Benefits of Bariatric Surgery: More than Just Weight Loss

Do you think you’d eat less if you felt full after eating just a small amount of food? That’s exactly what bariatric surgery does. That’s why people lose weight and keep it off after weight-loss surgery. Bariatric surgery reduces the stomach’s storage capacity, limiting food intake and helping you feel full much sooner than usual.

There are several types of bariatric surgery. Options include gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric banding. Your doctor can help determine if you’re a candidate for one of these procedures, and, if so, which surgery is best for you.

Losing weight and keeping it off is extremely important for mitigating the potential health problems associated with obesity. You must keep the weight off for a minimum of five years to consider weight loss a success and one that can result in potentially lifesaving benefits resulting in a healthier you.

Benefits of sustained weight loss through bariatric surgery include:

  • Long-term remission for type 2 diabetes. A recent Cleveland Clinic study suggests that bariatric surgery causes long-term remission of difficult-to-control type 2 diabetes. The results of this study show the procedure is highly effective for obese patients with type 2 diabetes, allowing almost all patients to remain free of insulin and adjunct medications for at least three years after surgery.
  • Improved cardiovascular health. Weight loss surgery decreases a person’s risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral heart disease. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels can return to normal, or near normal after surgery, reducing these risks and improving overall well-being, 
  • Relief of depression. Many obese people feel depressed because of poor body image and social stigma. Even younger people who carry significant excess weight find it difficult to participate in activities they might otherwise enjoy, leading to social isolation and depression. Losing this excess weight can improve emotional health in these patients.
  • Eliminate obstructive sleep apnea. Achieving and sustaining a normal weight range often allows people with sleep apnea to stop using a CPAP machine at bedtime.
  • Joint pain relief. Carrying around excessive weight puts a lot of stress on your weight-bearing joints, often causing chronic pain and joint damage. The significant and sustained weight loss that occurs after bariatric surgery relieves the stress on joints and often allows people to stop using pain medications and enjoy much more mobility, 
  • Improve fertility. Weight loss surgery can also improve fertility during childbearing years.
  • Alleviate other medical conditions. Weight loss surgery can alleviate metabolic syndrome, pregnancy complications, gallbladder disease, and more.

To learn more about bariatric surgery and if it might be right for you, contact VIPSurg for a consultation. Dr. Tsuda and his team of experts can help find the proper treatment for your unique situation.

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The Sugar/Obesity Connection

In ancient times, sugar was regarded not as something to be avoided but rather as a cure-all for anything that ailed you. In every culture, sweetness has a symbolism related to goodness. It was valued so highly partly because it was so rare, obtainable mostly in tiny quantities as honey. Now, we demonize it, and yet we can’t seem to stop gorging on it. Few plants have caused more human misery than sugar cane — through obesity, tooth decay, and Type 2 diabetes. Yet despite everything we now know about the harm caused by sugar and other modern sweeteners, such as high-fructose corn syrup, it never stops being something we seem to delight in.

There’s no doubt that sugar adds to the prevalence of obesity in America. Therefore, every food product that includes sugar may be contributing to the scope and costs of the obesity epidemic, accelerating the volume of premature deaths among millions of people in the United States.

Obesity and overweight rates have steadily grown. Type 2 diabetes, once unheard of among kids or even young adults, now is an increasingly common diagnosis among children. Obesity and obesity-related diseases have become the world’s leading killer.

Fortunately, sugar affects all of us differently, and for many people it is neither addictive or deadly. Just like many other substances that carry inherent risk, sugar can be safely used in moderation by most people without wreaking havoc on their lives or contributing to their premature deaths.

While calories from any food have the potential to increase the risk of obesity and other cardiometabolic diseases, nutrition researchers agree that sugar-sweetened beverages play a unique role in chronic health problems. The disease risk increases even when the beverages are consumed within diets that do not result in weight gain.

