It isn’t just the food industry trying to catch your attention with low-fat, low-sugar or other miracle-fix promises. How many people pick up that grocery store checkout magazine with the newest fad diet on the front cover? Come to think of it, almost all our magazines, social media site and online blogs are shouting with confidence that the way to a trim body and perfect life are through the maze of one fad diet to the next. This topic was discussed recently at one of our online support groups on Facebook. The competition over your attention between the food and diet industries makes for a very confusing relationship with how we eat.
A very real and common challenge for postoperative gastric sleeve patients is building muscle. Firstly, this challenge may come with age — muscle tone decreases and as anyone over the age of 40 knows, it becomes more challenging to build muscle. Second, because of excess weight, most patients have not exercised properly in years. This can often mean that muscles have atrophied due to underuse. Lastly, patients will be consuming far less food than they did previously, which makes fewer calories available for burning during vigorous exercise.
While it may seem like a struggle, the gastric sleeve, and bariatric surgery in general, actually offers the opportunity to build muscle more efficiently than if the patient were pursuing a diet and exercise regimen alone.
Health insurance is tricky business, and if you feel like it’s been going up in cost and down in benefits every year, you’re right. For many, health insurance is a maze they’ll never understand, but we’d like to help you navigate those intricacies, especially now, during open enrollment, and as we come to the end of the year with benefits resetting.
Beyond the benefits page that explains what is covered and the costs you should expect to incur, it is important that you understand the exclusions of your policy as well. These are usually tucked away in the fine print. Most of us never even know what’s excluded from our policies. Beyond cosmetic procedures, most dental procedures, and most eye care, bariatric surgery is often excluded as well. So, as you consider your eligibility for bariatric surgery, give your insurance company a quick call to check your benefits, or contact us – our office will be more than happy to assist with verifying and confirming your benefits.
Excess skin is a common, almost unavoidable, part of the post bariatric surgery lifestyle. Sagging or excess skin is caused by one of any number of issues including genetics, the amount of weight lost, age, and the specific procedure being performed. But that stretched skin does not have to be a drag on your life.
It’s GERD awareness week and as part of our dedication to both prevention and proper treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease, we are dedicating this blog post to the symptoms of GERD and how they can vary, beyond just heartburn. Before we start, it is important to understand why GERD occurs. Whether due to a congenital weakness, obesity or other condition, the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) that separates the esophagus from the stomach can weaken, thus allowing acidic juices to flow from the stomach up into the esophagus.
Very interesting research has emerged about sodas and how they affect our bodies. A recent study set out to determine if soda consumption reduced a person’s life expectancy, and if so, was diet soda any better?
The surprising conclusion was that all sodas, even diet sodas that contain no sugar, may have a significant detrimental effect on life expectancy. But if diet soda was created to address, in part, sugar-related excess weight, why would it also be problematic?
The answer is simple.
Dumping syndrome is a somewhat common problem that primarily affects bariatric patients that have undergone gastric bypass surgery. Dumping occurs when food and water pass through the stomach and into the small intestine too quickly, causing nausea, dizziness, vomiting and general discomfort in the patient. Its symptoms are very similar to low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. It is also called rapid gastric emptying.
I began performing robotic-assisted surgical procedures about six years ago. I was initially very skeptical of the robot. Since I was fellowship-trained in minimally invasive surgery, which at that time was primarily laparoscopic surgery, I was very confident in my skill set and the advantages that laparoscopy offered the patient. Laparoscopy is the use of small instruments, through small incisions, in performing operations that would otherwise require a large incision to access the patient’s abdomen. We found, first through procedures such as gallbladder removal, that the small incisions provided less pain, quicker recovery, better cosmetics, and fewer complications that traditional open surgery. It does require certain skills, however, since using long, thin instruments takes away the tactile feel of the surgeon’s hands, forces us to look at a two-dimensional screen instead of directly at organs and tissue, and requires quite a bit of manual dexterity.
I worked at it, however, and became confident; even winning a fun type of competition at one of our national surgical meetings that pitted surgeons against each other in a laparoscopic simulator. So, when robotic surgery started to be introduced to us, the idea of adding expensive, bulky, and technical equipment that was touted to improve our dexterity and skills seemed unnecessary.
I was wrong about robotic surgery.
Despite initial skepticism, my scientific mind required that I at least investigate before discounting this new technology. I became trained on the surgical robot and performed my first procedures shortly thereafter. What I found surprised me: the robot does require skill; it does not supplant skill in the surgeon. With patience and time, the advantages were clear.
Robotic surgery’s primary advantage, to me, was the ability to articulate the tips of instruments in any direction that I needed. Laparoscopic instruments are mostly like dinner tongs – they are straight, long, and they only open and close. Robotic instruments are wristed: whatever my wrists, hands, and fingers do, they do.
The visualization was also superior. Since the robotic camera is three dimensional, I was able to see within the patient’s abdomen with new clarity and depth perception. These, along with other computerized enhancements such as warning systems, tremor control, and infrared vision, made robotic-assisted surgery a clear choice for me.
Robotic surgery does not serve as a crutch for an experienced laparoscopic surgeon, but rather as an augmentation of skills using the best of modern technology.
Most men have been admonished their entire lives…don’t lift too much, don’t push too hard – you’ll get a hernia. While this may be true, and upwards of 25% of all men will develop an inguinal hernia, the diagnosis is not always straightforward.
You’re playing sports, most likely something that involves planting and twisting, like soccer or basketball, and there it is…the dreaded groin pain. It has to be a hernia right? Well, maybe not.
You might think that, as a weight loss surgeon and advocate for healthy eating, I’ve lost my mind saying that fast food is OK after weight loss surgery. It goes counter to everything we’ve learned since we decided to have surgery, right? Not exactly.
To be sure, fast food should not be a regular indulgence…but it doesn’t have to be a complete disaster. A renewed interest in personal health has brought about strides in the right direction as it relates to fast food. Not only are there dozens of new fast food outlets that have truly healthy offerings, but even supermarkets are getting in on the game. Prepared foods are no longer the concern that they once were.