Sunday, May 17, 2009

Gastric Bypass surgery: Pros and Cons

Tulsa, OK
Gastric bypass surgery is growing more popular every year as America's obesity epidemic tips the scales. Even the elderly, and people with health problems are turning to this surgical solution to obesity.

It is a surgery that saves lives. But some also warn there can be life-changing drawbacks.

"These were 26 - and I wear a size 8 now," said Leslie Blunt as she proudly showed off the pants she will never wear again thanks to gastric bypass surgery. She has lost 140 pounds. "It works. It does. You live a healthier life," she added.

Micah Anderson chose gastric bypass surgery when his weight ballooned to 500 pounds. "Lost little over 200 pounds - easy," he told 2News anchor Karen Larsen. "I'm happy with myself. More confidence."

While gastric bypass is known for bringing on drastic weight loss, what many do not realize are specific changes it may cause for an individual, along with health benefits.

"A lot of this junk food they were eating before - their taste has disappeared they don't want it anymore," according to Dr. Luis Gorospe, gastric bypass surgeon at Bailey Medical Center in Owasso. Both Anderson and Blunt went to Dr. Gorospe for surgery. His patients come from surrounding states, drawn by his surgery success rate, the promise of dramatic weight loss and the immediate health benefits of gastric bypass.

"If they have diabetes - 70 percent of these patients wake up with normal blood sugar and will not require medications - forever," Dr. Gorospe said.

Studies show gastric bypass may improve or even eliminate such health problems as:

Leslie Blunt says she is living proof, "I don't have high blood pressure. I don't have diabetes. I am pill free."

However, Micah Anderson tells a different story. "I'll vomit maybe not every week - but if something doesn't agree it does come right back up."

When surgeons create a tiny new stomach for patients, vomiting is a common problem when patients eat too much, too fast - until they get used to their new, smaller stomach. Micah says he expected that - but then he started fainting - once behind the wheel of his car.

Anderson's wife Katie said, "The passing out has happened four times. Spells where he could potentially pass out... weekly!"

Frightened by the potential danger such episodes represented, the Andersons began researching online and discovered other gastric bypass patients having such problems.

"Describing the same kind of drunk-like symptoms, incoherent, can't talk, slurring the speech. and people were experiencing the same things," Katie added.

The Andersons say they went to numerous doctors and nutritionists, trying to find a physician who was experienced with gastric surgery side effects. After trial and error, they say they have finally found the right doctor to care for Micah. As a result, Micah now follows a diet carefully crafted to meet his personal needs. He eats every two hours, consumes plenty of protein and takes vitamins.

"For me its lack of eating. I forget to eat and that's what causes my issues. It's partially my fault as much as it is the surgery," Micah said. "If I don't follow the rules like they tell you - you do have issues."

Doctor Gorospe agreed. He said healthy eating - the same issue obese patients struggle with before gastric bypass - is more important than ever after surgery. "If you follow the rules, this surgery will be successful," Dr. Gorospe said.

Because some patients do encounter issues following surgery, and with their new lifestyle, Doctor Gorospe offers monthly support groups. "I make it a point of being there," he said. "I want to be available to my patients." The meetings offer patients an opportunity to share their stories and talk with Dr. Gorospe.

Micah did attend the monthly meetings. However, some of his problems did not occur until several years following the procedure. As a result of his struggle, the Anderson's suggest to those considering gastric bypass surgery: do plenty of research, know the rules they will have to live by, and read up on potential side effects.

"There is a list and, by golly, one of those things on the list will affect you," Katie Anderson said. "They just need to tell you flat out - you are trading one set of issues for another set of issues."

However, when asked if he would have the surgery again, Micah's answer is, "Unfortunately, yes." He went on to say he is pleased with his more than 200 pound weight loss. His joints ache less when he gets out of bed in the morning, and it is easier to be active.

Leslie Blunt agrees. Now, this svelte hair stylist says work is easy. No more suffering from carrying too much weight while being on her feet each day. Plus, she loves buying clothes with her new look and the fact that she is setting a good example for her young children by living a healthier lifestyle.

In fact, Leslie says gastric bypass surgery is the best thing she ever did for herself. "Yes! I would do it over and over and over again! I never want to be that way again."

Gastric Bypass Malpractice Lawyers

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Help now available after failed gastric bypass surgery

San Diego, CA
A new procedure, called a ROSE procedure, is now available for patients who have had gastric bypass, lost weight and then slowly put weight back on again as their stomach pouch stretched. One of the problems with surgeries that reduce the size of the stomach for weight loss is that the pouch size may not be permanent. Over time, the pouch can enlarge to the point where meals of significant size can be eaten.

Rose, or Restorative Obesity Surgery, Endolumenal, is an outpatient procedure where the surgeon inserts a tiny camera and special tools into the stomach by introducing them into the mouth and down through the esophagus. Remarkably, no incisions are made to reduce the size of the stomach opening and the actual stomach. The surgeon essentially makes folds in the tissue of the stomach from the inside, similar to creating pleats, then uses stitches to hold the folds in place.

The procedure is currently available at the Center For The Treatment of Obesity at UC San Diego Medical Center.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Woman's decision to undergo gastric bypass changes her life

Harrisburg, PA
Corinna Van Hine's moments of reckoning with her weight were mounting. At 30, she was out of breath when she walked with her husband, often avoiding hills. Shopping for women's clothes was a thing of the past, and she was buying from the racks in men's departments instead. She could barely squeeze into seats at movie theaters or amusement parks.

The worst setback was when her 320-pound frame kept her from horseback riding, a passion since she was 5 years old. "It really limited me because you have to have a big enough horse to handle your weight," Van Hine said. "My weight had gotten to a point where it wasn't safe for the horse for me to be riding it."

