Could Bariatric Surgery Be the Right Choice for You?

Invest in your health advice on blackboard

Weight-loss surgery is a major, permanent life change. Most people don’t even consider it if they haven’t exhausted all other options. As a matter of fact, many people research weight-loss surgery for years and never act. Whether it is fear of a drastic life change or fear of failure, making this choice could be a matter of life and death.

The truth is, bariatric treatment could drastically improve the health, happiness, and lifespan for millions of Americans who currently qualify for it. If you are one of them, and you’re hesitating to have the surgery, here are some things to think about:

Why are you considering bariatric surgery? 

  • Obesity-related health problems
  • Depression
  • Out of breath quickly
  • Obesity discrimination
  • Relationship problems
  • Poor self-image
  • Failed diet and exercise programs

If you and your bariatric doctors decide that surgery makes sense for you, be prepared to do a lot of work both before surgery and for the rest of your life. Bariatric surgery should be thought of as one of the most effective tools available, but in order to succeed you must be ready to completely change your life.

According to the National Institutes of Health guidelines, you could be a good candidate for bariatric treatment if one of the following applies…

  • You have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more (“morbidly obese” or “super obese”)

OR

  • Your BMI is between 35 and 39.9 (“severely obese”), and you have a serious obesity-related health problem.

As mentioned above, bariatric treatment may be the best tool to make you happier and healthier, but that’s all it is — a tool. You will be the key to making it successful.

If you would like to talk to a doctor to see if bariatric surgery is a good option for you, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Their team of experts can help you make the right decision for your unique situation.

 

The Complexity of Obesity

People generally assume that obesity is strictly the product of bad choices about physical activity and diet. That kind of thinking gets in the way of dealing with obesity as a health condition.

Obesity is a very complicated condition. About 50 to 70% of one’s risk of obesity is genetically determined. You can make choices that make it better or worse, but that’s just like any other chronic disease. When the blame and shame that is so common gets in the way, it makes it hard to improve the health of people living with obesity.

A lot of health plans have broad, blanket exclusions for obesity, thinking that it is a cosmetic condition. However, the rise in the prevalence of obesity over the last 3 decades has made it clear that it’s creating a burden of chronic disease ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes to many cancers.

Because weight-based stereotypes and prejudice so often come from thinking that obesity is caused and sustained by personal characteristics such as laziness or lack of willpower, there is a need for increased public awareness and education about the complex biology of obesity and the significant obstacles present in efforts to achieve sustainable weight loss. The prevailing societal and media messages that reinforce blame on obese persons need to be replaced with messages that obesity is a chronic disease with a complex etiology. Obesity is a lifelong condition for most people who are overweight or obese.

Several studies have consistently demonstrated that experiencing weight stigma increases the likelihood of engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors and lower levels of physical activity, both of which exacerbate obesity and weight gain. Among youths, studies have demonstrated that overweight children who experience weight-based teasing are more likely to engage in binge eating and unhealthy weight-control behaviors compared with overweight peers who are not teased, even after control for variables such as BMI and socioeconomic status. 

Other research has consistently documented a positive association between weight-based victimization and eating disorder symptoms and bulimia. Weight-based victimization among overweight youths has been linked to lower levels of physical activity, negative attitudes about sports, and lower participation in physical activity among overweight students.

If you’re looking for treatment for this very real, physical disease, contact VipSurg for an appointment. Our expert team understands the complexity of obesity and all the issues that come with it. We can help find the right treatment for you.

Doctor writing word OBESITY with marker, Medical concept

Obesity’s Link to COPD

According to estimates, 6% of American adults have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 35% of those COPD patients are considered obese. In addition to being common among COPD patients, studies have also suggested that obesity leads to a higher risk of acute exacerbations, indicating that obesity may be a risk factor. 

Now a U.S. study suggests that obese people with COPD who get weight loss surgery may go to the hospital less often with acute breathing problems after their operations. The study found that among obese adults with COPD, those who had bariatric surgery to lose weight, needed to go to the emergency room or have inpatient care half as often as before surgery.

The researchers examined data on 481 obese adults aged 40 to 65 who had COPD and underwent bariatric surgery in California, Florida, and Nebraska. They followed patients from 2005 through 2011 to see how hospital and emergency room visits for COPD in the two years before weight loss surgery compared to the two years afterwards.

