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Benefits of Bariatric Surgery Beyond Weight Loss

Woman smiling wearing athletic clothes and holding yoga mat over shoulder and water bottle

With the significant rise in excess weight in the United States and around the world, medications and surgeries to manage obesity have become ever more popular. And for good reason. The effects of excess weight are stunning and can take years off our lives, not to mention leading to a general decline in quality of life. While these interventions are aptly named for the weight loss they provide, many patients don’t think beyond the number on the scale and miss out on the exceptional benefits these medications and procedures can offer. So, let’s discuss some benefits other than weight loss from bariatric surgery and GLP-1 agonist weight loss medications that patients should keep top of mind, even if they aren’t the first thing people think of.

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Obesity and Atrial Fibrillation (Afib)

Paper EKG reading

It’s no secret that excess weight and obesity can lead to severe cardiovascular concerns. Many of the risk factors for heart disease revolve around preventable illnesses associated with excess weight. A few of these include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type two diabetes, and sleep apnea. However, there is a cardiovascular concern that many patients aren’t aware of – an abnormal heart rhythm condition known as atrial fibrillation or Afib. It affects up to 5 million American adults and is growing in prevalence. One of the main risk factors is excess weight, and Afib is even exacerbated by high blood pressure.

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What Should Your Body Look like After Bariatric Surgery?

Woman looking at herself in mirror with hands on hips and smiling

What should your body look like after bariatric surgery? Wow! This question is tricky because we all have different body shapes and sizes…and expectations. Further, our unique psychological, genetic, and physical traits affect our body’s appearance after bariatric surgery. One constant that we can virtually guarantee is that if you follow the appropriate post-operative diet and exercise programs that our office prescribes, you will almost certainly lose a significant amount of excess body weight, making you look and feel much better.

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Avoiding Acid Reflux After Bariatric Surgery

Man experiencing reflux symptoms touching chest

Acid reflux is more than an uncomfortable condition that you have to live with. Instead, it is a testament to how our bodies function and whether we are on the right track. Before bariatric surgery, many patients have moderate to severe acid reflux because of the intra-abdominal pressure placed on their stomachs by excess visceral (belly) fat. This pressure forces stomach juices up through the lower esophageal sphincter and into the esophagus, often leading to the telltale burning sensation. Symptoms range from bad breath and yellow teeth to sore throats, dry cough, and even precancerous cellular development. These concerns become problematic with chronic acid reflux – a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

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What’s Your Ideal Post-surgical Weight?

Woman stepping on scale with curled tape measure lying on floor infront of scale

Bariatric surgery is primarily a disease improvement and resolution procedure, but we always discuss weight loss numbers and ideal weight with our patients. After all, it is called weight loss surgery, and virtually every patient has expectations. Some of these expectations are very lofty, while others are reasonable, and we, as bariatric surgeons, must offer each of our patients a goal or target that makes the most sense for their circumstances. Now, if you have researched bariatric surgery, you’ll know that there are averages associated with each procedure. These are good numbers to understand, but do they ultimately give you the best idea of what results you should expect to achieve? The answer is probably not, and we will talk about why, along with learning more about the body mass index and why its limitations leave much to be desired.

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Wegovy / Zepbound vs. Bariatric Surgery – How to Make the Choice?

Person holding weight loss drug and taking cap off

With the proliferation of weight loss medications, including Wegovy and Zepbound, we have more choices when it comes to losing weight and improving the diseases associated with morbid obesity. However, with this expanded choice, there’s conflicting information and more confusion, and it’s important to teach our patients when each of these therapies makes the most sense. It’s also important to note the differences between the two weight loss-approved GLP-1 medications, Wegovy and Zepbound. So, let’s dive in and find out which therapy is best at every stage of weight loss needs.

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Common Nutritional Deficiencies After Bariatric Surgery

Array of healthy, nutritious food on wooden tray and counter top

One of the most problematic complications we see after bariatric surgery revolves around patients who do not meet their nutritional requirements. Patients lose weight because of a significantly restricted caloric intake, meaning they will be ingesting and using fewer vitamins and minerals. Levels of specific vitamins and minerals are more affected than others. As such, patients must work with their practice to create a supplementation plan based on the procedure performed and the results of their blood panels taken periodically after surgery.

Vitamin supplementation seems like the easiest part of the postoperative bariatric life because it requires nothing more than remembering to take supplements. However, sadly, some patients do not or cannot comply either because of the cost of supplements or because they don’t fully understand how vital supplementation is. As a result, they may experience significant and sometimes permanent side effects from their nutritional deficiency.

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Drinking Alcohol After Your Bariatric Surgery

people at dinner table cheering with wine glasses

Many of us enjoy a drink occasionally. Whether it’s a way to unwind after a long day or part of a social routine with friends or family, it is often concerning when you’re told that drinking has to be stopped entirely for the first six months after your bariatric procedure and that there are restrictions on drinking habits longer-term too.

Let’s go through what your life will look like with alcohol starting from the day of surgery.

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Five Things We Want Every Bariatric Patient to Know Before Surgery

Obese woman looking out into field with arms up over her head

Surgery has grown in popularity, along with the significant rise in morbid obesity in the United States and worldwide. Unfortunately, exercise only works for about 5 to 10% of people who lose a substantial amount of weight (and maintain it) without medical or surgical intervention. Even today, long-term weight loss is not guaranteed with new weight loss medications, for example. As such, we must discuss the five most pressing concepts we want every bariatric surgery patient to understand before surgery. Knowing and living by these things will undoubtedly make your postoperative life more successful.

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When Do You Know a Hernia Is an Emergency?

Man on doctor's table pointing to hernia pain while doctor makes notes

Hernias are exceptionally common, with upwards of 25% of men developing an inguinal or groin hernia over their lives. Of course, only a fraction of these men get the hernia repaired because, for most, it never materializes with pain or discomfort. Similarly, while very few women experience groin hernias, they are more susceptible to femoral hernias, those that appear as bulges in the upper thigh. Both men and women have a risk of umbilical and incisional hernias in the abdomen as well. Obese patients are at a greater risk of hernias in the diaphragm and generally anywhere in the abdomen.

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