Bariatric Surgery for Soft Tissue Infections

Soft tissue infections, while fairly common, can be embarrassing, uncomfortable and even deadly. If you suffer from soft tissue infections, you’re not alone — soft tissue infections account for more than 14 million outpatient visits in the United States each year. Emergency room visits and hospitalizations for soft tissue infections are getting more common by the year.

The National Institutes of Health notes that “skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) are prevalent in the obese population, with rising trend expected.” If you suffer from morbid obesity, you may suffer from soft tissue infections now — and, if not, there is a good chance soft tissue infections are in your future.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Bariatric weight loss surgery can help you reduce the risk of soft tissue infections and the discomfort that accompanies this problematic condition.

Does bariatric surgery help cure soft tissue infections?

Bariatric surgery eliminates a key risk factor for soft tissue infections: obesity. The Mayo Clinic reports that the average weight loss surgery patient loses between 68 to 78 percent of excess body weight after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Patients who lose such significant amounts of weight become less vulnerable to soft tissue infections.

Why? Morbid obesity suppresses lymphatic flow. Tissue surrounding the lymph nodes doesn’t get the oxygen it needs and fibrosis — the thickening and scarring of connective tissue — can occur. Until a person loses the excess weight and the lymphatic system is given a chance to heal, there is the risk of chronic inflammation, infections and other fibrosis-related issues.

The lymphatic system — which works closely with the body’s immune system — can even get confused and start attacking the healthy tissue. More than 10 autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s Disease and multiple sclerosis, are associated with obesity, according to researchers.

The team at Barix Clinics use the utmost precaution when working with patients who already have or may be susceptible to soft tissue infections. With over 30 years of experiences and more than 50,000 surgeries performed, Barix Clinics is the most experienced hospital network providing bariatric surgery in America.

We also offer post-weight loss reconstructive surgery, or abdominoplasty, which sheds the excess skin and fat that stubbornly clings to the stomach area. Not only does this excess skin delay weight loss goals, but it leaves morbidly obese individuals susceptible to soft tissue infections. By removing the excess skin, soft tissue infection issues can be resolved.

What are soft tissue infections?

Most of the time, skin prevents bacteria from entering the body. When skin isn’t healthy, it becomes susceptible to bacterial infection. A soft tissue infection is, as its name suggests, an infection of the skin and the soft tissues underneath it.

Although a large variety of bacteria can cause the infection, the most common are staph (staphylococci) and strep (streptococci). When bacteria enters a break in the skin, it spreads and causes an infection. This is a common reaction for people with diabetes, circulatory problems, skin disorders or excess weight. Soft tissue infections can occur anywhere on the body, but they’re most common in the legs, arms, anus and abdominals or around the eyes.

Are morbidly obese people more likely to develop soft tissue infections?

 Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing soft tissue infections and having recurring episodes. Because people who are morbidly obese often suffer from an array of health complications, they’re more susceptible to soft tissue infections.

Do soft tissue infections occur with post-weight loss skin removal?

Obesity also impairs wound healing, which can cause life-threatening complications. While it may seem contradictory, obese individuals are often malnourished. When they lack proper nutrition (such as vitamins or protein), it makes it much harder for a wound to repair itself.

Additionally, obesity can cause skin abnormalities, including stretch marks and skin tags -- altering the skin-weight ratio and making it harder for the body to heal the wound.

These complications, however, aren’t as common in morbidly obese patients who undergo bariatric surgery. After bariatric surgery, patients can get reconstructive surgery to remove the excess skin and actually heal their infections.

What are common symptoms of soft tissue infections?

If it’s found and addressed as soon as possible, a soft tissue infection can be usually be cured. Possible signs and symptoms of a soft tissue infection include tenderness and pain, swelling, redness, warmth or the appearance of yellow or clear pus.

If you suspect you have a soft tissue infection, contact your doctor right away. He or she will most likely ask you about your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam. You may also undergo a wound culture test to identify the bacteria causing the infection or blood tests to see if the infection has spread to the bloodstream.

You can also contact us to discuss the benefits of bariatric surgery and begin the process of discovery your new life.

What happens if you ignore soft tissue infections?

The majority of Americans can treat their soft tissue infections with antibiotics. When it comes to individuals with a compromised immune system, however, the results can be deadly. The infection could spread throughout the body, leading to:

  • Tissue damage
  • Amputation
  • Shock
  • Death

There’s a weight loss solution waiting for you.

Still not convinced bariatric surgery is right for you? Consider Mary Ann’s story. Mary Ann knew that her Type 2 diabetes and the bad circulation in her legs could lead to leg amputation. That’s why she came to us.

"Barix specializes in the surgery I want and I want an expert taking care of me,” Mary Ann says. “Why would I choose anybody other than a specialist? I had to choose people I felt confident with. Because of my diabetes I wanted people who knew what they were doing.”

If you’re sick of dealing with soft tissue infections, we’re ready for you. Barix Clinics can offer weight loss surgery solutions and help you need to improve your quality of life. To learn more, contact us today.

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