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Weight Loss for the Morbidly Obese

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Obesity is a condition of having too much body fat, as indicated by a BMI greater than 30. Morbid obesity, also known as “clinically severe obesity,” is indicated by a BMI of 40 or greater, or by a BMI of 35 or greater with an obesity-related health condition. A person more than 100 lbs. overweight is also considered morbidly obese.

That severe obesity has serious health consequence has been firmly established by medical science. However, weight loss for morbidly obese patients can be a challenge, to say the least. At West Medical, we offer our patients safe, effective, morbidly obese weight loss options.

What Makes Weight Loss for Morbidly Obese Patients So Challenging?

Many severely obese men and women have struggled with their weight for years, only to feel they are trapped in a weight gain cycle. After trying one diet after another, all too often they see their weight continue to increase, year after year.

As reported by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) stated more than a decade ago that individuals with severe obesity are resistant to maintaining weight loss through conventional therapies, such as consuming fewer calories and exercising more. NIH recognized bariatric surgery as the only effective treatment option to achieve long-term weight loss for morbidly obese patients.

Obesity and Dieting

When morbidly obese people attempt to lose weight through dieting (consuming fewer calories), hormonal changes can cause energy expenditure (calories burned) to be reduced to lower, unbalanced levels. This change in energy expenditure often leads to regaining the weight one has lost.

On the other hand, hormonal changes after bariatric surgery maintain or enhance energy expenditure. Unlike weight loss through dieting, surgical weight loss creates the right energy balance for a better chance of long-term success.

Significant weight loss often results in increased physical activity, which improves the body’s ability to burn fat. Massive weight loss after bariatric surgery also reduces insulin and cortisol levels and improves other factors that reduce the uptake and storage fat in the body.

Morbidly Obese Weight Loss Options

According to ASMBS, the most effective treatment for morbid obesity is bariatric surgery, including open and laparoscopic procedures. Our skilled bariatric surgeons at West Medical perform a range of surgical procedures, including gastric bypass, LAP-BAND® surgery, and gastric sleeve surgery to treat the morbidly obese.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

The gastric bypass works through both restriction and malabsorption. It creates a smaller stomach to limit the amount of food the patient can eat. It also reroutes the small intestine to cause fewer calories and nutrients to be absorbed by the body.

Gastric bypass surgery produces more weight loss than any other bariatric surgery. It ranks among the top weight loss options for morbidly obese patients.

This procedure is performed in two parts. The surgeon creates a small stomach pouch by dividing off the top portion of the stomach. Then the first portion of the small intestine is divided in two.

The bottom end is connected with the newly created stomach pouch. The top end is connected to the small intestine further down so that enzymes and stomach acids from the portion of the stomach that was bypassed can mix with the patient’s food. In addition to restricting food intake and limiting absorption, this technique also produces hormonal changes that promote satiety, suppress hunger, and help reverse Type II diabetes.

Learn more about gastric bypass »

LAP-BAND Surgery

LAP-BAND surgery is also called gastric banding. In this laparoscopic procedure, your OC or Los Angeles LAP-BAND surgeon places a silicone band around the upper portion of the stomach to create a small pouch. When this pouch fills with food, the brain receives signals that make the patient feel full and satisfied.

The LAP-BAND works by restricting the capacity of the stomach to hold food, and by slowing the passage of food to the intestine. Patients who undergo this procedure feel full sooner and stay full longer. This leads to consumption of fewer calories and weight loss at a typical rate of one to three pounds per week during the year following surgery.

Learn more about LAP-BAND »

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Sleeve gastrectomy (also known as gastric sleeve surgery) is a popular procedure with several advantages for morbidly obese patients. It is performed laparoscopically for a faster, easier recovery. This weight loss procedure works in two ways – it restricts the capacity of the stomach to hold food, and it reduces production of hormones that cause hunger.

The gastric sleeve technique uses small incisions through which a large section of the stomach (the part that produces the hunger hormones that increase appetite) is portioned off with staples. The remaining new stomach has approximately 90 percent less capacity than the original stomach size. As a result, the patient eats much smaller portions and begins to shed unwanted pounds at a fast rate.

This procedure does not involve rerouting of the intestinal tract and does not require implantation of a foreign device. It does not have the added issue of malabsorption of nutrients or vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Gastric sleeve surgery results in more weight loss and requires less long-term maintenance than adjustable gastric banding (LAP-BAND surgery).

Learn more about gastric sleeve »

Health Benefits of Massive Weight Loss for Morbidly Obese People

Studies have shown that massive weight loss associated with bariatric surgery can produce significant improvement or resolution of diseases caused or worsened by severe obesity (co-morbidities). These co-morbidities include:

  • Type II diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Cholesterol abnormalities
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Urinary stress incontinence
  • Venous stasis (slow blood flow in the veins)

ASMBS reports that large body of recent scientific evidence shows remission of Type II diabetes after bariatric surgery. In a review of 621 studies involving 135,247 patients, researchers found that bariatric surgery causes improvement in diabetes in more than 85 percent of patients and remission in 78 percent.

Morbidly obese men and women do not have to struggle with this serious health condition and its impact on quality of life. Our knowledgeable bariatric surgeons at West Medical can offer effective weight loss options for patients seeking an effective, long-term solution. Schedule a consultation with us for a professional assessment of your condition and advice about the most appropriate bariatric surgery or nonsurgical weight loss treatment for you.

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