Info for Patients

Is surgery appropriate for you?

While the risks of surgical treatment of obesity are comparable to those of other major surgeries, surgery for weight loss should be used only after all other attempts have failed. Patients must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or possibly 35 or higher if other health problems such as sleep apnea, arthritis or heart disease are present. Click here to see if surgery may be appropriate for you. Over the decades, weight loss surgery has evolved. Older techniques, used during the 1960's and 1970's resulted in problems such as esophagitis and malabsorption in many patients. After 40 years of experience, however, the bariatric surgery community has progressed to a few standardized procedures which offer much better effectiveness and safety than their predecessors of decades earlier. The method we use is called the RNY gastric bypass (Roux-en-y), the current "gold-standard" of bariatric surgery techniques.

 

Some Statistics on Obesity

Sixty-eight percent of all Americans are overweight, and the percentage of adults who are obese has been rising for a decade. Approximately 2-3% of Americans suffer from extreme or "morbid" obesity, for which surgical treatment is recommended.  In 1998, the American Heart Association added obesity to its list of major risk factors for heart attack.

Americans are obsessed with dieting, yet few are successful in attaining permanent weight loss. This "yo-yo" dieting can also contribute to health problems and chronic disease. It is estimated the ranks of diet-conscious adults will increase by 50% this year according to the National Center for Health Statistics in Washington, D.C. More important is the fact that weight loss, or at least weight management, plays a significant role in our overall health.

Scientific study after scientific study shows that being over the ideal body weight places us at a higher risk of disease. Additionally, and of importance to all Americans, the New England Journal of Medicine reports that even a small amount of extra body weight increases our risk of disease and may affect longevity. Those with existing disease, such as diabetics, already have a 2 to 3 times normal risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Add a little body fat and those risks increase dramatically. If you are suffering with a chronic disease, weight control is of utmost importance to your health and longevity. To attain optimal health and longevity, a person must be at or below their ideal body weight. Today's lifestyle and access to fast food makes that a hard goal to reach. The New England Journal of Medicine article on women concluded that Body weight and mortality from all causes were directly related among middle-aged women. Lean women did not have excess mortality. The lowest disease and mortality rate was observed among women who weighed at least 15% less than the U.S. average for women of similar age and among those whose weight had been stable since early adulthood. The risk of cardiovascular disease is increased 7.7 times for those that are obese.

 

Risks of Being Overweight and Dangers of Fat

Nearly every health study done in the last decade mentions obesity and being overweight as a major health risk. The 1995 prevention index says less than one in five adults (18%) fall within their recommended weight range. In the Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health, of the ten leading causes of death in the United States, five are nutrition-related. Instead of nutritional deficiencies as seen in the 1940's, the national diet has shifted to dietary excesses and imbalances. A 1995 study by the University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio states that univariate analyses of many prospective studies have demonstrated that obesity increases the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease.

Obesity and being overweight are major problems for Americans. Severe obesity affects the health and quality of life of four million Americans, and Americans suffer increased mortality and morbidity from being overweight and obese. If we could reduce our weight we could all live longer.

Obesity is not just a cosmetic problem. Being overweight is dangerous to our health. The danger isn't small. Nearly every serious disease we face is either brought on by or exacerbated by taking in too many calories and building up excess fat on our bodies. Forty million Americans have serum cholesterol levels that warrant medically supervised dietary intervention. About one in four Americans have high blood pressure. Being overweight or obese contributes significantly to this health problem. It's clear that America could reduce its massive health care bill if Americans would just lose weight. The average American has gained nearly 8 pounds in the past 10 years. Research shows that Americans would live longer and healthier if they were at their ideal body weight. Researchers at the Louisiana State University Medical Center recently estimated that the direct costs of obesity in the United States are at $39.3 billion per year or more than 5% of all medical costs.

 

Americans spent another $38 billion a year trying to lose weight, according to Market Data Enterprises, but without much permanent success.