Obesity has become an epidemic in the United States as the number of adults and children classified as obese continue to rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one out of every three Americans (nearly 40 percent) are obese, with a body mass index over 30. When looking at overweight and obesity, that number jumps to two-thirds of American adults.
As obesity rates rise, so does the prevalence of serious weight-related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. These health conditions are some of the leading causes of premature death, and in many cases, are entirely preventable.
Unfortunately, people with a BMI of 40 or greater, who are often battling life-threatening health conditions due to their weight, typically do not respond well to traditional lifestyle modification weight loss methods, such as diet and exercise. While some may lose weight in the short term, weight regain is not uncommon, and many people gain back more pounds than they lost in the first place. What is the answer for this rapidly growing epidemic?
For many patients who suffer from obesity, the answer is in bariatric surgery. Often stereotyped as “taking the easy way out,” the reality of bariatric surgery is quite the opposite. Patients who opt for surgical intervention have tried — and failed — at losing weight through diet after diet and various fitness programs. For many of these patients, bariatric surgery is the last resort.
There is good news for individuals considering weight loss surgery procedures. Bariatric surgery is proven tool to help patients lose weight and keep it off long-term. Many weight loss surgery patients lose between 30 and 70 percent of their excess body weight in the first 12 months after surgery.
As obesity rates increase, more and more patients are turning to bariatric surgery for help. In fact, nearly 200,000 patients will undergo weight loss surgery procedures this year.
If you are considering bariatric surgery to help you lose the extra weight and reclaim your health, you have options. The various weight loss surgery procedures, including gastric bypass surgery, gastric sleeve and gastric banding surgery (LAP-BAND), work differently, but with the same ultimate goal: to help the patient achieve significant weight loss.
Weight loss surgery is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Before deciding on a bariatric surgery procedure, it’s important to research the options, and have a conversation with your weight loss doctor to determine which procedure is best for you and your individual needs.
Once considered the “gold standard” of weight loss surgery procedures, this laparoscopic procedure works through the mechanisms of restriction and malabsorption. During the procedure, a small stomach pouch is created and connected to the middle portion of the small intestine. The remainder of the stomach and small intestine is “bypassed.” Not only is the size of the stomach reduced from about the size of a football to the size of a lemon, the bypass procedure also limits absorption of nutrients by the body.
Patients who choose gastric bypass surgery typically lose 70 to 80 percent of their excess body weight in the first year after surgery.
In recent years, gastric bypass surgery has declined in popularity, with more patients’ option for procedures like the gastric sleeve. The patented mini sleeve procedure, performed by First Baptist Medical Center weight loss doctor, Todd McCarty, M.D., is rapidly becoming a patient favorite due to its true minimally invasive nature, reduced recovery time and less post-op pain.
Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as the gastric sleeve, is a restrictive weight loss surgery procedure during which a portion of the stomach is resected and removed, leaving just a small pouch remaining. The smaller stomach is only about 15 percent of the full size of the stomach, so the volume of food a gastric sleeve patient is able to consume is significantly restricted. In addition, the portion of the stomach responsible for production of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, is also removed.
Gastric sleeve surgery has fewer risks than gastric bypass, but patients choosing gastric sleeve can expect to lose about the same amount of weight (70 to 80 percent of excess body weight). Dr. McCarty’s improvement on the gastric sleeve procedure with his invention of the gastric mini sleeve surgery uses the natural entrances to the abdominal cavity, avoiding the many painful incisions required with a laparoscopic procedure. The result is less risk for complications, faster recovery, fewer scars and shortened hospital stay (if an overnight stay is required at all).
Unlike gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery, gastric banding helps the patient lose weight strictly through portion control, making it a purely restrictive procedure. Gastric banding surgery is also the only of the weight loss surgery procedures that is entirely reversible.
During a gastric banding procedure, a small, adjustable hand is placed around the upper stomach, creating a small stomach pouch. The band, which is attached to a catheter, is then filled with fluid, which can be adjusted as needed to fill the band. Patients who choose this option can expect to lose 30 to 40 percent of their excess body weight in the first year after surgery, ultimately losing as much as 65 percent in three to five years, providing they do not experience any complications.
Gastric banding surgery requires no cutting, stapling or intestinal rerouting, which explains why the procedure was once very popular among weight loss patients. In recent years however, the risk for complications with the band, along with innovations in other bariatric surgery procedures, such as the gastric sleeve, fewer patients are choosing gastric banding as their preferred weight loss surgery procedure.
If you are considering one of these weight loss surgery procedures to help you lose the weight for good, contact the bariatric team at First Baptist Medical Center today to schedule your appointment. Our surgeon, who has more than 20 years of experience as a bariatric surgeon, will help you select the procedure that is best for you.