Bariatric Surgery: Busting the Myths and Misconceptions

Weight-loss surgery is a potentially life-saving procedure that helps you lose a substantial amount of weight by shrinking the size of your stomach and reducing food intake. Gastric bypass, lap band, and gastric sleeve are the three most recognizable names in bariatric surgery, but there are also a variety of other options thanks to continued medical advancements. Still, there remains a significant portion of the morbidly obese population who are unwilling to consider treatment for a variety of reasons; unfortunately, their reasons are often based on misconceptions or myths related to bariatric procedures.

Let’s bust 3 common weight-loss surgery myths:

Myth: Most bariatric surgery patients regain most if not all of their lost weight.Truth Vs Myth Bowling Facts Investigating Busting Untruth

Truth: Although some weight-loss surgery patients regain weight after their procedure, it’s not the norm. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, up to 50% of patients may regain a small amount of weight in the years after surgery, but it usually only amounts to 5% of weight lost. Most patients embrace the life-changing effects of weight-loss surgery by improving their diets and habits.

Myth: The risks of weight-loss surgery outweigh the risks of obesity.

Truth: Weight-loss surgery is a quite safe procedure. Studies show that bariatric surgery patients reduce their mortality rates by up to 89% compared with severely obese people who avoid treatment.

Obesity is a disease linked with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. The National Institutes of Health lists obesity as the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Myth: Weight-loss surgery is nothing more than a cop out for people who are too lazy to diet and exercise.

Truth: Those affected by severe obesity are resistant to long-term weight loss by diet and exercise. The National Institutes of Health Experts Panel recognizes that sustained weight loss is nearly impossible for those affected by severe obesity and may only be achievable through bariatric surgery. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes are part of treatment, but in order to shed the necessary amount of weight to make a life-changing, healthful impact, bariatric surgery may be the best option.

If you are struggling with severe obesity and are considering surgery, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Our team of experts will look at your personal situation and help find the right treatment for you.





Defining Obesity

To define what obesity means today, we can’t count on a dictionary. However, since obesity has become a growing national health problem in the U.S., it has perhaps never been more important that we have a working definition that we can all agree on.

In order to understand how someone is categorized as overweight or obese, the world’s health organizations have adopted the use of body mass index (BMI) to classify and communicate about body weight. BMI is a widely recognized weight-for-height index.

Unfortunately, this index does not quantify total body fat or convey information concerning regional distribution of fat — both of which are key to how obesity affects health. Nonetheless, BMI is an easily obtained measure that has been recommended for use in all age groups. Most clinical studies assessing the health effects of overweight and obesity rely on BMI.

Currently, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization use the same measures of BMI for defining overweight. obese-3011213__340 (2)

  • If BMI is 25.0 to <30, it falls within the overweight range.
  • If BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.

Since BMI describes body weight relative to height, it correlates strongly (in adults) with total body fat content. However, some very muscular people may have a high BMI without undue health risks.

Obesity is often from a combination of factors, based on both genetics and behavior. Accordingly, treating obesity usually requires more than just dietary changes.

Being overweight is a significant contributor to health problems. It increases the risk of developing a number of diseases including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cancer (certain forms such as cancer of the prostate and cancer of the colon and rectum)
  • Gallstones and gall bladder disease
  • Gout and arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) of the knees, hips, and the lower back
  • Sleep apnea

Ideally, health-oriented definitions of overweight and obesity should be used that are based on the amount of excess body fat that puts an individual at a higher risk for health problems. Unfortunately, no such definition currently exists. Health risks associated with increasing weight are part of a continuum. People can have weight-associated health problems at BMIs lower than 25, and others can have no identifiable health problems at BMIs significantly greater than 25.

Easily determine your BMI with this free calculator:

If you’re interested in bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with us. Our team of experts can find the right treatment for you.

Bariatric Surgery: Impacting High Blood Pressure Through More Than Weight Loss

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure (hypertension). Risks include family history, advancing age, poor diet, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, and being overweight or obese.

Lifestyle changes are a big part of controlling high blood pressure. The main tenets include:

  • Following a healthy diet, which may include reducing salt. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is often recommended. In addition to lowering salt intake, DASH is replete with fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy. The diet emphasizes whole grains and is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and fiber.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Keeping stress levels at bay. (Stress can cause us to engage in unhealthy blood pressure-raising behaviors.)
  • Drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol.
  • Taking your medications as prescribed.

There are many types of prescription medications that can help control blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. These medications may need to be taken for life to maintain their effect.

New research is showing, however, that bariatric surgery can allow obese people taking a lot of antihypertensive medications to cut way back on them. Study subjects’ blood pressure was maintained in the normal range with only one agent or even without drugs.

Within a year, those in a recent trial who had bariatric surgery were more than six times as likely to have cut back on their number of blood pressure (BP) medications by hypertension-867855__340about a third. Half of the surgical patients didn’t need any antihypertensive meds to maintain their BP at healthy levels. On the other hand, all of the “standard-care” patients in the study needed antihypertensive medications to keep BP that low, and half of them needed at least three different ones.

