After the indulgences of the holidays, it’s typical to start the new year with high hopes of weight loss. If you’ve been caught in the vicious cycle of fad diets and quick fixes, you may be frustrated with limited results. General surgeons, Dr. Scott Blackburn and Dr. Derek Ware, answer some of the common questions they receive from patients who are interested in surgical weight loss options.
Donda, age 38 and weight loss patient, says, “I tried to lose weight most of my adult life and never could succeed. I was pre-diabetic, my blood pressure was crazy high, and I was just unhealthy. I found it to be in my best interest to do something about my weight so that I could live longer and enjoy my family,” she says.
With the guidance of her provider, Dr. Blackburn, Donda decided the gastric sleeve was the right option. Since her procedure in June 2020, Donda has lost 135 pounds. She continues, “My only regret is not doing it sooner! My quality of life has improved drastically. I’m no longer considered diabetic, my blood pressure is perfect, and I can do so much more with my family and friends. It absolutely hasn’t been easy, but so worth it!”
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE FOR WEIGHT-LOSS SURGERY?
Dr. Blackburn: An ideal patient will need to meet certain criteria, including a BMI greater than 35 with co-morbidities or a BMI greater than 40 with no co-morbidities. This person is motivated but has failed with physician-directed diets in the past.
WHAT CAN A PATIENT DO TO ENSURE THEIR WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY IS SUCCESSFUL?
Dr. Blackburn: Long-term, sustained weight loss involves a sound mind, a diet and exercise plan and self-control, as well as accountability. Emotional preparation is also key. Patients should want to change their habits and work harder at dealing with their vices — such as binge eating, depression, anger, etc. Most insurance companies will require a behavioral health evaluation and nutrition counseling.
WHAT IS RECOVERY LIKE FOR PATIENTS WHO HAVE WEIGHT-LOSS SURGERY?
Dr. Ware: Most patients recover within two to four weeks. The main delay in recovery is the advancement of diet over the six-week, post-op period. Overall, recovery appears to be dependent on the adaptability of the patient to diet changes.
Dr. Scott Blackburn and Dr. Derek Ware are general surgeons at Memorial. For more information about weight loss surgery, call 228-867-4220.