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Source: ObesityHelp.com

benefits and risks of bariatric surgery

Benefits & Risks of Bariatric Surgery: Is It For You?

May 26, 2017Although bariatric surgery is becoming more common, there are still a lot of opportunities to address the realities of this type of surgery, along with why someone would consider it as a long-term wellness solution. It is important for you to know both the benefits and risks of bariatric surgery so you can know if it is right for you.

To determine whether bariatric surgery is right for you, it’s important to first learn about the various surgical options that are available from a health care professional. You’ll also want to get a better understanding of the short and long-term lifestyle changes that go along with bariatric surgery, along with how your personal commitment to the process will have a direct impact on the results.

Why Consider Bariatric Surgery?

Undeniably, diet and exercise play a fundamental role in weight loss. However, for many individuals, diet and exercise alone are not an effective means to sustained, long-term weight loss.

Last year, more than 113,000 bariatric surgeries took place in the United States. With many weight loss surgery options available, it is proven to be the most effective and longest-lasting treatment for morbid obesity. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), bariatric surgery is the only proven weight-loss method for those suffering from morbid obesity, which is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more.

Understanding whether bariatric surgery is right for you means evaluating the anticipated benefits against the potential risks.

What Are The Benefits of Bariatric Surgery?

While the most obvious benefit of bariatric surgery is a reduction in weight and an improved BMI, surgically-assisted weight loss means many obesity-related health conditions can improve and even be eliminated as a result. A few examples of the health benefits that bariatric patients can expect to achieve after undergoing weight loss surgery include:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Improved blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, potentially preventing type 2 diabetes
  • Lessened or eliminated asthma attacks
  • Improved sleep, and a lessened potential for sleep apnea and snoring
  • Relief from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and heartburn
  • Improved bladder control
  • Comfort and relief from lower back pain, inflammation, and degenerative diseases
  • Improved metabolic health
  • For women, lessened menstrual dysfunction and improved fertility health
  • Relief from migraine headaches and depression

In addition to the physical benefits, those who undergo surgery report improved psychosocial wellness, too. It has been noted that depression, self-esteem issues, and confidence levels improve drastically for many bariatric patients.

Together with the reduction, and even elimination of comorbid diseases and improvement of psychosocial wellness, bariatric patients can also expect to see an increase in life expectancy and an increased quality of life.

What Are The Risks of Bariatric Surgery?

As is the case with all types of surgeries, weight loss surgery involves risks.

Bariatric surgery complications – such as wound infections, abdominal bleeding, staple/suture leakage, respiratory failure, pulmonary problems or other surgery-related issues – are real, but occur in less than five percent of the procedures performed.

In addition to surgery-related issues, it is important to note that each type of bariatric surgery – whether it’s restrictive (e.g., vertical sleeve gastrectomy or laparoscopic gastric banding) or malabsorptive (e.g., duodenal switch or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) – comes with potential complications, which could include prolapse and erosions for band candidates or ulcers and nutritional deficiencies for malabsorptive procedures. While these complications can be serious, many are preventable or can be mitigated through diet and supplementation. A bariatric healthcare professional can walk you through the nuances of every type of surgical option, and describe at length the benefits and risks associated with each.

A knowledgeable, board-certified bariatric physician can help shed more light on potential short and long-term effects, including statistical outcomes. In addition to outlining specific surgical risks, they can also provide vital insights into the risks and complications that could arise from maintaining the status quo of living with life-threatening, comorbid diseases.

Not a Quick-Fix Solution

While it may come with numerous health benefits, deciding to undergo bariatric surgery is not a decision that should be made lightly. Unfortunately, the myths and stigmas of weight loss surgery overshadow the life-changing benefits, including an improved quality of life and a potential reduction in the risk factors associated with developing diabetes and certain cancers.

Weight loss surgery is not an easy way out, nor is it a one-size-fits-all proposition. Choosing to undergo surgery is a life-changing decision that will require a lifelong commitment to healthy eating and exercise.

Self-Assessment for Bariatric Surgery

Following are some questions to ask yourself if you are considering bariatric surgery:

Are you at least 80 pounds overweight?

Bariatric surgery is not for someone looking to lose a few pounds. It is for individuals who have had a lifelong struggle with obesity, for whom diet and exercise alone cannot generate effective weight loss.