Doctors have long suspected sugar is not simply a source of excess calories but a fundamental cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes. But until recently, fat consumption and total energy balance have dominated the debate about obesity and the nature of a healthy diet.

Official estimates are that one in 11 people in the United States has diabetes, and latest diabetes-1724617__340estimates suggest that obesity and diabetes may now cost the US healthcare system as much as 1 billion dollars per day. In 2016, World Health Organization (WHO) director general Margaret Chan described the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes worldwide as a “slow-motion disaster” — and suggested that the likelihood of preventing the current “bad situation” from getting “much worse” was “virtually zero.”

The past decade has seen a renewed interest in the possibility that calorific sweeteners — particularly sugar and high fructose syrups — have major roles in causing obesity and diabetes, and major public health organizations are now recommending strict limits to the consumption of these sugars. Much of the current discussion about sugar focuses on the effects of excess energy intake and weight gain, and the subsequent risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and some forms of dementia. But while being overweight or obese increases your risk of these diseases, excess weight is not a prerequisite.

While the development of diseases is no doubt also based on genes and lifestyle factors other than diet, the evidence of the potential harms of high-sugar diets is accumulating. It’s certainly compelling enough for many to consider limiting how much sugar we eat and drink. Whether or not the sugar itself is the culprit, sugary foods are linked to health problems, and that should be reason enough to cut down.

If you’re looking for ways to treat severe obesity, schedule an appointment with VIPSurg. Drs. Tsuda and Ryan and their team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.

Single-Site* Gallbladder Surgery: Helping Patients Heal Faster

If you have a gallbladder attack or severe symptoms, your doctor will likely suggest surgery to remove your gallbladder, a pear-shaped organ that sits just below your liver on the upper right side of your abdomen. While this organ is part of the digestive system, it is one which you can live without. The surgery for gallbladder removal is known as a cholecystectomy.

Cholecystectomy is a common surgery, and it carries only a small risk of complications. In most cases, you can go home the same day of your procedure.

Conservative treatments, such as dietary modifications, unfortunately, usually can’t stop gallstones from recurring or causing pain and other digestive problems. Surgery is often the best or only option to relieve the discomfort of gallbladder disease. A cholecystectomy can relieve the sometimes-severe pain of gallstones.  

Gallbladder surgery can be done using open surgery (through one large incision) or minimally invasively (through a few small incisions or one belly button incision) using da Vinci Surgery or traditional laparoscopy. Most people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for the robotic, single-incision surgery. 

In some cases, one large incision may be used to remove the gallbladder. This is called an open cholecystectomy.

Present-day cholecystectomy is most commonly performed by inserting a tiny video camera and special surgical tools through four small incisions to see inside your abdomen and remove the gallbladder. Doctors call this a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. 

Surgeons using da Vinci technology can remove your gallbladder through one small incision in your belly button using Single-Site* technology, or through a few small incisions. The da Vinci System is a robotic-assisted surgical device of which your surgeon is always in 100% control. 

With the da Vinci System surgeons get:

  • A 3D HD view inside your body
  • Special wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand
  • Enhanced vision, precision, and control

Benefits of laparoscopic cholecystectomy can include:

  • minimal scarring
  • less pain
  • less bleeding
  • faster recovery
  • shorter hospital stays

A cholecystectomy is most commonly performed to treat gallstones and the complications they cause. Your doctor may recommend a cholecystectomy if you have:

  • Gallstones in the gallbladder (cholelithiasis)
  • Gallstones in the bile duct (choledocholithiasis)
  • Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis)
  • Pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis) due to gallstones

If pain from gallstones or cholecystitis are disrupting your life, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Dr. Tsuda and his team can determine the best method for treating your condition. Robotic surgery can get you home and back to doing what you love — quickly and with minimal pain! Call for an appointment at (702) 487-6000. 

