A bariatric surgeon separates fact from fiction

With obesity at epidemic levels, many people consider Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery. Yet, misconceptions about sleeve gastrectomy, Lap-Band and gastric bypass surgeries keep many people from pursuing these procedures — all of which are effective ways to treat this disease. And yes: Obesity is a disease, according to the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA defines obesity as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above. BMI is calculated using a person’s height and weight, and the normal range is between 18.5 and 25.here are the Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery that people believe are true:

1. Misconception: It doesn’t matter which type of surgery you have.

Fact: Just as no two people are alike, “every operation we do is very different, and each is tailored specifically to that person,” Torquati says.

  • Someone with diabetes would likely need gastric bypass Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery, which reduces the size of the stomach and bypass some of the small intestine.
  • For patients with BMIs up to 50, sleeve gastrectomy — which removes all but a banana-sized portion of the stomach — often is the best option.
  • Once popular, gastric banding — when a band restricts the amount of food your stomach will hold — now is performed on less than 5 percent of patients. The best candidates are those who already maintain a strict diet and exercise regime, avoid high-carbohydrate calories, and are willing and able to have multiple band adjustments.

2. Misconception: Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery is a “cop out.” Willpower plus good diet and exercise regimens work just as well.

Fact: Most patients who see a Bariatric surgeon have already tried diet, exercise and medications to control their weight for years, even decades.”When someone is 20 or 30 pounds overweight, diet and exercise are prescribed and can work,” Torquati says. “But once you cross the threshold of being 50 or 60 pounds overweight, the failure rates for controlling weight with exercise and diet are close to 90 percent.”The reason: Losing and keeping off 50 pounds or more requires an intense commitment to diet and exercise that very few people can maintain. Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery helps make extreme weight loss more achievable by eliminating the food cravings that can derail your diet.That said, good diet and exercise regimens are crucial for shedding pounds after surgery — not to mention for weight maintenance. “Surgery is a tool; it’s not a magic bullet,” Torquati says. “At Rush, it’s just part of the patient’s weight loss journey.”Torquati and the team at the Rush Center for Weight Loss & Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery build a vital support system for the patient, including their surgeon, primary care doctor, nutritionist and psychologist.Patients must also attend classes before and after surgery to help them make the lifestyle changes — such as eating right and starting an exercise program — that improve the chances of long-term success.

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