That's when the Steelton woman decided enough was enough. After years of shedding pounds through dieting and exercise only to regain the weight and sometimes more, she hit the books and Internet for any information on weight-loss surgeries.

It eventually led Van Hine to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center's Surgical Weight Loss Program, where patients go through an extensive evaluation before undergoing six months of medically supervised weight loss prior to approved surgery. In March 2006, she attended an informational session with surgeons who explained the types of surgery offered -- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery and laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding -- the risks involved and what to expect afterward. Van Hine left the meeting feeling more confident than she had in a long time.
Vince CassaroSince gastric bypass surgery, Van Hine has lost 115 pounds. She also eats better and exercises, often for a 2-mile walk with Callie, her dog, in and around her Swatara Township home.

Although she had lost 60 to 70 pounds on her own in 2001, she was sidelined by a broken collarbone, and the weight became increasingly difficult to keep off. "I said to myself, 'This is probably my only answer out of it,'" Van Hine said. "I thought, at 30 years old, I can't be doing this my whole life -- losing it and gaining it back. It hurts too much to be yo-yoing back and forth again and again."

Ann M. Rogers, a physician and the director of Hershey's weight loss program, said Van Hine is one of hundreds who have turned to its surgeries to lead healthier lives. About 80 percent of the patients are women, all of whom are severely obese -- 100 pounds over their ideal weight or a body mass index greater than 40 -- with health issues linked to their weight, Rogers said.

Like Van Hine, most candidates also are well informed about the surgeries before they walk in the hospital's doors. "I'd say 99.9 percent of them are ready to go with surgery by the time they come to our informational sessions," Rogers said. "Most of them have already spent years trying to lose weight. No matter how much they are able to lose, they invariably gain it back and then some. They simply can't keep it off."

In December 2006, after months of preparation and restricted dieting, Van Hine was wheeled in for a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, in which doctors create a small pouch and bypass a portion of a patient's intestines through several small incisions.

Weight loss occurs rapidly in the first six months following surgery and slowly tapers off 18 to 24 months afterward. Patients can expect to lose an average of 77 percent of their excess body weight within a year after surgery, according to experts. As with any surgery, however, the procedure carried its risks, and they weighed on Van Hine's mind.

Death can occur in about 1 percent of gastric bypass surgeries, and less severe complications can arise in 10 percent of cases. Surgical risks include intestinal leakage and internal bleeding, while all surgeries carry the risk of pneumonia, heart attack and blood clots.

Fortunately, Van Hine said, she escaped any serious complications and, to her surprise, didn't feel much pain when she awoke from her surgery." I was shocked that I didn't feel bad. It didn't hurt, but it felt like I had done some sit-ups," she said. "I didn't use any pain medication by the second day."

There were challenges ahead, Van Hine said, and she was mentally prepared for it. For weeks, she would have to live on a liquid-only, protein diet. Small amounts of foods would come in several months. "I've gotten sick a few times," Van Hine said, usually because she didn't chew her food long enough. "That's the tool of the surgery. It's your body saying, 'No, you can't eat that.'"

As of October, Van Hine has dropped nearly 115 pounds, taking her from a size 32 to 14 or 16 --in the women's departments. The real payoff though: She is finally feeling more like herself.

"Mentally, I never felt like a fat person. Finally, the person I was in my head and the person I am on the outside are ... becoming closer together. It feels like being let out of jail."

Before surgery, Corinna ate more than the average person -- when she wasn't dieting over the years, that is. It wasn't uncommon for her to go through fast-food drive-throughs for loaded hamburgers and greasy fries. She also didn't know "when to say when" during dinners. Today, her appetite is very satisfied with smaller amounts of food, and she can still enjoy her favorite prime rib -- she just has to chew it to death before swallowing.

She's not concerned about losing more weight because she's happy at her current level. If she loses more, great. If she doesn't, that's fine, too. She is well aware that she has to exercise and keep a healthy diet to maintain the surgery's results.
Vince CassaroJason Van Hine, Corinna's husband, has lost 40 pounds with his wife. He didn't undergo surgery; he's just exercising and eating better.

Van Hine's husband, Jason, didn't realize how overweight his wife was until he recently stumbled upon some old photographs. "She kind of looked miserable," he said. "I didn't see that when I took those pictures then."

The couple now exercises together at a local gym, enjoys walks and is working to restore their old home.

"A lot of people think this a quick and easy fix, and it's not at all," she said. "It's a massive lifestyle change. You need to be committed to it. You can build a house with a hammer, but the hammer is not going to do the work by itself. You've got to choose to use the tool."

Surgical treatments

There are three ways that bariatric surgery may promote weight loss in obese patients:

• Decreasing food intake (restriction).
• Causing some food to be poorly digested or absorbed (malabsorption).
• Combination of restriction and malabsorption.

The Roux-Y Gastric Bypass is the surgical procedure offered at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. It provides gastric restriction combined with some malabsorption. Both the open and laparoscopic surgical procedures are available.

Open gastric bypass surgery can now be performed through a 6- to 8-inch midline incision. This operation is restrictive in nature but also creates a "dumping physiology." A 30- to 60-cc gastric pouch is created using several staple lines. The gastric pouch is drained into a segment of jejunum (small intestine) and "bypasses" the distal stomach and duodenum.

The small gastric pouch is "restrictive" and consumption of excessive carbohydrate rich liquids causes "dumping" or abdominal discomfort. The result is sustained weight loss of 50 percent excess body weight in more than 80 percent of patients. Gastric bypass is associated with iron and vitamin B12 deficiency, therefore patients must take supplemental vitamins after surgery.

You're not eligible: If your body mass index is below 35, you are not eligible for this surgical procedure. To find your body mass index, type the term into any Internet search engine to come up with a calculator.

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