Understanding Options for Bariatric Surgery
Helping people to lose weight and keep it off
Bariatric surgery (weight-loss surgery) is becoming an increasingly popular tool to combat the effects of severe obesity. Improved insurance coverage and enhanced, minimally invasive surgical options for weight-loss procedures make it affordable and easier to access. Weight-loss surgery is not only a lifesaving tool but also one that is life-changing. It’s about more than a number on a scale. It’s about getting back to favorite activities. It’s about getting a boost in both energy and confidence. It’s something to do for yourself and your health.
Did you know that almost 40% of adults in Louisiana are considered obese? This epidemic rise in obesity rates is affecting our health. Common medical issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol and sleep apnea are all linked to obesity. Weightloss surgery can help in becoming more active, healthy and a way to get back to the life you love living while looking and feeling great.
When choosing where to have a bariatric procedure, find a program accredited by Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP ® ), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Accreditation means the program meets the highest standards in providing quality care and support needed for patients to be successful in their weight-loss journey.
Losing weight is incredibly challenging. Stack that difficulty on top of genetics, medical conditions and current lifestyle – it all seems a bit overwhelming. Just know that a weightloss plan and goal are created uniquely for each patient. After understanding individual health risks and medical history, the patient and surgeon can work together to establish a desired end result. Common bariatric surgery options include gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, gastric banding and revision procedures: • Gastric bypass is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of the stomach, therefore minimizing the amount of food that is required to feel full. The small intestine is also modified to decrease the absorption of calories from consumed food. It has a long and proven track record in helping people shed pounds and keep it off.
• Gastric sleeve surgery involves removing a portion of the stomach to minimize how much food the stomach can hold before feeling full. It also changes the levels of hormones that act on the brain and control the desire to eat. This leads to less hunger and improved portion control, thus allowing patients to safely lose a large amount of weight.
• Some eligible patients choose to have gastric banding procedures, which are reversible. The gastric band procedures can be adjusted with band fills, which creates a smaller stomach chamber to hold food, helping patients achieve an earlier feeling of fullness at mealtimes.
• Revision surgeries may be an option or need depending on a patient’s previous weight loss surgery history to sustain or improve weight loss from a procedure performed years ago. For example, converting a vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG) to a gastric bypass.
Understanding the various options is the first step in deciding if bariatric surgery is a good solution for you. During recovery from weight-loss surgery and in the months and years ahead, it is crucial to stay on the recommended nutrition and exercise plan provided post-surgery. Many bariatric patients have great success losing weight and keeping it off by maintaining healthy habits throughout their journey. For some patients, body reconstruction is needed. Others may need registered dietician support with eating habits and nutritional needs.
The Bariatric Surgery program at CHRISTUS Highland Medical Center is the region’s largest accredited bariatric surgery center, performing more than 350 weight loss surgeries a year. If you would like more information, visit www.CHRISTUShealth. org and search weight loss.
Veronica Cook is the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program coordinator at CHRISTUS Highland Medical Center. She received her certification as a Bariatric Nurse in 2013.