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High Blood Pressure AKA Hypertension: What You Need to Know

High blood pressure (aka hypertension) is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the first- and third-leading causes of death among Americans. High blood pressure also can result in other conditions such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness. About two-thirds of people over age 65 have high blood pressure. 

If you have high blood pressure, you and your health care provider need to work together as a team to reduce it. The two of you need to agree on goals and make a plan and timetable for reaching your goals. 

Blood pressure is usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded blood pressureas two numbers—systolic pressure (as the heart beats) “over” diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats)—for example, 130/80 mmHg. Monitoring your blood pressure at home between visits to your doctor can be helpful. 

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. In fact, your blood pressure rises as your body weight increases. Losing even 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure—and losing weight has the biggest effect on those who are overweight and already have hypertension.

Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or control high blood pressure. All you need is 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity on most days of the week. Examples of such activities are brisk walking, bicycling, raking leaves, and gardening. You can even divide the 30 minutes into shorter periods of at least 10 minutes each. 

What you eat affects your chances of getting high blood pressure. A healthy eating plan can both reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and lower a blood pressure that is already too high. For an overall eating plan, consider the DASH diet, which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” You can reduce your blood pressure by eating foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods. The DASH eating plan includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and has low amounts of fats, red meats, sweets, and sugared beverages. It is also high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as protein and fiber. Eating foods lower in salt and sodium also can reduce blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, unfortunately the lifestyle habits noted above may not be enough to lower your blood pressure to a healthy level. In addition to eating healthy and staying active, you may need to take medication. There are many drugs available to lower blood pressure. They work in various ways. Often patients need to use two or more drugs to bring their blood pressure down enough to be healthy.

If you are suffering from obesity, and diet and exercise alone aren’t working to lower your weight, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Our experts can help you find a treatment to fits your unique situation. Call (702) 487-6000 to schedule an appointment.

Plastic Surgery After Dramatic Weight Loss

Weight loss whether through bariatric surgery or diet and exercise is truly a life changing event and a major achievement. You look and feel better and are healthier. And while most of the changes that accompany weight loss are positive, loose skin is a concern for many patients. Hanging skin can affect both comfort and self-confidence and can be a daily reminder of past obesity. 

Unfortunately, when skin has been stretched around the abdomen, arms, legs, breasts, and face, it may lose its elasticity. After significant weight loss, the skin often fails to shrink back to its former size and shape. How much this loose, saggy skin affects personal appearance can depend on age, genetics, exercise, speed of weight loss, and smoking, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

The areas of the body that most often are affected by excess skin include:

  • Abdomen
  • Breasts
  • Buttocks
  • Face
  • Groin
  • Thighs
  • Neck
  • Upper arms

For some people, weight loss might be gradual enough that skin adjusts along with weight loss. For others, the loose skin can be hidden with clothing and compression garments. But when that isn’t enough to manage the problem, plastic surgery might be a logical next step.

The best time to consider plastic surgery in when you are as close to your goal weight as possible and are weight stable. Surgeons often recommend waiting at least 18 months before having surgery to remove or reduce excess skin because the more weight you lose, the more excess or saggy skin you could have.

 The goal of plastic surgery after dramatic weight loss is to restore attractive proportions by removing the sagging skin that creates a misshapen contour. Although these procedures leave scars, most patients find them to be an acceptable tradeoff for an improved appearance.

As with all major decisions, it’s always advisable to consider the positives and negatives:

Pros

  • Gets rid of loose skin so you can fit into your clothes better.
  • Gets rid of overhanging skin that might be causing painful chafing, rashes, and infections.
  • Improves your self-esteem.

Cons

  • Surgery results may not meet your expectations.
  • You will have permanent scarring.
  • Your surgery results may be affected by weight gain, aging, and lifestyle choices.

