Being significantly overweight is often associated with fatty liver which is an unhealthy condition of the liver where it becomes enlarged and inflamed with excess fat deposits. Fatty liver can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. It is also strongly associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and strokes.

Weight loss surgery is gaining in popularity for obese individuals, especially if they have a fatty liver. Weight loss surgery can help reduce liver inflammation and scarring caused by obesity, but it also can cause some unwanted liver problems.

The current evidence suggests that bariatric (weight loss) surgery for patients with severe obesity decreases the grade of fatty liver, liver inflammation, and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). However, the lack of randomized clinical trials demonstrating the beneficial effects of bariatric surgery procedures for the treatment of fatty liver (NAFLD) prevents us from reaching a scientifically sustained conclusion. The research also reported a potential risk for worsening fibrosis scores. Therefore, bariatric surgery must be assessed in future randomized clinical trials.

Weight-loss surgery is often sold as a magic pill for problems ranging from morbid obesity to type 2 diabetes. But few surgeons will warn you of severe side effects it may cause if measures are not taken to assess the condition of the liver prior to the surgery.

Doctors at Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in Delhi, said they have received at least three patients over the past one-and-a-half years with liver failure due to weight-loss surgery. The doctor suggested that any patient going for weight-loss surgery must undergo a complete assessment of their liver condition. "Liver function tests (LFT), may not give the real picture. Doctors should ideally use a fibroscan or MR spectroscopy to rule out a cirrhotic liver," said Sarin.

Recent studies have highlighted two more liver-specific weight loss surgery concerns:

  • Risk of paracetamol (acetaminophen) poisoning –  a San Francisco study found that people who have had certain types of weight loss surgery may be at increased risk of acetaminophen poisoning and, in turn, liver failure. Researchers suspect that because obesity often causes liver damage, weight loss surgery patients may still have weakened livers that are more susceptible to harm from acetaminophen and perhaps other pain killers.
  • Risk of Alcoholism – As reported in the June 2012 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that a year after weight loss surgery, the risk of becoming an alcoholic is significant. Researchers believe that certain types of weight loss surgery changes how the body digests and metabolizes alcohol. Also, individuals who overeat for emotional reasons may turn to alcohol, as they are no longer able to ingest as much food.

Weight loss surgery carries a long list of possible risks, but it can be lifesaving for some people. For obese persons who have not been able to lose weight with other methods, weight loss surgery is a serious option. If weight loss surgery is finally decided to be the best choice, those undergoing this procedure must take extra care of their liver health – because the liver benefits of significant fat reduction will only be worthwhile if you are committed to caring for the liver by avoiding excess sugar, alcohol, and liver-toxic medications.

If you are considering weight loss surgery, it is very likely you have a fatty liver. Just by improving the health of your liver, you should be able to lose a lot of weight and speed up your metabolism. Your liver is supposed to be the main fat-burning organ in your body, but if it is clogged with fat it will not be able to achieve this task. If you have a fatty liver you are also more likely to experience severe hunger and cravings, as your body will find it harder to maintain healthy blood sugar. If this is the case for you, taking a liver tonic such as Livatone should be immensely helpful. It will enable your liver to become a more efficient fat burner. The herbs in Livatone also have the ability to protect liver cells from harm and help them regenerate.

For more information see my book Fatty Liver - You Can Reverse It.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.