At the start of the study, when patients were 13 to 24 months away from getting their operations, 28% of them had an emergency department (ED) or hospital visit for acute COPD symptoms. During the second year of the study, the 12 months right before surgery, these rates didn’t change much, but compared with that first year of the study, the chances of an ED or hospital visit dropped by 65% in the first year after bariatric surgery. 

Just 12% of patients had a COPD visit during that time. During the last year of the study, 13 to 24 months after surgery, the odds of an ED or hospital visit were 61% lower than in the first year of the study. These findings suggest that benefits of bariatric surgery may extend beyond remission of chronic health problems associated with obesity to include COPD and other respiratory conditions.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation at VIP SURG. Their expert team can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

Elderlay woman with oxygen suplement (COPD)

Could Robotic Gallbladder Surgery Be Right for You?

If you experience pain in the upper right side or middle of the abdomen, you might think it’s a gas pain because you feel especially full, or maybe it’s bad indigestion because you also feel nauseous and are vomiting. These are all symptoms of a problem with the gallbladder. If the pain and/or nausea isn’t enough to send you to your doctor or the emergency room, symptoms such as fever, clay-colored stool, or yellowing of skin and whites of eyes (jaundice) should be assessed by a medical professional as soon as possible.

Gallbladder disease is very common, affecting about 10-15% of adults. Treatment for gallbladder disease may include lifestyle changes and medication. However, if your symptoms worsen, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove your gallbladder.

Fortunately, your gallbladder is an organ that you can live without. 

The surgery to remove the gallbladder is called a cholecystectomy. This surgery can be performed using open surgery through one large incision or through minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy). 

Minimally invasive surgery can be done either through a few small incisions in your abdomen or one incision in your belly button. In laparoscopic procedures, surgeons use long-handled instruments to reach your gallbladder. One of the instruments is a tiny camera that takes images inside your body and sends them to a video monitor to guide surgeons as they operate.

Cholecystectomy through the belly button can be done using traditional single- incision laparoscopy or da Vinci® Single-Site® Surgery. The da Vinci System features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and flexible instruments. These features enable your doctor to operate with enhanced vision and precision.

It is important to discuss all treatment and surgical options with your doctor, as well as the risks and benefits of each. If your doctor believes you are a candidate for da Vinci Single-Site Surgery, your doctor removes your gallbladder using state-of-the-art precision instruments. With da Vinci, surgery is performed through one incision in the belly button, which dramatically limits visible scarring.

As a result of da Vinci technology, da Vinci Single-Site Cholecystectomy offers the following potential benefits compared to traditional laparoscopy:

  • Low rate of major complications
  • Low conversion rate to open surgery
  • Virtually scarless surgery
  • High patient satisfaction
  • Minimal pain

Though it is often called a robot, da Vinci cannot act on its own. Surgery is performed entirely by your doctor. This state-of-the-art technology must be operated by an experienced and specially trained surgeon like Dr. Tsuda.

If you need gallbladder surgery, contact VIPSurg to see if you are a candidate for this type of procedure. Da Vinci surgery lets you get back to normal life much more quickly than you could with traditional open and even laparoscopic surgeries.

3d illustration of Human body Gallbladder anatomy

GERD: Ways to Alleviate Symptoms

Heartburn is a very common symptom created by acid reflux, a condition where some of the stomach contents, including stomach acid, are forced back up into the esophagus, creating a burning pain in the lower chest. Persistent acid reflux that happens more than twice a week results in the diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to estimates from the American College of Gastroenterology, at least 15 million Americans experience heartburn – the symptom of acid reflux – every day.

Most people are occasionally affected by heartburn, which is rarely a significant cause for concern. Recurrent acid reflux, however, resulting in the diagnosis of GERD can have serious consequences for health.

GERD is seen in people of all ages, and the cause is often attributable to a lifestyle factor, but it can also be due to unavoidable factors such as anatomical abnormalities affecting the valve at the top of the stomach. However, changes to lifestyle or behavior can prevent or improve heartburn symptoms.

The American Gastroenterological Association offers the following list of things to try to see if symptoms resolve:

  • Avoid food, drinks, and medicines that you find to be associated with heartburn irritation.
  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Do not lie down for two to three hours after a meal.
  • Lose weight if overweight or obese.
  • Avoid increased pressure on your abdomen, such as from tight belts or doing sit-ups.
  • Stop smoking.

It is important to address persistent problems with gastroesophageal reflux disease as long-term untreated acid reflux can lead to serious complications including an increased risk of cancer.

