Thursday, February 9, 2012

But isn't bariatric surgery cheating?

How We Did It got a nice mention in my local newspaper yesterday, The Times of Trenton. It's an article about a local woman who underwent bariatric surgery and lost over 100 pounds.

"But isn't that cheating?" you ask.

That's what I thought before I started to talk to people about weight loss surgery.

One well-known bariatric surgeon, Dr. Scott Shikora, chief of general surgery and bariatric surgery at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, says that realistically speaking, fewer than 10 percent of morbidly obese people will ever achieve weight loss without surgery. Those are some pretty bad odds.

The problem is that when obese people modify their diet, their bodies fight the perceived starvation. They try to exercise, but their weight and overstressed joints prevent them from accomplishing meaningful movement. It's a classic catch-22.

When excess weight reaches the point of endangering a person's health, sometimes surgery is the only possible way to bring them back from the brink of death. So, a person who carries 100 pounds over their ideal weight and has diabetes or high blood pressure may become a good candidate for the surgery.

In many ways, undergoing weight loss surgery requires the same commitment to diet and exercise as the person who chooses a weight loss plan. Eating is strictly controlled and a specific eating plan must be followed in order to prevent complications and weight regain. Exercise is encouraged as part of the patient's new, healthy lifestyle.

But of course weight loss surgery carries significant risks. One of the people in How We Did It who lost 120 pounds after gastric bypass surgery suffered several complications that put her back in the hospital. Yet, today, she is able to maintain her loss and rarely has side effects. But anyone considering weight loss surgery will, of course, have indepth discussions with his or her doctor. Most will also attend mandatory group sessions to determine whether they have the level of commitment necessary to make the surgery and its risks worthwhile.

Although she considered it her last resort, the woman profiled in my local newspaper, Georgette Brown, believed her surgery to be absolutely necessary. She has lost more than 100 pounds and is wearing a size 8, where once she weighed 283 pounds. Congratulations, Georgette!

No comments:

Post a Comment