Most people are probably aware by now that obesity constitutes an epidemic health problem in the US and around the world—particularly the 11 million Americans who are considered “morbidly obese,” meaning they weigh from 80 to 100 pounds more than average.
For many of the most severely affected, weight-loss surgery represents a ray of hope for turning around their lives, despite the inevitable risks involved in any surgery, the expense, the recovery time, and the long-term physical effects of surgery.
Modern medical technology is doing a lot to reduce these risks and inconveniences, however, through the development of laparoscopic and robotic surgical procedures which significantly lessen the danger and difficulty of several kinds of bariatric surgery.
Advanced Techniques for Weight Loss Surgery Available in Houston Area
Texas Laparoscopic Consultants of Houston, TX, for instance, recently introduced a single-incision form of weight-loss surgery that can be applied to several of the leading surgical options—REALIZE Band, LAP-BAND adjustable gastric banding, and gastric sleeve surgeries. All can be performed now without any major scarring, through one tiny (2-5 cm) incision, as opposed to the multiple incisions older versions of laparoscopic surgery involved.
Texas Laparoscopic Consultants in Houston, TX
Dr. Sherman Yu and Dr. Terry Scarborough of Texas Laparoscopic were the first bariatric surgery practitioners in the Houston area to offer this new approach and by August 2009 had already performed more than 100 operations with it. As they note, “It is part of our standard technique for bands and sleeves…often other surgeons are either just learning the basic technique, while we have advanced on to the next phase of minimally invasive surgery.”
The basic mechanism of both band (LAP-BAND and REALIZE) and sleeve (i.e., vertical gastric sleeve) procedures is to surgically restrict the size of the patient’s stomach. A smaller stomach fills up quickly and the patient feels full after eating much less food.
Some of the procedures are adjustable and reversible, whereas others, like the gastric sleeve procedure, are permanent. The latter procedure involves actually removing up to 70% of the overweight person’s stomach, leaving a much smaller, tube-shaped stomach with limited food capacity. This procedure can lead to even more rapid weight loss than the popular gastric banding approaches.
Any severely overweight person considering a surgical solution to their health problems needs to learn as much as possible about the risks, demands, and advantages of the various options available to them.
A decision about which procedure will be most effective and most sustainable should be made only after consultation with experienced health care providers and counselors. And of course anyone looking at surgery will want to make sure that the physician and clinic they choose is the very best available. Look for a practice that has been around for a while and has a strong track record in the particular procedure you seek.
The American Society of Bariatric Surgery has made some of this research easier by designating the top practitioners and clinics as “Centers of Excellence”—there are about 300 in the US today, including Dr. Yu and Dr. Scarborough’s Texas Laparoscopic Consultants.