Interestingly, most patients in the gastric-bypass group achieved the primary end point in the first month of the postop period. That seems to indicate that something more is happening beyond just weight loss.

That something is likely to be related, at least in part, to the metabolic changes in the surgery group compared with the control group, which included significant improvements in fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in addition to the lowering of blood pressure.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are wondering if bariatric surgery might be right for you, schedule an appointment at VIP Surg. Dr. Tsuda and his team can help find the right treatment for your unique situation.


Bariatric Surgery Found to Help 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 percent of them had an emergency department (ED) or hospital visit for acute COPD symptoms, researchers report in Chest. 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 percentin the first year after bariatric surgery. Just 12 percent 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 percent 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 in the Las Vegas area, schedule a consultation at VIP SURG. Our expert team can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease health medical concept

Most Common Surgical Treatments for Clinically Severe Obesity

The obesity epidemic continues to grow in our country, and with obesity comes a whole host of additional health risks, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and stroke. Those looking to reduce these obesity-related health risks are turning to bariatric or medical weight-loss surgeries like gastric bypass.

With weight-loss surgery, your surgeon makes changes to your stomach or small intestine, or both. The procedure resolves diabetes 80 percent of the time, and patients lose an average of 70 percent of extra weight. However, gastric bypass isn’t the only choice. Learn about your options:

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band – The surgeon puts a small band around the top of your stomach. The band has a small balloon inside it that controls how tight or loose the band is. The band limits how much food can go into your stomach. This surgery is done using a laparoscope. Advantages include:

  • Minimally invasive with small incisions
  • Short hospital stay
  • Adjustable without additional surgery
  • Can support pregnancy
  • Removable at any time

Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve – This surgery removes most of the stomach and leaves only a narrow section of the upper part of the stomach, called a gastric sleeve. The surgery may also curb the hunger hormone ghrelin, so you eat less. Advantages include:

  • No cutting, bypassing, or stapling of the intestine
  • Little concern about vitamin and calcium absorption
  • No adjustments or artificial devices put into place
  • Most foods are possible

Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery – The surgeon leaves only a very small part of the stomach (called the pouch). That pouch can’t hold a lot of food, so you eat less. The food you eat bypasses the rest of the stomach, going straight from the pouch to your small intestine. This surgery can often be done through several small incisions using a camera to see inside (laparoscope). Doctors can also perform a mini-gastric bypass, which is a similar procedure also done through a laparoscope. Advantages include:

  • Tiny incisions, resulting is less scarring and easier healing
  • Excellent cosmetic result
  • Little pain
  • Few wound complications
  • Fast recovery
  • Short hospital stay
  • Resuming physical activity soon
  • Little risk of hernia formation

Duodenal Switch- This is complicated surgery that removes most of the stomach and uses a gastric sleeve to bypass most of your small intestine. It limits how much you can eat. It also means your body doesn’t get as much of a chance to absorb nutrients from your food, which could mean you don’t get enough of the vitamins and minerals you need. Advantages include:

  • Results in greater weight loss than other methods, i.e. 60 – 70% percent excess weight loss or greater, at 5 year follow up
  • Allows patients to eventually eat near normal meals
  • Reduces the absorption of fat by 70 percent or more
  • Causes favorable changes in gut hormones to reduce appetite and improve satiety
  • Is the most effective against diabetes compared to other methods

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He can help you decide which, if any, of these treatments is right for your unique situation.Fat man running


What you Need to Know about Protein

You probably know you need to eat protein, but what is it and where exactly do you find it? The answer is – everywhere – if you’re talking about the body. Proteins make up about 42% of the dry weight of our bodies. The protein collagen—which holds our skin, tendons, muscles, and bones together—makes up about a quarter of the body’s total protein. Protein builds, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body. Your muscles, your organs, and your immune system are made up mostly of protein. All of our cells and even blood are packed with protein molecules.

Proteins, along with fats and carbohydrates, are the macronutrients that form the basis of our diets. Once consumed, some people associate protein only with helping to build muscle, but keep in mind that’s not all it does for us. In our bodies, protein performs a range of duties, from building new cells to regulating metabolism to helping cells communicate. Proteins help shuttle oxygen throughout the body in the form of hemoglobin, as well as build muscle.

When you eat foods that contain protein, the digestive juices in your stomach and intestine go to work. They break down the protein in food into basic units, called amino acids. The amino acids then can be reused to make the proteins your body needs to maintain muscles, bones, blood, and body organs.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Our DNA directs the body to join various combinations of amino acids into a variety of sequences and three-dimensional shapes for an arsenal of over 2 million different proteins, each serving a unique function. Our bodies can make some of these amino acids, but there are nine that are considered “essential amino acids” because we must consume these through our diet.

