By David B. Thomas, M.D.
March 3, 2019
Patients pursuing weight loss surgery face a maze of obstacles and hurdles that can be overwhelming. Both insurance company and surgeon requirements can delay and even make surgery not possible. My job as a surgeon is to guide patients through the process safely and help change lives. Because the system is not always ‘patient friendly’, it is important to visualize the end goal throughout the process. Here are a few ways that surgery will change your life!
01 of 05 Physical activity becomes enjoyable again
Before surgery, many patients feel the stress of carrying extra weight in their daily lives. Even walking to check the mail or picking their kids up from school become burdensome activities. Some of the greatest measures of success to me, as a surgeon, are hearing stories of mothers and fathers that can be active with their kids again. Going to the zoo, walking in farmers markets, and even chores around the house can be pleasurable experiences again.
02 of 05 Food will not rule your life
Many patients spend hours thinking about eating each day prior to weight loss surgery. Because the surgery initiates complex changes in your intestines and brain, eating will never be the same after surgery. Many patients find they don’t think about food nearly as often and only eat to live. After surgery, food is a fuel to help you pursue your passions and dreams in life.
03 of 05 Over 100 varieties of hormone changes influenced by your gut
The more we look at the complex and symbiotic bacteria that live in our gut, the more we discover about the amazing relationship that bacteria have with the human body. Bariatric surgery not only alters the bacteria that live in our gut, but also the hormones secreted by our intestines. This affects our appetite, our natural ‘set point’ (more on that in coming blogs), and the intricate interactions between our brain, our gut, and our food. In general, weight loss surgery results in positive changes in gut hormones and our brains. We aren’t hungry as often and eat less.
04 of 05 Stop Taking Medications
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a bariatric surgeon is seeing patients, who once took 15-20+ pills every day, stop many of them. As much as we love to see people lose weight, in reality, the real reason for bariatric surgery is resolution of medical problems associated with obesity. Patients are frequently successful in stopping many of their pills and watching those medical problems disappear after surgery.
05 of 05 Diabetes goes away!
In the past 20 years, diabetes has swept across the world like an epidemic. Medication and medical weight loss have failed to help in a meaningful way. For patients that require insulin and other medications to treat type 2 diabetes, over 80% of patients that have bariatric surgery are able to completely stop medications and have normal HbA1c levels (below 5.7%.) For my patients, this is a reason alone to have surgery. Many are searching for an answer to a difficult problem, and for some, gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy is the answer.