Do you have any of the following conditions: diabetes, hypertension, GERD (heartburn or reflux), arthritis in weight-bearing joints (knees, ankles, hips, back), high cholesterol, sleep apnea or infertility?

These are all obesity-related health issues. Bariatric surgery can significantly reduce, if not completely eliminate, many comorbid diseases and conditions.

Does your weight stop you from doing activities you enjoy?

For many, morbid obesity means sitting on the sidelines. Surgical weight loss options help individuals get back to leading active, healthy lives.

Can you comply with long-term lifestyle and dietary changes?

Surgery is not the easy way out. It comes with a lifelong commitment to healthy eating and exercise. These two critical components are vital for long-term weight loss and maintenance.

Are you interested in learning more about surgical weight loss?

Don’t stop here! If you believe bariatric surgery may be the right solution for you, continue your research by visiting a board-certified bariatric practice. Many offer valuable opportunities to participate in educational seminars or workshops where you can interact with not only bariatric healthcare practitioners but also patients who can provide a practical perspective on life as a bariatric patient.

robert-schuster ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Robert Schuster is a board-certified bariatric surgeon practicing at Bridges Center for Surgical Weight Management at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix, and Mountain Vista Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona. Bridges Center for Surgical Weight Management provides a comprehensive program to help individuals achieve healthy, long-term weight loss. The multidisciplinary weight management program features preoperative education, weight loss surgery, nutritional guidance and postoperative support — all designed to help individuals achieve and maintain their weight loss goals.

To view ranking click here: SLMC Bridges Ranking AZ 2017 PDF

Media Contact: Angela Menninger, 602-373-8212, angela@dualitypr.com

Expansion provides East Valley residents’ chance to pursue life-changing bariatric surgery close to home

MESA, Ariz. (Jan. 24, 2017) – As weight loss and getting healthy top the list of resolutions for another new year, Bridges Center for Surgical Weight Management at St. Luke’s Medical Center is helping local residents explore the full spectrum of surgical weight management options by expanding its services to Mountain Vista Medical Center at 1301 S. Crismon Road in Mesa.

The partnership will not only provide surgeries on-site at the 178-bed hospital, but also free education sessions about weight management options. The first series of seminars will begin on Jan. 25 and webinars are also available through the Bridges website.

“We are excited to be able to offer the Bridges program’s weight management knowledge and experience to our patients close to their homes,” said Eric Paul, Market President for IASIS Healthcare Arizona’s Market.

Weight loss has never been more top of mind for many Americans as it was this year. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, data from Google points to nearly 70 million searches for “get healthy,” a 13.77 percent increase over the same time last year. While many traditionally tend to turn to diet and exercise to help with getting trim, a recent study in the journal Obesity says surgical weight loss could have more long-term benefits than tried and true diet and exercise.

The Bridges Center team at Mountain Vista is led by Dr. Van Leavitt and Dr. Rob Schuster, both of which are board certified in general surgery and fellowship trained in bariatrics.  They and their staff bring a deep-seated understanding of weight management challenges faced by patients to Mountain Vista Medical Center. The decision to undergo bariatric surgery is not one to be taken lightly. The team at the Bridges Center walks patients through a comprehensive weight management program that gives guidance and support before, during and after the procedure. The primary goal is to help patients lose weight safely, keep the weight off and live a healthy lifestyle.

“The journey to considering surgical weight management options begins with education,” Paul said. “The Bridges Center team brings their entire education toolkit to Mountain Vista Medical Center to help those interested in exploring bariatric surgery.”

The free seminars and webinars help people learn about the challenges of obesity, its health risks and the role of bariatric surgery. The sessions delve into the different types of weight loss procedures available, as well as the Bridges Center program, background about the professional health care team at the Bridges Center and the 360-degree support patients and their families receive over the course of their weight loss journey. In fact, spouses, family members and partners are encouraged to attend. Upcoming Bridges Center seminars at Mountain Vista Medical Center will be held on:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 25 at noon in classrooms 3-4 (Dr. Schuster)
  • Saturday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. in classroom 3-4 (Dr. Leavitt)
  • Saturday, Feb. 25 at 9 a.m. in classrooms 3-4 (Dr. Leavitt)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. in classrooms 3-4 (Dr. Schuster)

For more information about The Bridges Center for Surgical Weight Management or to reserve a space at an upcoming seminar, visit www.BridgesAZ.com or call 602-251-8828.

