Gastric Bypass Surgery – Is it Right For You? Pacific Bariatric Surgical Medical Group Holds Special Health Seminars

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The surgeons at San Diego’s Pacific Bariatric Surgical Medical Group, Inc. at Scripps Mercy Hospital, agree. As pioneers in the field of bariatric surgery, they have conducted over 8,700 open and laparoscopic gastric bypass surgeries since 1993 and have educated patients and doctors throughout the nation on the realities of the procedure. The team’s track record of favorable outcomes has recently earned it the designation as a “Center of Excellence” by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery and the Surgical Review Corporation.

As the number of overweight Americans continues to increase, so too has the number of Americans opting to undergo surgical weight loss solutions.

In 2004, over 140,000 Americans had gastric bypass surgery, which was reported as offering long-term health benefits for those who have not been able to combat obesity through any other weight loss method in the February issue U.S. News World & Report.*

The surgeons at San Diego’s Pacific Bariatric Surgical Medical Group, Inc. (http://www.pbsmg.com) at Scripps Mercy Hospital, agree. As pioneers in the field of bariatric surgery, they have conducted over 8,700 open and laparoscopic gastric bypass surgeries since 1993 and have educated patients and doctors throughout the nation on the realities of the procedure. The team’s track record of favorable outcomes has recently earned it the designation as a “Center of Excellence” by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery and the Surgical Review Corporation.

Although the majority of patients are successful in losing their excess weight and reducing their risk of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, there is more to the procedure than merely shrinking the appetite.

“Many factors go into deciding whether this surgery is right for you. There is much more involved than the physical aspect of losing weight — the surgery is just the first tool. Aftercare is critical; changes to a healthy diet and exercise will deliver the best results. The doctor only gets 20 percent of the credit; the patient gets the rest,” said Pacific Bariatric surgeon Dr. Leo Murphy.

Other realities include:

  • Myth: Gastric bypass surgery is a cure for obesity.

Reality: Pacific Bariatric doctors clearly state that surgery is only a tool. The results are highly dependent on the commitment of each patient to change eating habits, social behavior, and exercise to continue a healthy lifestyle. Nationally, 85 percent of gastric bypass surgery patients are successful.

  • Myth: Gastric bypass surgery is for anyone who wants to look and feel healthier.

Reality: To be considered for gastric bypass, a patient must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or above (or a BMI of 35-40 with associated life threatening conditions). A BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Patients considered morbidly obese are 100 pounds or more overweight. At Pacific Bariatric, patients must go through several pre-surgery consultations with a doctor, psychologist and a counselor, in addition to exercising and eating healthy.

  • Myth: It is impossible to regain weight after surgery.

Reality: If patients do not adhere to proper nutrition, exercise and medical follow ups, there is a chance to regain weight. Weight loss is most significant six months after surgery. However, the weight loss should continue for the next 1 ½ years or more provided the patient observes the following:

  • No snacking between meals
  • Exercise at least one hour a day, four times a week
  • Take protein supplements (at least 50 grams daily)
  • Myth: There are too many complications and risks associated with the surgery.

Reality: Risks are inherent, as with any other abdominal surgery. The chances of such risks include:

  • Pulmonary embolism: 2%
  • Leak in the abdominal cavity: 1 in 2,000

The health conditions associated with obesity such as diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood

pressure that are improved by weight loss surgery far outweigh the risks.

  • Myth: Women can’t have a healthy pregnancy or healthy baby after having surgery.

Reality: Patients should wait at least one year after surgery and follow good nutritional     guidelines before getting pregnant. There are many healthy babies delivered from women     who have had gastric bypass surgery.

The Pacific Bariatric/Scripps Mercy Hospital team routinely travels throughout California to conduct checkups with patients and provide follow-up care. In addition, more than 20 support groups in California and one in Arizona are offered without charge, as part of the program for post operation education and peer support.

Free monthly seminars are held in various cities to educate potential patients about gastric bypass surgery and Pacific Bariatric/Scripps Mercy Hospital’s comprehensive care program.

For more information or to attend a free seminar, visit http://www.pbsmg.com or call 1-800-267-7212.

  • U.S. News & World Report, “Shrink your Stomach,” February 7, 2005.

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