A very important study was published in 2007 which definitively answered this question – yes, it can.
Research shows that weight-loss surgery can improve or resolve health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, joint pain, lipid disorders, reflux and many more co-morbid conditions. Data even shows a reduction in rates of certain cancers.
Generally accepted guidelines from the American Society for Bariatric Surgery and the National Institutes of Health indicate surgery only for those 18 years of age and older.
We accept people into our program by health age – not chronological age. It is all about understanding and managing risk-to-benefit ratios. The risk of surgery in the elderly age group is increased, but the benefits of surgery, in terms of improved overall health and quality of life, are also increased. And, older patients are some of our star patients!
Although there is always a risk with any surgery, bariatric surgery has relatively low surgical risks. Many people are scared of weight-loss surgery. However, this fear is most likely held over from when the procedure were first done in an open fashion. With current laparoscopic techniques, bariatric surgery is safer than having your gallbladder removed – the mortality rate for bariatric surgery is just 0.25 percent, while it is 0.7 percent for gallbladder removal.
Bariatric surgery is generally safe, but that is because we take our time in preparing you for surgery. It’s like running a marathon – you would not just go out for a run, but rather you would prepare for it. Over the course of six months, you will meet various doctors who help prepare you for surgery. This will include your primary care doctor, a cardiologist, a pulmonologist and a psychiatrist. You will also have multiple tests ordered, all in an effort to get your ready for surgery.
The average hospital stay for sleeve and bypass surgery is one-to-two days.
Almost immediately after surgery, we will want you out of bed and walking. This decreases the rate of lung infections. And early walking increases the return of bowel function.
Here at Tulane Medical Center, we have all the necessary equipment and personnel to take care of you. In fact, we take care of many of the bariatric complications from all over the country and even patients that have had their procedure in other countries.
Not all patients have excess skin after surgery, but some do. Those patients who have more muscle mass have less excess skin, and that is why we stress the importance of exercise once the weight starts coming off. If you are left with excess skin that makes you uncomfortable, there are plastic surgery skin procedures that can help with this issue.
The majority of patients will not regain the weight after surgery – however, some do. That is why we try to set you up for success by meeting with a dietitian and physical therapist prior to surgery. Those who can lose weight before surgery are more prone to keep the weight off. However, if you do regain the weight, we have many provisional bariatric surgeries we can offer you here at Tulane Medical Center.
Not all patients require vitamin supplements after bariatric surgery. The Sleeve Gastrectomy has a lower requirement for vitamin support, while a need for supplemented vitamins is high for gastric-by-pass surgery. However, we follow our patients for life, and your bariatric team and primary care doctor will monitor you closely for years to come to ensure no deficiency develops.
If you are an existing patient, you can access our patient handbook.