Obesity and Bariatric Surgery

Severe obesity is a chronic condition that is hard to treat with diet and exercise alone. Bariatric surgery is an operation on the stomach and/or intestines that helps patients lose weight who are extremely obese. This surgery is an option for people who cannot lose weight by “traditional methods”, and/or those who suffer from serious health problems related to obesity.  The surgery restricts food intake, which promotes weight loss and reduces the risk of a variety of health problems, including type 2 diabetes.  Studies suggest that bariatric surgery may even lower death rates for patients with severe obesity. The best results occur when patients follow surgery with healthy eating patterns and regular exercise.

Many people who have the surgery lose weight quickly, but regain some weight later on. As long as diet and exercise recommendations are followed, most of the weight can be kept off. Medical follow ups will be required for the rest of the patient’s life.

Adults

Bariatric surgery is an option for adults who have clinically severe obesity:

  • BMI great than 40
  • BMI of greater than 30 with serious health problems linked to obesity.  Health problems include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or severe sleep apnea (when breathing stops for short periods during sleep).

Who is a good adult candidate?

Having surgery to produce weight loss is a serious decision. Anyone thinking about having this surgery should know what it involves. The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends bariatric surgery for obese people with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40, and for people with BMI 35 and serious coexisting medical conditions such as diabetes.  However, new research suggests it could be appropriate for those with a BMI of 35 to 40 with no other coexisting medical conditions or a BMI of 30 to 35 with other related and significant medical conditions.

Is the patient:

  • Unlikely to lose weight or keep it off over the long term using other methods?
  • Well informed about the surgery and treatment effects?
  • Aware of the risks and benefits of surgery?
  • Ready to lose weight and improve his or her health?
  • Aware of how life may change after the surgery? (For example, patients need to adjust to side effects, such as the need to chew food well and the loss of ability to eat large meals.)
  • Aware of the limits on food choices, and occasional failures?
  • Committed to lifelong healthy eating and physical activity, medical follow-up, and the need to take extra vitamins and minerals?

Benefits

The NIH recommends weight loss surgery for individuals who are morbidly obese. Weight loss allows patients to lead a healthier, happier and longer life. Many of the health problems associated with obesity either improve or go away. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Respiratory Problems such as sleep apnea, asthma
  • Orthopedic Problems such as arthritis, back pain, joint pain,
  • Infertility
  • High cholesterol
  • Acid reflux
  • Depression
  • Improved quality of life

Long-term studies have shown that weight loss surgery causes significant long-term loss of weight, recovery from diabetes, improvement in cardiovascular risk factors, and a reduction in mortality of 23% from 40%.  In short, BARIATRIC SURGERY ADDS YEARS TO YOUR LIFE.

How is weight loss promoted?

Bariatric surgery restricts food intake, which leads to weight loss. Patients who have bariatric surgery must commit to a lifetime of healthy eating and regular exercise. These healthy habits may help patients maintain weight loss after surgery.

Exercise after the procedure

Since Bariatric surgery does not work alone we do encourage our patients to exercise. This is important for your success in the program. It is recommended that you do 30 minutes of walking or other light cardiovascular exercise each day. In addition, at least 30 minutes of resistance training with light weights. This burns calories and builds muscle, which in turn increases your metabolic rate.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery

The type of surgery that may help an adult or youth depends on a number of factors. Patients should discuss with their health care providers what kind of surgery is suitable for them.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OPEN AND LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY?

Bariatric surgery may be performed through “open” approaches, which involve cutting the stomach in the standard manner, or by laparoscopy. With the latter approach, surgeons insert complex instruments through 1/2-inch cuts and guide a small camera that sends images to a monitor. Most bariatric surgery today is laparoscopic because it requires a smaller cut, creates less tissue damage, leads to earlier hospital discharges, and has fewer problems, especially hernias occurring after surgery.

However, not all patients are suitable for laparoscopy. Patients who are considered extremely obese, who have had previous stomach surgery, or who have complex medical problems may require the open approach. Complex medical problems may include having severe heart and lung disease or weighing more than 350 pounds.

WHAT ARE THE SURGICAL OPTIONS?

Gastric Band

The Gastric Band is a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure that takes about 30 minutes to perform. During your Las Vegas Lap-Band procedure, an adjustable gastric band is wrapped around the upper part of the stomach, dividing it into a small upper pouch that holds about ½ cup of food, and a larger lower stomach.

Gastric Sleeve

The Gastric Sleeve or Sleeve gastrectomy procedure is a minimally invasive procedure that takes less than an hour to perform. When you undergo gastric sleeve surgery in Las Vegas, a thin vertical stomach is created that looks like a banana. The remaining stomach is removed.

Gastric Bypass

The Gastric Bypass is also done laparoscopically with small incisions. It is the most involved procedure and the oldest of the three procedures. During this procedure, your Las Vegas gastric bypass surgeon creates a small stomach pouch and reattaches it to the small intestine, which allows food to bypass a portion of the digestive tract.

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?

Some side effects may include bleeding, infection, leaks from the site where the intestines are sewn together, diarrhea, and blood clots in the legs that can move to the lungs and heart.

Some side effects that may occur later include nutrients being poorly absorbed, especially in patients who do not take their prescribed vitamins and minerals. Other late problems include strictures (narrowing of the sites where the intestine is joined) and hernias (part of an organ bulging through a weak area of muscle).

Two kinds of hernias may occur after a patient has bariatric surgery. An incisional hernia is a weakness that sticks out from the abdominal wall’s connective tissue and may cause a blockage in the bowel. An internal hernia occurs when the small bowel is displaced into pockets in the lining of the abdomen. These pockets occur when the intestines are sewn together. Internal hernias are thought to be more dangerous than incisional ones and need prompt attention to avoid serious problems.

Some patients may also require emotional support to help them through the changes in body image and personal relationships that occur after the surgery.

Medical Costs

Bariatric procedures, on average, cost from $20,000 to $25,000. Medical insurance coverage varies by state and insurance provider. In 2004, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reduced barriers to obtaining Medicare coverage for obesity treatments. Bariatric surgery may be covered under these conditions:

  • If the patient has at least one health problem linked to obesity
  • If the procedure is suitable for the patient’s medical condition
  • If approved surgeons and facilities are involved

Contact us today for Bariatric Surgery Las Vegas and get on track to a better life!