Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Is It Time to Consider Surgical Weight-Loss?

by Cameron Askew, MD

Health and wellness should be the heart of every family, but often get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Between school, work, activities, and meetings, we are left with little time to plan for healthy meals and active living. In many families, this responsibility falls on the shoulders of mom. While juggling all her other daily activities, she is supposed to stay up to date with nutrition, make healthy but delicious meals, plan activities and exercise for all, and figure out how to make it work in the budget. For many moms this is an exhausting task, and even moms who succeed in accomplishing this goal often do so at the expense of their own health. How do we stop this cycle and get the whole family healthy and happy?

The answer, while difficult to implement, is quite simple. Mom has to prioritize her health. When mom makes healthy choices the rest of the family follows. The right place to start is always dietary changes (increased protein, vegetables, healthy fats), increased activity (running, walking the dog, yoga) and behavioral modifications (no smoking, no binge eating, minimal alcohol intake). Unfortunately these changes alone are not enough for everyone and are also very hard to do long-term because of cost and time. If you have tried diets and weight-loss programs with little or no sustained success, then weight loss surgery may be the answer for you.

The hard truth is that patients with a BMI > 35 only have a 5% chance of successful sustained weight loss with diet and behavioral modification alone. Surgery is not an easy way out or a “quick-fix”, but it absolutely is a kick-start to weight-loss that is actually sustainable long-term. Laparoscopic gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric banding are appropriate for patients with a BMI > 35 with comorbidity, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or obstructive sleep apnea, or patients with a BMI > 40. The lap band surgery is also available for patients with a BMI > 30 with comorbidity. If you are interested in learning more about your options, please attend one of our surgical weight loss classes. Visit Brookwood’s website to register for a free, upcoming seminar at www.bwmc.com/surgicalweightloss.com

Dr. Cameron Askew is a weight loss surgeon with Brookwood Medical Center_Cameron S. Askew MD, PC_ Bariatric and General Surgery

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