    The following foods are known to aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:

    • fatty or fried foods
    • peppermint and spearmint
    • whole milk
    • oils
    • chocolate
    • creamed foods or soups
    • most fast foods
    • citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
    • coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
    • caffeinated soft drinks
    • tea
    • other caffeinated beverages
    • spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals

If you suffer from GERD, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. They can help you find the right treatment for your unique case.

Stethalgia

Obesity’s Link to Breast Cancer

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as with many conditions and diseases, obesity can increase one’s risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 70% of American adults are overweight. Compared with people of normal weight, those who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for many diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and many cancers. Most breast cancers occur after menopause. For women, being overweight or obese after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer. 

Having more fat tissue can increase your chance of getting breast cancer by raising estrogen levels. Also, women who are overweight tend to have higher levels of insulin, another hormone. Higher insulin levels have also been linked to some cancers, including breast cancer.

Before menopause, most estrogens in the body are produced in the ovaries. After menopause, the ovaries no longer produce much estrogen and estrogens mainly come from fat tissue. Fat tissue contains an enzyme called aromatase that converts hormones called androgens (made mostly in the adrenal glands) to estrogens. Therefore, heavier women have higher blood estrogen levels than leaner women.

Body shape may also affect breast cancer risk. Some findings show women who put on extra weight around their middle sections (sometimes called “apple-shaped”), as opposed to their hips and thighs (sometimes called “pear-shaped”), have a small to moderate increased risk of breast cancer.

And even though gaining weight can raise your cancer risk, it’s not clear whether losing weight reduces your risk. This has been difficult to study, mainly because very few people actually lose weight during adulthood, and those who do lose weight don’t usually keep it off over a long period of time. 

We do know that avoiding weight gain is helpful, whether you are overweight now or not. One large study found women who gained about 20 pounds after age 18 had a 15 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who gained little or no weight. If you’re carrying extra pounds, losing as little as 5%-10% of your weight improves your overall health. 

Exercise can also lower breast cancer risk in addition to helping lose weight. Many studies have found that exercise is a breast-healthy habit. As little as 75 to 150 minutes of brisk walking each week has been shown to lower risk. Exercising more may lower your breast cancer risk even further.

Strong evidence for a relationship between weight loss and cancer risk comes from studies of people who have undergone bariatric surgery. Obese people who have bariatric surgery appear to have lower risks of obesity-related cancers than obese people who do not have bariatric surgery.

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation here at VIPSurg. Our team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.

close up of hands and pink cancer awareness ribbon

Diet Recommendations for After Weight-Loss Surgery

A gastric bypass diet helps people who are recovering from sleeve gastrectomy and from gastric bypass surgery — also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass — to heal and to change their eating habits. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can talk with you about the diet you’ll need to follow after surgery, explaining what types of food and how much you can eat at each meal. Closely following your gastric bypass diet can help you lose weight safely and keep you feeling well too.

The gastric bypass diet is designed to:

  • Allow your stomach to heal without being stretched by the food you eat
  • Accustom you to eating the smaller amounts of food that your smaller stomach can comfortably and safely digest
  • Help you lose weight and avoid gaining weight
  • Avoid side effects and complications from the surgery

Diet recommendations after gastric bypass surgery vary depending on your individual situation. A gastric bypass diet typically follows a staged approach to help you ease back into eating solid foods. How quickly you move from one step to the next depends on how fast your body heals and adjusts to the change in eating patterns. At each stage of the gastric bypass diet, you must be careful to:

  • Avoid dehydration.
  • Wait about 30 minutes after a meal to drink anything and avoid drinking 30 minutes before a meal.
  • Eat and drink slowly, to avoid dumping syndrome — which occurs when foods and liquids enter your small intestine rapidly and in larger amounts than normal, causing nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating and diarrhea.
  • Eat lean, protein-rich foods daily.
  • Choose foods and drinks that are low in fats and sugar.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Limit caffeine, which can cause dehydration.
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements daily as directed by your health provider.
  • Chew foods thoroughly to a pureed consistency before swallowing, once you progress beyond liquids only.

The gastric bypass diet can help you recover from surgery and transition to a way of eating that is healthy and supports your weight-loss goals. Remember that if you return to unhealthy eating habits after weight-loss surgery, you may not lose all your excess weight, or you may regain any weight that you do lose.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation with VIPSurg. Dr. Tsuda and his team are ready to help you on your way to a healthier, happier life.

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