Weight Loss Surgery Gives Hope to the Dangerously Obese

      For those who have seemingly tried every weight loss program on the planet but still remain morbidly obese, weight loss surgery may provide the missing link to a healthier life.

   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 weight   

   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 says.

 

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 gastric bypass).

      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..

 

Long-Term Success

   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 enhanced self-esteem.

 

 

By Tracy LeBlanc

Writer for the Washington Redskins Health Magazine