Surgical Weight Loss: Getting Your Life Back

Surgical Weight Loss
Gary – Lost 140 Pounds

Surgical weight loss is about getting your life back. It also presents an opportunity to re-evaluate your lifestyle and make the changes needed to improve yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.

Making this transition to the “new you” involves the proper support group and a willingness to take the necessary steps to reach your goal. The most successful surgical weight loss patient is the one who follows the program all the way through — from pre-certification to surgery to counseling and exercise.

King’s Daughters Center for Healthy Living guides patients through all the steps along the path to success.

The Center offers several options to help patients achieve their health goals. The surgeons associated with the Center perform three different procedures that offer various benefits for each patient.

LAP-Assisted Gastric Band
Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding decreases the size of the stomach and limits the amount of food the stomach can hold.

Adjustable gastric banding takes place through several small incisions in the stomach. The surgeon places small surgical tools and a camera through the incisions and wraps a device around the upper part of the stomach to form a ring. Attached to the ring is a thin tube leading to an access port under the skin. This port allows the surgeon to adjust the band size by adding to or removing saline from the band.

After surgery, weight loss is usually gradual but steady, and patients typically lose weight for up to two years. Some, however, will continue to lose for four to five years after surgery. Regular visits after surgery to adjust the band as needed are required.

Since the adjustable gastric banding procedure does not require cutting or stapling the stomach, it is less traumatic than other common procedures. Studies have shown that people lose weight as successfully with adjustable gastric banding as they do with other weight loss methods or surgeries.

Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery — where most of the stomach is bypassed and a small stomach pouch is made — is the most commonly performed weight loss surgery today, accounting for about 80 percent of all weight loss surgery in the United States.

During surgery, the stomach is divided into a large portion, and a much smaller portion. The small part of the stomach is then sewn or stapled together to make a small pouch. The small stomach pouch can hold only a cup or so of food. The “new” stomach size restricts food intake, resulting in the patient feeling full quickly and eating less.

In the second part of this surgery, known as Roux-en-Y, the small stomach pouch is disconnected from the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum). The surgeon then reconnects the stomach to a portion of intestine slightly farther down (the jejunum).

After a Roux-en-Y, food passes directly from the stomach into the jejunum, bypassing the duodenum. This leads to reduced absorption of calories and nutrients. Weight loss after this type of surgery is often dramatic. On average, patients lose 60 percent of their extra weight.

Stomach stapling and gastric bypass are typically performed during the same surgery and the complete procedure is called a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

Usually, gastric bypass is performed laparoscopically (through small incisions in the stomach area). After gastric bypass surgery, people typically stay in the hospital for two to three days and return to normal activity within two to three weeks.

Nearly 10 percent of people have complications after gastric bypass surgery. These are usually minor and include: wound infections, digestive problems, ulcers and bleeding. It is recommended that you stay in contact with your physician and his staff and communicate progress and concerns.

Sleeve Gastrectomy
Sleeve gastrectomy is a relatively new form of weight loss surgery. Typically, the procedure removes about 75 percent of the stomach and is done using a laparoscope. The remaining portion of the stomach is a narrow tube or sleeve and connects to the intestines.

Usually, a sleeve gastrectomy is the first step in a series of weight loss procedures and is of lower risk. It’s typically followed up by gastric bypass, but in some cases, it might be the only surgery needed.

For those with high BMIs, sleeve gastrectomies result in an average weight loss of 40 to 50 percent of excess weight after three years. People with lower BMIs tend to lose even more of their excess weight.

Unlike gastric banding, a sleeve gastrectomy is irreversible. And, since it’s relatively new, all long-term benefits and risks aren’t yet known. Currently, we know that risks can include infection, leaking of the sleeve and blood clots.

For more information about surgical weight loss at King’s Daughters, please visit our website at yourhealthylife.org, where you can view an introductory video, and complete an initial screening to get started on your weight loss journey. Or, feel free to call the Center at (606) 408-1541.

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