If you are considering plastic surgery to improve your body contour, these characteristics make you a good candidate:

  • Your weight has been stable for at least six months with no further weight loss expected. 
  • You are in overall good health without chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. 
  • You have a healthy diet; problems such as protein deficiencies can interfere with healing.
  • You do not smoke; smoking slows down the healing process and increases the risk of serious complications during and after surgery. If you smoke, you must quit at least six weeks before surgery.
  • You have mental stamina; surgical contouring procedures require patience and endurance.
  • You have realistic expectations; surgery will lead to marked improvements in your shape, but it is impossible to restore the skin or body to what it would have been without the weight gain. Even after body-contouring surgery, skin continues to sag over time as part of normal aging.

If you are considering bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Our doctors and expert team can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

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Metabolic Syndrome: Risks and Prevention

Once known in the medical community as “syndrome X” or “insulin resistance syndrome”, metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing one’s risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Although it sounds mysterious, Syndrome X is very common.

As is true with many medical conditions, genetics and the environment both play important roles in the development of metabolic syndrome. Genetic factors influence each individual component of the syndrome and the syndrome itself. A family history that includes type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and early heart disease greatly increases the chance that an individual will develop metabolic syndrome. On the other hand, environmental issues such as low activity level, sedentary lifestyle, and progressive weight gain also contribute significantly to the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

The following factors increase your chances of having metabolic syndrome:

  • Age — Your risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age.
  • Race — In the United States, Mexican-Americans appear to be at the greatest risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
  • Obesity — Carrying too much weight, especially in your abdomen, increases your risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • Diabetes — You’re more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Other diseases — Your risk of metabolic syndrome is higher if you’ve ever had cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or polycystic ovary syndrome.

The good news is that with changes to diet and exercise, you can prevent, control, or even reverse metabolic syndrome. If you don’t, you could develop significant health risks related to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke as part of the condition. Because your risk for metabolic syndrome increases with age, it’s important to start adjusting your health habits early on.

If you are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, aggressive lifestyle changes will likely be the prescription. While medication is often necessary for those with this diagnosis, changes in diet and exercise can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems related to metabolic syndrome. 

If you are looking for treatment for severe obesity and the life-threatening conditions that often accompany it, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Our expert team can help find the right treatment for you. 

metabolic syndrome

GERD and Hiatal Hernia: Could LINX® Reflux Management System Be Right for You?

Acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion are all common symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. This common problem afflicts over 20 million people every day here in the United States.

A hiatal hernia is when the stomach slips up into the chest. Hiatal hernias can worsen acid reflux because the typical sphincter mechanism in the lower esophagus is dysfunctional, and there is a mechanical disturbance of the natural flow of solid foods and liquids. Pregnancy, obesity, coughing, or constipation increase intra-abdominal pressure, which can worsen the symptoms of reflux and worsen a hiatal hernia.

Generally, hiatal hernias occur more often for patients who are overweight, women, and over 50 years old. Hiatal hernias can be diagnosed with upper endoscopy (EGD), an esophagram or upper gastrointestinal (UGI) series.

The LINX® Reflux Management System is a small and flexible band of interlined titanium beads with magnetic cores. To select the right size, the esophagus is measured with a specialized tool for all patients undergoing placement of a LINX device. First, a necklace-like tool is placed around the lower esophagus at the level of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to get the best fit for the LINX device. The measurement tool is then removed, and the LINX device is implanted, making sure the ends of the band are aligned and securely linked.

Magnetic attraction between the beads helps the lower sphincter resist opening to gastric pressures, preventing reflux of the acidic content in the stomach into the esophagus. The device is designed so that normal swallowing pressures temporarily break the magnetic bond, allowing food and liquid to pass normally into the stomach. Due to the magnetic attraction, the device will assist in closing the lower sphincter immediately after swallowing, augmenting the lower esophageal sphincter and restoring the body’s natural barrier to reflux.

If you suffer from GERD and would like to decrease, or in some cases, completely stop taking medication for this problem, the LINX® Reflux Management System could be the perfect solution for you. Schedule an appointment at VIPSurg to learn more.

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