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Monday, November 25, 2013 - Which type of weight-loss surgery procedure is right for you?


Which type of weight-loss surgery procedure is right for you?

By Seun Sowemimo, M.D., F.A.C.S.

As a bariatric surgeon at CentraState Medical Center, I have performed hundreds of weight-loss surgery operations. The most important topic I discuss with new patients is which procedure is best for them. While the decision is ultimately made by the patient, I offer my medical recommendation based upon their medical history, current weight and overall lifestyle. This surgery serves as a powerful tool to ignite a long-term change in your use of food in tandem with a commitment to a regular exercise program.

Weight-loss surgery is typically recommended for individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above and have tried other weight-loss programs without sustained success. It may also be suitable for patients with a BMI of at least 35 who have obesity-related medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea or high blood pressure. When I meet with patients for the first time, I explain that bariatric surgery is not a miracle surgery or a short-cut to wearing a 34-inch pant size in five months. Rather, it opens the door to a new way of healthy living for the rest of your life.

The “big three” weight-loss surgery procedures

Today, the most common operations are gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric banding (Lap-Band). Each of these procedures comes with its own set of pros and cons. For example, gastric bypass patients typically lose the most weight but face the longest recovery time after surgery. The sleeve gastrectomy takes the middle road ─ it is moderately invasive and offers more overall weight-loss than the gastric band. Gastric banding (Lap-Band) is considered the least invasive procedure, but requires life-long periodic band adjustments to regulate the volume of food that can be consumed.

People living with serious obesity-related medical conditions ─ heart disease, mobility issues, high blood pressure and diabetes ─ are often suitable candidates for the sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass procedures because they generally help shed excess weight more rapidly in order to restore an improved state of overall health.

How much weight do you need to lose?

Patients who have gastric bypass can lose an average of 70 percent of their excess weight while those who opt for sleeve gastrectomy can expect to lose about 60 percent. Governor Christie, who underwent gastric banding earlier this year, will experience more gradual weight loss; most patients eventually lose an average of 50 percent of their excess weight. Keep in mind, these estimations are based on the patient's adherence to doctor-prescribed diet and lifestyle changes after surgery.

If you believe weight-loss surgery might be a solution to your obesity battle, arm yourself with an understanding of what procedure is best for you. I recommend you start by attending a weight-loss surgery information seminar hosted by a board-certified bariatric surgeon and be sure to ask questions. Then meet with a recommended doctor for a private consultation to discuss your medical history, weight-loss goals and the best surgical options for you. The benefits of bariatric surgery can be life-changing and life-extending.  

CentraState Medical Center offers a comprehensive bariatric weight-loss surgery program which includes pre-surgical counseling, nutritional guidance and monthly support groups. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) has designated CentraState as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence for demonstrating a commitment to quality and safety, and a track record of favorable outcomes.  In addition, each month, our team of board-certified bariatric surgeons hosts free weight-loss surgery seminars to discuss the different procedures and the lifestyle changes that go hand-in-hand with overcoming morbid obesity. To learn more, call 866-CENTRA7 (236-8727) or visit centrastate.com.

Dr. Sowemimo is a board-certified and fellowship-trained bariatric, laparoscopic and general surgeon. He is on staff at CentraState Medical Center and can be reached at Prime Surgicare and Central Jersey Bariatrics by calling 732-982-2002.