Gastric Bypass Surgery: Pros and Cons

wls-pros-and-consI found the following story by a local TV station in Tulsa, OK. I thought it was more balanced than most, so I wanted to share it here.

They mention the incredible benefits of weight loss surgery, and then spend a good bit of the segment with a man who’s had some significant problems as a result.

The man’s name is Micah, and he admits that the problems he has are partially his fault. He forgets to eat, and I am guessing he’s not been super faithful with his vitamins. He’s had spells where he feels drunk and has even passed out a few times.

To me, this does not make gastric bypass surgery itself either inherently good or evil. The point is that it will affect everyone differently. I do, however, like what his wife says: you will most likely have some kind of side effect from this surgery. Some side effects can be avoided if you follow the rules, some unfortunately can’t.

Only you can decide if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Here is a link to the original story: Gastric Bypass Surgery: Pros and Cons

Gastric bypass surgery is growing more popular every year as America’s obesity epidemic tips the scales. Even the elderly, and people with health problems are turning to this surgical solution to obesity.

It is a surgery that saves lives. But some also warn there can be life-changing drawbacks.

“These were 26 – and I wear a size 8 now,” said Leslie Blunt as she proudly showed off the pants she will never wear again thanks to gastric bypass surgery. She has lost 140 pounds. “It works. It does. You live a healthier life,” she added.

Micah Anderson chose gastric bypass surgery when his weight ballooned to 500 pounds. “Lost little over 200 pounds – easy,” he told 2News anchor Karen Larsen. “I’m happy with myself. More confidence.”

While gastric bypass is known for bringing on drastic weight loss, what many do not realize are specific changes it may cause for an individual, along with health benefits.

“A lot of this junk food they were eating before – their taste has disappeared they don’t want it anymore,” according to Dr. Luis Gorospe, gastric bypass surgeon at Bailey Medical Center in Owasso. Both Anderson and Blunt went to Dr. Gorospe for surgery. His patients come from surrounding states, drawn by his surgery success rate, the promise of dramatic weight loss and the immediate health benefits of gastric bypass.

“If they have diabetes – 70 percent of these patients wake up with normal blood sugar and will not require medications – forever,” Dr. Gorospe said.

Studies show gastric bypass may improve or even eliminate such health problems as:

-type 2 diabetes
-high blood pressure
-high cholesterol
-sleep apnea

Leslie Blunt says she is living proof, “I don’t have high blood pressure. I don’t have diabetes. I am pill free.”

However, Micah Anderson tells a different story. “I’ll vomit maybe not every week – but if something doesn’t agree it does come right back up.”

When surgeons create a tiny new stomach for patients, vomiting is a common problem when patients eat too much, too fast – until they get used to their new, smaller stomach. Micah says he expected that – but then he started fainting – once behind the wheel of his car.

Anderson’s wife Katie said, “The passing out has happened four times. Spells where he could potentially pass out… weekly!”

Frightened by the potential danger such episodes represented, the Andersons began researching online and discovered other gastric bypass patients having such problems.

“Describing the same kind of drunk-like symptoms, incoherent, can’t talk, slurring the speech. and people were experiencing the same things,” Katie added.

The Andersons say they went to numerous doctors and nutritionists, trying to find a physician who was experienced with gastric surgery side effects. After trial and error, they say they have finally found the right doctor to care for Micah. As a result, Micah now follows a diet carefully crafted to meet his personal needs. He eats every two hours, consumes plenty of protein and takes vitamins.

“For me its lack of eating. I forget to eat and that’s what causes my issues. It’s partially my fault as much as it is the surgery,” Micah said. “If I don’t follow the rules like they tell you – you do have issues.”

Doctor Gorospe agreed. He said healthy eating – the same issue obese patients struggle with before gastric bypass – is more important than ever after surgery. “If you follow the rules, this surgery will be successful,” Dr. Gorospe said.

Because some patients do encounter issues following surgery, and with their new lifestyle, Doctor Gorospe offers monthly support groups. “I make it a point of being there,” he said. “I want to be available to my patients.” The meetings offer patients an opportunity to share their stories and talk with Dr. Gorospe.

Micah did attend the monthly meetings. However, some of his problems did not occur until several years following the procedure. As a result of his struggle, the Anderson’s suggest to those considering gastric bypass surgery: do plenty of research, know the rules they will have to live by, and read up on potential side effects.

“There is a list and, by golly, one of those things on the list will affect you,” Katie Anderson said. “They just need to tell you flat out – you are trading one set of issues for another set of issues.”

However, when asked if he would have the surgery again, Micah’s answer is, “Unfortunately, yes.” He went on to say he is pleased with his more than 200 pound weight loss. His joints ache less when he gets out of bed in the morning, and it is easier to be active.

Leslie Blunt agrees. Now, this svelte hair stylist says work is easy. No more suffering from carrying too much weight while being on her feet each day. Plus, she loves buying clothes with her new look and the fact that she is setting a good example for her young children by living a healthier lifestyle.

In fact, Leslie says gastric bypass surgery is the best thing she ever did for herself. “Yes! I would do it over and over and over again! I never want to be that way again.”

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