Dec 8, 2020 Bariatric Surgery Could Help You Live Your Best Life

Physicians at the Weight Loss Surgery Center help patients improve their health and live longer.

There have been plenty of jokes about gaining the “COVID-19” in recent months, but being overweight is no laughing matter. For starters, it increases your risk of dying from the coronavirus. In addition, people who have a body mass index (BMI), a weight-height ratio over 30 are at increased risk of developing coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and fatty liver disease.

Gurdeep S. Matharoo, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Gurdeep S. Matharoo, MD, FACS, FASMBS

Losing weight through diet and exercise can be challenging for people with a high BMI. But weight loss, or bariatric, surgery can help people lose 55 to 75 percent of excess body weight and extend a person’s life expectancy by 10 to 12 years, says Gurdeep S. Matharoo, MD, FACS, FASMBS, a board-certified bariatric surgeon at Monmouth Medical Center (MMC). In addition, the surgery may “cure” serious medical problems, such as high blood pressure, reflux, sleep apnea, and joint pain. Surgery can also improve a person’s quality of life. “When I ask a patient ‘Why are you here?’, I often hear things like: ‘I want to spend more time with my family’ and ‘I can’t keep up with my grandkids,’” says Dr. Matharoo. “Bariatric surgery can help people live the life they want to live.”

At MMC, the Weight Loss Surgery Center offers a multidisciplinary approach to slimming down. The Center offers primary surgery as well as revisional procedures, in which a previous bariatric surgery is corrected. Bariatric surgeons at MMC are fellowship-trained, and they perform the procedures using minimally invasive techniques. The benefits include a lower risk of infection and hernias, a quicker recovery, and less incisional pain. MMC’s bariatric surgeons are the only ones in the area to perform weight-loss surgery using robotic technology, which is more precise than other methods.

The Center is so committed to helping the 27 percent of adults in New Jersey who are obese that a staff member recently introduced a bill that would designate the second week of October “Obesity Care Week” in New Jersey. Here are the procedures the Center offers and how to know if you might qualify for surgery.

Types of Bariatric Surgery

Sleeve Gastrectomy

How It Works: About 80 percent of the stomach is removed, leaving a small “sleeve” about the size of a banana. This surgery helps people feel full after eating small amounts of food and causes gut hormone levels to drop so they’re not as hungry.

Best For: It’s great for people who feel hungry all the time because it prevents them from overeating. It also helps to resolve serious health conditions like diabetes. People who have gastroesophageal reflux disease should avoid this procedure, though, because it can worsen the problem.

Gastric Bypass

How It Works: The stomach is divided into two sections. The top part becomes a small pouch the size of a golf ball. It limits the amount of food that can be eaten. The stomach is connected to the middle of the small intestine, and the remaining parts of the stomach and intestinal tract don’t absorb food. This procedure leads to hormonal changes that promote weight loss.

Best For: This procedure is ideal for people with severe diabetes because it cures the condition. It also prevents people from overeating. It can benefit those with reflux disease.

Duodenal Switch and Single-Anastomosis Duodenal Ileal Bypass with Sleeve Gastrectomy (SADI-S)

How It Works: This is a modified duodenal switch procedure. A portion of the stomach is removed to create a smaller one. Next, a large part of the small intestine, or duodenum, is bypassed so that food empties into the last segment of it, resulting in less absorption of calories and nutrients. The new version, called SADI-S, is a less complicated operation and has a lower risk of long-term nutritional deficiencies. The procedure helps to reduce the amount of food a person eats and reduces the absorption of fat. It also results in hormonal changes that reduce appetite.

Best For: People with high BMIs or long-standing diabetes that’s difficult to control.

Is Weight-Loss Surgery for You?

To qualify for bariatric surgery, you must have:

  • A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater
  • A BMI of 35 to 40 plus one or more other conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, or an enlarged liver

A Bariatric Surgeon Answers Your Questions

What’s the most popular bariatric surgery?

The sleeve gastrectomy is our most popular bariatric procedure. It comprises about 90 percent of the surgeries we perform. It has good results and appeals to patients because it only involves operating on the stomach, as opposed to the stomach and intestines.

What’s a multidisciplinary approach to weight loss?

We provide nutritional counseling for three to six months before a patient has surgery. Our registered dietitians work with patients to help them develop better-eating habits. In addition, patients see a mental health professional to be screened for depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Mental health problems must be treated before a patient can have bariatric surgery. We also offer clinical, emotional, and nutritional support group meetings.

What’s an accredited program?

Our bariatric surgery program is accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), a joint venture between the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Bariatric surgery centers must meet certain practice standards in order to be accredited. They also must report their surgical outcomes to the MBSAQIP database.

Learn more about weight loss and bariatric surgery. For log-in information regarding the virtual information sessions, call (888) 724-7123.