About Bridges Center for Weight Management
Designated by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) since 2005, the Bridges Center for Surgical Weight Management at St. Luke’s Medical Center provides a comprehensive program to help individuals achieve healthy, long-term weight loss. The multidisciplinary weight management program features preoperative education, weight loss surgery, nutritional guidance and postoperative support — all designed to help individuals achieve and maintain their weight loss goals. The Bridges Center team at St. Luke’s Medical Center consists of knowledgeable health care professionals — all dedicated to making every experience a positive one by guiding and supporting individuals through every stage of their weight loss journeys. In addition to a highly-experienced team of board-certified bariatric surgeons, staff includes a psychologist, registered nurse, registered dietitian, licensed practical nurse, physical therapist, and a team of patient advocates. For more information, visit www.BridgesAZ.com or call 602-251-8828.

About Mountain Vista Medical Center
Mountain Vista Medical Center, part of IASIS Healthcare, is a 178-bed, full-service hospital, featuring all-private rooms and advanced medical technology. Designed to provide comprehensive health care services for residents of the East Valley, the hospital is accredited as a Primary Stroke Center, and a Level III Trauma Center. The hospital also features a Chest Pain Center and Cardiac Receiving Center.  Mountain Vista Medical Center is directly or indirectly owned by an entity that proudly includes physician owners, including certain members of the hospital’s medical staff. It is located in Mesa, just north of U.S. 60 at Crismon Road and Southern Avenue. Mountain Vista Medical Center is an Official Healthcare Partner of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. For more information, visit www.mvmedicalcenter.com   or call 1-877-924-WELL (9355). Find Mountain Vista Medical Center on Facebook and follow the hospital on Twitter.

About St. Luke’s Medical Center
Serving Metropolitan Phoenix for more than 100 years, St. Luke’s Medical Center is a 200-bed tertiary care hospital part of IASIS Healthcare offering a full range of medical services, including emergency care, orthopedics, cardiac care, bariatrics, physical rehabilitation, pain management and wound care. St. Luke’s has a long history of innovation as the first hospital in Arizona to open a cardiac catheterization lab, and the first in the Valley to perform open heart surgery. With a focus on serving the diverse health care needs of the community, experienced professionals provide high quality care with the latest technology, in a caring environment. St. Luke’s Medical Center is an Official Healthcare Partner of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. For more information, visit www.stlukesmedcenter.com or call 1-877-351-WELL (9355). Find St. Luke’s Medical Center on Facebook and follow the hospital on Twitter.

# # #

Physician Group of Arizona Inc. (PGA), an organization comprised of primary and specialty care physicians, is expanding with a new practice: PGA Surgical Specialists.

The expansion allows PGA to offer a wide range of bariatric and general surgical services, from major operations to minimally-invasive laparoscopic and outpatient procedures. PGA Surgical Specialists is affiliated with three IASIS Healthcare hospitals in the Valley – Mountain Vista Medical Center in Mesa, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix, and Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital in Tempe. Read full article.

Source: KTAR-FM
October 3, 2016

Source: Valley Lifestyles Magazine
February 2016

Valley Lifestyles Magazine Cynthia Dales - Feb. 2016

Source: Gilbert Suns News
January 2016

Like many people, Gilbert resident Cynthia Dales admits that she’s “always been heavy.”

The extra weight she carried around was a factor in several health conditions, she said, including degenerative disc disease, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes and more. Click here to read the full article (pg. 20).

Gilbert Sun News - Cynthia Dales and SLMC Bridges Jan. 2016 issue


PHOENIX – May 4, 2015 –Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona today named Bridges Center for Surgical Weight Management at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix a part of its Blue Distinction® Centers for Specialty Care program. This healthcare facility has been designated as a Blue Distinction® Center+ for delivering quality care resulting in better overall outcomes for bariatric patients, while also meeting key requirements for cost efficiency.

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Congratulations to Mary Banks, a Bridges Center Patient Advocate, for being named St. Luke’s Medical Center’s “Employee of the Year”!