About five to 10 million Americans suffer from morbid obesity. In medical terms, the word “morbid” means causing disease or injury. Generally, patients who weigh twice their healthy body weight or are at least 100 pounds above healthy body weight are considered to have morbid obesity. This level of obesity is morbid because it is linked with progressive, serious diseases. Morbid obesity is a major contributor to diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, respiratory problems, gallstones, certain types of cancer, depression, and other serious disorders. Once this level of obesity is reached, diets and exercise have only a limited ability to provide long-term weight loss. Weight loss surgery for our Los Angeles and Orange County patients who are obese is the only method that has resulted in long-term maintenance of weight loss, as well as a dramatic reduction in the associated diseases.
It is important to note that it is possible for those with morbid obesity to remain healthy. It is also important that you consult your family physician before considering bariatric surgery because not everyone who is morbidly obese is a surgical candidate. Contact us about morbid obesity surgery in Arcadia today, and our surgeons will help you determine if the procedure is right for you.
A good candidate for weight loss surgery:
- meets minimum weight requirements
- has a clear understanding of the effects of the procedure
- understands the risks and benefits of the operation
- is not drug or alcohol dependent
- has thoroughly researched the topic and, ideally, has attended informational seminars prior to committing to surgery
Minimum Weight Requirements
A person considering weight loss surgery must meet minimum weight requirements. We follow the National Institutes of Health recommendations*, which take into account the height to weight ratio known as Body mass index (BMI):
Body mass index = weight in kg divided by the height in meters squared.
You are a candidate for weight loss surgery if you have a BMI of at least (35) and have one or more associated serious medical conditions, or if you have a BMI of (40) with or without an associated medical condition.
Our calculator will then run a simple formula to determine if your body mass index (combined with any of the medical conditions you are experiencing) qualifies you for the weight loss surgery procedure. This process is anonymous and instant. If you live in Los Angeles or Orange County and would like to find out more, contact us about morbid obesity and weight loss surgery in Arcadia.
Making the Choice
A person should not commit to weight loss surgery without being well informed. There are a number of different operations in use today for the treatment of clinically severe or morbid obesity. The variations are designed to limit food intake and/or cause malabsorption.
Gastric bypass was introduced in 1966 for the treatment of morbid obesity. It was patterned after a partial gastric (stomach) resection used to treat duodenal ulcers. One of the side effects of that operation (Billroth II Gastrectomy) was low body weight. This side effect can obviously be desirable in the obese. Other less desirable side effects also commonly occur. Some of these are related to the bypass of the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) where most of the absorption of iron and calcium normally takes place. Iron deficiency is common after any operation that bypasses the duodenum. This may cause low blood counts or anemia. It is more likely when chronic blood loss is present, such as in women with heavy menstrual flows. This anemia can usually be treated effectively with iron supplements; however, it can require restoration of duodenal function.
Metabolic bone density loss (osteoporosis) is common in women after menopause. This may appear earlier in life or be more severe after bypass of the duodenum.
The current procedure of Roux-en-Y weight loss surgery for our Los Angeles and Orange County patients is preferred by California Bariatric and General Surgery Associates, as it does bypass most of the stomach and duodenum. Access to this important area by radiographic or endoscopic means becomes much more difficult. Gastric bypass is technically reversible, although the procedure is difficult and holds the inherent risks of reoperative abdominal surgery.
Many surgeons now perform gastric bypass by dividing the stomach. This has decreased the incidence of developing a communication between the stomach and the gastric pouch. Unfortunately, it increases the risk of leak and peritonitis (infection and inflammation within the abdominal cavity). If gastric and intestinal fluids leak into the abdominal cavity, reoperation may be life threatening.
Weight loss surgery is a major operation. A list of most of the possible complications is provided below. If you would like more information about morbid obesity surgery from our Arcadia facilities, contact the California Bariatric and General Surgery Associates today.
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Is the Operation Safe?
The Roux-en-Y weight loss surgery has been studied for approximately 20 years. Early complications are directly related to the operative procedure. These include but are not limited to infection, bleeding, and intestinal leakage. In all reported series, the long-term risks of morbid obesity far outweigh the risks of the surgery.
Is the Operation Effective?
Weight loss using conservative measures (diet, exercise, drugs, behavior modification, etc.) fail 95 to 97 percent of the time. The medical literature overwhelmingly supports weight loss surgery as the only effective treatment that stands the test of time. Data for weight loss are reported as excess weight loss. This is reported as a percentage of the excess weight that is lost. Weight loss following surgery for morbid obesity varies, depending on many factors, including the patient’s age, initial weight, ability to exercise, and the type of operation. The average excess weight loss following a Roux-en-Y morbid obesity surgery at our Arcadia offices is 60 to 70 percent. Weight loss reaches a peak 12 to 18 months following surgery. After two years, it is not unusual to gain 10 to 15 pounds and then stabilize.
Absolute weight loss is not as important as quality of life. Weight loss surgery can cure or control many of the serious diseases that accompany morbid obesity. Most diabetic patients improve dramatically, many of them not requiring medication after morbid obesity surgery. High blood pressure resolves in over 50 percent of patients. Unfortunately, this resolution may not be permanent and hypertension may recur later in life. Sleep apnea improves or disappears, often early in the weight loss period. The same may happen with urinary incontinence, acid reflux, or menstrual problems. Swelling of the legs and joint pain often improve. The changes in cholesterol and other blood lipids may reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Many infertile women are able to conceive and have safer pregnancies. To find out if you would be a good candidate for weight loss surgery in the Los Angeles and Orange County area, contact the California Bariatric and General Surgery Associates today.