Weight Loss Surgery Gives Hope to the Dangerously Obese
Experts say this type of surgery should be considered only by those
who have not been able to lose weight with previous treatments and who may
be at high risk for developing other health problems because of their
According to Dr. Hazem Elariny of Advanced
Laparoscopic and General Surgery Associates in Vienna, VA, people
who are 100 pounds or more overweight or have a body mass index over 35
may be good candidates for surgical intervention.
“The result for qualifying patients is usually a dramatic weight
loss, which will occur over a period of about 12 months,” Dr. Elariny
Types of Weight Loss Surgery
The main types of weight loss procedures are gastric bypass
surgery, lap-band surgery and bilio-pancreatic diversion (BPD).
Gastric bypass surgery creates a small stomach pouch that empties
directly to the small intestine and bypasses the rest of the stomach.
Patients are unable to eat more than 1-3 ounces of food at meal times and
thereby reducing total calories consumed.
The most common form of Weight Loss Surgery is the gastric bypass,
(also called the Roux-en-Y
The Lap-Band is a simpler alternative to gastric bypass that is
safer, more easily reversible and is adjustable.
Although weight loss with the Lap-Band occurs more slowly than with
gastric bypass, the effect seems to be more sustained.
The Duodenal Switch procedure is the most common BPD procedure in
America but is more complex, than the gastric bypass. It provides greater
weght loss effectiveness (80-90% excess weight loss) than gastric bypass,
but requires a life long commitment to high dose vitamin supplementation
and bowel habit side effects.
All these procedures can be done by making a large incision in the
abdomen (an open procedure) or by making small incisions and using small
instruments and a camera to guide the surgery (laparoscopic approach).
“Most people who have weight loss surgery quickly begin to lose
weight and continue to lose weight for 12-18 months,” Dr. Elariny says.
There is a wealth of literature that supports the claim that most patients
lose more than TWO THIRDS of their excess weight within one 12 to 18
months after weight loss surgery”.
The laparoscopic approach for weight loss surgery has been shown
to reduce complications and to provide for a quicker recovery and return
to work while maintaining effective weight loss results..
For the morbidly obese, the likelihood of long-term weight loss
success without surgery is less than five percent, says Dr. Elariny. “If
you are a candidate for surgery, don’t kid yourself. At this point,
dieting doesn’t work.
“Overeating is an addiction. Once you’re 100 pounds or more
overweight, it’s very difficult to achieve long-lasting weight loss
without surgical intervention.”
As with all surgeries, risk factors must be taken into
consideration. “It is important for patients and their health
professional to discuss the treatment options to decide what is best for
individual situations,” Dr. Elariny says.
Successful weight loss surgery has many potential life-affirming
benefits, including a longer lifespan, improved quality of life, and
By Tracy LeBlanc
for the Washington Redskins Health Magazine