthy, unprocessed foods and limit the amount of sugar you consume. As a result, you will have far more control over how much you eat and also how much weight you can lose.
Tip No. 6 – Eat Your Favourite Foods on the Plate First!
You may not be aware of how important this tip is, but the order in which you eat your food can actually have a big impact on how much you consume! It’s quite common for overweight people to “save the best til last” when eating. In other words they only eat their favourite food right at the end. It’s not so surprising then, that they also tend to eat everything on their plate, regardless of how uncomfortably full they feel. Because, of course, they don’t want to miss out on the “best bit”!
However, our advice is to eat your favourite things first. Not only will you enjoy it more, but it’s also much easier to stop when you’ve eaten just the right amount and leave the rest on the plate.
You can read a full breakdown of all the components included in the treatment package on the Course Details page. There is also an explanation of the treatment on the Does This Work? page. We look forward to working with you. Additionally, you can read reviews from medical and other professionals on the Medical Endorsement page.
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You can read additional information about us and our weight-loss treatment on the Gastric Mind Band website.
Although the weight-loss results and success stories shown on the site are typical, individual results will vary, and are not guaranteed. Weight-loss success depends on each individual’s level of motivation, commitment, food intake and metabolism. Read our full disclaimer in the Terms & Conditions.