Many foods contain protein, but the best sources are:

  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • legumes like black beans and lentils

While our bodies can store fats and carbohydrates to draw on when needed, we do not have a storage pool of amino acids. We need a fresh source each day in order to build the body proteins we need. If the body is missing a particular amino acid to form the protein it needs, it will pull that amino acid by breaking down existing muscle protein. If we consistently lack certain amino acids we will lose muscle weight, energy and, eventually, fundamental functions.

The amount of protein you need depends on your weight and health. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein for the healthy individual is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 3 to 4 grams per 10 pounds, and two to three servings of protein-rich food will meet the daily needs of most adults. Athlete’s protein intake recommendations may be higher.

The good news is that you don’t have to eat all the essential amino acids in every meal. As long as you have a variety of protein sources throughout the day, your body will grab what it needs from each meal.

You can look at a food label to find out how many protein grams are in a serving, but if you’re eating a balanced diet, you don’t need to keep track of it. It’s pretty easy to get enough protein.

*Dr. Shawn Tsuda is a General Surgeon specializing in robotic bariatric surgery. Schedule a consultation to learn more.
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Weight-loss Surgery Myths – Setting the Record Straight

If you are considering bariatric surgery, you’ve probably heard many of the popular myths. These run the gamut from horror stories to fairy tales. In reality, these procedures are neither as awful nor as fantastic as they’re made out to be. Here are some facts to help set the record straight about weight-loss surgery (WLS).

Myth: All bariatric surgery involves stomach stapling.

  • There are many different types of gastrointestinal procedures for weight loss, some of which reduce the functioning size of the stomach and others that bypass parts of the digestive tract, reducing absorption of calories and nutrients. Different types of surgeries offer different results, and some are more suitable for particular people than others.

Myth: People who get weight-loss surgery don’t have willpower.

  • Many bariatric surgery patients have struggled for years, pushing themselves to extremes to lose weight and keep it off. They understand that surgery is a final option when everything else has failed. The surgery, recovery and lifestyle changes that accompany WLS require both courage and determination on the part of the patient.

Myth:  Bariatric surgery is only for the morbidly obese.

  • Obesity is only one of the criteria that qualify patients for surgery. Overweight patients may also be candidates if they have one or more health problems that might be reduced or alleviated by weight loss such as diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, arthritis, and high cholesterol.

Myth: Bariatric surgery is extremely dangerous.

  • Any type of surgery has associated risks, such as complications or even death. However, a number of recent advances have helped to minimize risks. Surgeries are usually done laparoscopically with mini-incisions that result in faster healing, less pain, and less scarring.

Myth: You will finally be skinny after bariatric surgery.

  • Losing just 50% of excess weight and keeping it off is considered a success story. That’s still going to be overweight in the eyes of most people. Plus, your skin isn’t necessarily going to tone up and be free of drooping after weight loss. However, the health benefits in reducing weight-related problems like sleep apnea often occur even in patients who don’t lose all the weight they would like.

Myth: Weight loss from bariatric surgery is permanent.

  • Unfortunately, even this one is not true. In fact, some regain is likely. Part of this is simply the body adjusting and learning to store fat even on a very restricted diet. At other times, a patient’s failure to adhere to the post-surgery lifestyle recommendations plays a role.

Myth: You should only have WLS if you are done having kids.

  • It isn’t safe to get pregnant in the first year or two after bariatric surgery. You simply won’t be getting enough nutrients to support a growing fetus. After you are done losing weight (if you are taking all your supplements and monitoring your health carefully), getting pregnant should be okay. This is something to discuss with your bariatric surgeon.

Myth: After bariatric surgery, you won’t be able to eat anything that tastes good.

  • Patients who undergo gastric bypass may need to avoid very sweet foods because it can cause side effects like dizziness and nausea. Patients who have a duodenal switch typically need to keep fatty foods to a minimum. However, many patients can and do eat their favorite foods after they recover from surgery. They just eat very small portions.

Myth: You can never be far from a bathroom after WLS.

  • In the aftermath of surgery, you may find yourself having some “emergency” bathroom visits. However, symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting should subside over time as you get a better handle on how your altered digestive system responds to food.

Myth: Bariatric surgery is reversible.

  • Gastric banding is usually reversible. That’s because the stomach and intestines are not cut or stapled with this surgery. Gastric bypass may be reversible, but this is a very involved surgery. It’s more difficult to put everything back where it was, and there is a risk that the revision won’t restore normal function. Sleeve gastrectomy and duodenal switch entail actual removal of part of the stomach without reattaching it lower on the intestine. This type of surgery is not reversible.

Surgery for weight reduction is not a miracle procedure. Weight loss surgery is designed to assist the morbidly obese in developing a healthier lifestyle. A surgical weight loss operation is a useful tool for weight loss, but it is a surgical procedure that requires a substantial lifelong commitment. The surgery alone will not help someone lose weight and keep it off. The patient must change eating and exercise habits. Without changes to the daily pattern of eating and activity, the patient is likely to regain the weight over time.