Safer Surgical Weight Loss

(Ivanhoe News 2000) — Can’t lose weight? You’re not alone! Experts say obesity is at an all time high. Nearly 55 percent of Americans are overweight. While surgery is not the best option for everyone, thousands undergo stomach-reducing surgery. Now doctors say a new technique can help without all the complications of earlier surgeries.

Kathie is a fraction of the woman she used to be. This mother of two used to weigh 332 pounds.

“I had tried every diet there ever was. I had high blood pressure; I had problems with my ankles, my knees. I work as a nurse, and I was to the point where by the time my 12-hour shift was over, I would go home, and I couldn’t walk. My feet were so sore,” says Kathie. She underwent a new surgical procedure that not only changed her life but saved it, too.

Kathie had a new type of gastric bypass surgery called the Micro-Pouch. Doctors James Sapala and Michael Wood say, like the traditional procedure, the stomach is reduced to the size of a grape. With the new procedure, it is unlikely the stomach will expand.

Michael Wood, M.D., of the St. John Detroit Riverview Hospital in Michigan says, “The Micro-Pouch works by limiting the amount of food that can be taken in at one time and also is a restriction on how fast they can take it in.”

Patients lose an average of 11 pounds a month. Around 30 percent of traditional procedures must be re-done because of stretching and tears to the stomach. Doctors claim that doesn’t happen with the Micro-Pouch (because it’s so small).

James Sapala, M.D., a bariatric surgeon at St. John Detroit Riverview Hospital says, “We redesigned the operation, and we found that with the small pouch our re-do rate dropped from 30 percent to 35 percent to zero.”

Kathie was the first patient to have the Micro-Pouch done. She says, “It’s a completely different life. My only regret is that I didn’t have surgery 10 years before I did.”

By waiting, she was able to get it done with fewer risks. Kathie still eats a lot of the same foods she used to eat. However, a healthy lifestyle is now a lifelong process.

Patients who have the Micro-Pouch procedure must follow a diet and behavior modification program and be monitored for life. Also, some women may have to have additional surgery to remove excess skin. The procedure is only for people who are 100 pounds overweight or more.

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