Millions of people struggle every day with extra pounds that take their toll on self-esteem and physical stamina. While there are no shortage of diets and exercise routines to try, it’s not unusual for those who are extremely overweight to lose hope of ever making it to their healthy goal weight.
Bariatric surgery has been a lifesaver for countless Americans who desperately want to lose weight and regain the quality of life that comes with improved mobility and fewer health complications. Every year, the number of bariatric options increase as new technologies are introduced to this growing sub-specialty.
Dr. Seun Sowemimo, MD, FACS, is a board-certified, fellowship trained bariatric surgeon.At his center, Prime Surgicare in Freehold, he routinely counsels patients about the benefits of losing weight with the help of minimally invasive laparoscopic weight loss surgery, including the gastric sleeve.
This surgery does not alter the anatomy (the way a full gastric bypass does) and usually requires no more than a one night stay in the hospital after surgery. The gastric sleeve works best for people who are considered morbidly obese,meaning they have a BMI (body mass index) of40 (or 35 with a comorbidity such as diabetes)and are ready to live a healthy lifestyle.
“It’s a wonderful procedure that has very good results as long as the patient understands that they must participate in changing their lifestyle,” Dr. Sowemimo said. “To be successful long-term, which is what I think counts, you need to understand that you need to stop eating high calorie foods and really exercise. If you aren’t willing to make the changes, the gastric sleeve won’t work nor will any other bariatric changes.”
Ragui Sadek, MD, FACS, director of bariatric surgery at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, views the gastric sleeve procedure asa metabolic solution for weight loss. He routinely performs this bariatric procedure as well as others to help patients regain their quality of life.
Additionally, he is one of the only bariatric surgeons in the entire United States who performs the gastric sleeve procedure endoscopically (endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty) as opposed to laparoscopically.
Endobariatrics, he said, is very popular in Europe and Latin America. By conducting the gastric sleeve procedure through the mouth endoscopically, Dr. Sadek says downtime and recovery are completely reduced. The entire operation is completed in less than an hour,there are no incisions and there is usually no need for an overnight hospital stay.
“This operation restricts the amount of calories the person can consume, by reducing the size of the stomach and removing the part where the hunger hormone, ghrelin, resides.This reduces food cravings making it easier to stick with a healthy food plan.
“After a gastric sleeve procedure, patients report a natural sense of satiety with small meals,” he said, making it ideal for patients who feel a constant sense of hunger or never feel full.”
Both physicians agree that aftercare is paramount when it comes to success of any bariatric surgery.
At Prime Surgicare, Dr. Sowemimo said bariatric surgery is not a magic bullet; it can be a very a successful weight loss tool. Other tools that are equally as important include regular exercise and emotional support groups. To that end, Dr. Sowemimo invites patients to participate in regularly scheduled support groups, exercise groups with personal trainers and outdoor activities monthly.
“We follow patients for life,” Dr. Sadek said.“We want to see a patient once or twice a year for life. That way, if there is a problem, we can pinpoint it and solve it before weight is regained.”
Prime Surgicare • www.primesurgicare.com
Advanced Surgical & Bariatrics of NJ, PA • www.bariatricsurgerynewjersey.com