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3 things to know about weight-loss surgery

3 things to know about weight-loss surgery

With nearly 40% of the U.S. adult population considered obese, the disease is considered an epidemic that has sparked a rallying cry from providers, public health experts and policymakers alike.

That’s because obesity can deteriorate one’s quality of life beyond the weight issue itself: The disease increases the risk of other life-threatening diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Obese people are also at higher risk of mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression. In extreme cases, morbid obesity can also shave off up to 14 years from one’s life expectancy.

The medical and academic communities are always working to understand what exactly causes obesity, but it’s likely caused by a variety of factors, including lifestyle habits, genetics, as well as endocrinologic or metabolic disorders. There is a commonly held myth that obesity is caused by overeating alone, and that is simply not true. It’s a complex disease.

The good news is that, as our understanding of obesity grows, we can offer more innovative solutions to such a complex disease like obesity. I have found in my practice that many obese individuals and families feel stuck, and my message is always that there is hope.

Here are a few facts that often catch people by surprise:

  1. For those who qualify (BMI over 35 with comorbidities or BMI over 40 alone), bariatric surgery can be a low-risk option. The techniques and technology involved with bariatric surgery keep improving. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of surgery, so long as patients meet the criteria for surgery, and recovery is quick when using the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques. These techniques require much smaller incisions, limiting pain and discomfort and allowing early discharge the very next day after the operation.
  2. Surgery isn’t a silver bullet. On rare occasion, obese individuals benefit from exercise and diet alone. But most of the time, patients need a combination of surgery and medical management to keep the weight off in the long term. Medical management can be different things for different people, including special diets or medication.
  3. Weight loss treatment can lead to big lifestyle changes — for the better. Whether a patient undergoes surgery or another type of medical intervention, treatment is the start of a new chapter. To be sure, patients will need to adopt lifestyle changes to help maintain their weight loss. However, most patients who lose weight achieve a better health status and come off most of their medications, requiring fewer visits to specialists, except in cases of plastic surgery for post-weight loss body contouring.

Many times, the hardest step to take is the first one to seek help. It’s important that we continue raising awareness and education on obesity and treatment options so patients feel empowered, rather than ashamed, to seek the care they need to live their best and healthiest lives.

Dr. Rami Lutfi is a board-certified surgeon at Advocate Health Care.

Are you trying to watch your weight? Take a free, quick online risk assessment to learn more about your healthy weight range by clicking here.

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  1. I didn’t have surgery with an Advocate hospital. I am 53yrs old, and had multiple problems for years, especially with my knees which are bone on bone. My feet would always hurt due to my being 366 lbs at a 5′ 4″ height. I had Type 2 diabetes. Before surgery, I had stopped being diabetic before my surgery. I had the RNY done last year Sept 24, 2018. And as of Sept 13, 2019 I am 178 lbs. You only get to eat small portions, but it has to be a high protein. This surgery is just the start of a wonderful life as long as you work hard with your diet and exercise.
    I recently went horseback riding, I haven’t done that in at least 30 yrs. Also, I am able to stand for longer periods of time. On my breaks at work, I fast walk to get more exercise in. If you are able and your insurance will pay, your life will drastically change for the best.

  2. CHERYL Ann GROVER September 16, 2019 at 9:32 am · Reply

    I had my surgery about 18 years ago. I still have the same issue that i never feel full. I have been working with the doctors in Wisconsin. I was 315 and went to 160 but now i am back to 250 and not very happy. They told me my pouch is still the size of an egg but i can eat more that what i should. I have recently started seeing a therapist to help me. I never have had the dumping but something in my brain is letting me eat. Also it would have help me if i could have had the skin removed. I never thought i looked good even after loosing 150 pounds to much flab. Stress and low self esteem is part of my eating issues. I am hoping that i can get back on track.

  3. I have hypothyroid and Hashiemotos which both cause you to gain weight. Would this procedure be able to help me to lose the weight im currently at my highest weight ever 205 at 5’1.

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About the Author

Dr. Rami Lufti
Dr. Rami Lufti