Our Bariatric & General Surgery Blog
Bariatric surgery is the most effective long-term solution for morbid obesity and its positive effects extend far beyond simple weight loss. Many women who are of childbearing age have reduced fertility as a result of being obese. Undergoing bariatric surgery can, in some cases, allow patient to become pregnant after surgery.
Bariatric surgery has developed an inaccurate reputation as the “last resort” for those needing to lose weight. With that being said, the reputation is well-deserved as the term weight loss surgery is, rather unfortunately, used interchangeably with bariatric surgery. And while a bariatric procedure’s most obvious effect is weight loss, the true benefits lie in the improvement or resolution of obesity related diseases such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes and sleep apnea.
You’re going to do it! You’re having weight loss surgery and you are suitably excited. You know that bariatric surgery has been proven to help people lose weight, but you’ve also been cautioned that surgery is not a magic bullet that simply zaps away that excess weight. This is why it is so important for us to discuss patient expectations of bariatric surgery.
Before you read on, take a moment to gather your thoughts and the current expectations you have of your surgeon and the procedure you’ve chosen. You may even wish to write them down and discuss them with your bariatric team to ensure that they are realistic. In the meantime, we will go over a few key points before your consultation.
You’re all set to go. You’ve done your research, found a bariatric surgery practice, had a consultation, and completed all the insurance requirements. Our office just called to advise you that you’ve been approved for surgery! You’ve saved enough to pay your out of pocket fees – everything is perfect…well almost. Now you just have to tell your family.
You may have already told several family members that you were thinking about weight loss surgery. But by their reaction, you might be hesitant to mention it again. Your family loves you, you know they do. But, despite their best intentions, it’s still hard to understand why they would be against something that you know will be so good for you. Something life-changing.
Your alarm goes off and you hit the snooze button. You’re too tired. But you need to get up and go. You lift yourself out of bed after the third alarm. If you don’t get going you’re going to be late for work.
You’re making progress…you’re showered and dressed. All you need now is to bend down and tie your shoes. You take a big breath and down you go. You’ve got to work fast – you can only hold your breath for so long. You take another deep breath, one down and one to go. You’re starting to sweat. You think: “I’ve got to lose weight.”
Hitting a road block while losing weight occurs frequently for all of us and it is no different after bariatric surgery. While the long term goal is for patients to lose approximately 1-3 pounds per week, the first several months will typically yield even more rapid weight loss. At some point this weight loss will slow down or stop entirely – commonly known as a plateau.
Of course, not all pauses on the scale are plateaus. As you begin to exercise more frequently, you will build muscle. Muscle is denser, and therefore heavier, than the same volume of fat. Therefore, during this time, you may not lose any weight (or even gain some) as you replace fat with denser, heavier muscle. As a result, it is important to use other measurements, such as your waistline, as secondary points of reference. Again, do not get discouraged if you are not losing weight as you increase your exercise regimen – this may be perfectly normal. If you are sticking to your dietary plan, continuing to exercise and see no movement in your measurements or weight, mention it at your next appointment.
The team at Winthrop Surgical Associates’ Gastroenterology & GI department, which includes bariatric and general surgery, is proud to have been ranked as one of the best specialty programs in the New York area. This recognition, by the prestigious US News & World Report, highlights the dedication and focus of each of our weight loss surgeons, as well as the efforts of our team of professionals that manage our program before, during and after surgery.
As someone who has recently changed their lifestyle, a bariatric patient will undoubtedly face the very real dilemma of fighting food cravings that didn’t disappear once the surgery was over. Cravings for certain foods and drink that were once part of your daily diet are inevitable. After all, the behaviors, triggers and developed tastes that were with you before surgery are still very much part of you. Only now, they must be looked at through the filter of post-surgery life.
All of us, whether bariatric patients or not, have cravings. As dietary choices from your pre-surgery life are purged – those that contain high amounts of sugar, sodium and saturated fat – your body may not necessarily purge the cravings that desire them. Much like recovering from an addiction, you will face temptation, triggers, setbacks, and relapses. You must fight these urges, and continue to surround yourself with ways to stay on track – the right snacks and meals at the ready, contact with your support group and knowledge that your medical team is always willing to discuss and consult on the challenges you’re facing.
To Our Valued Patients,
Winthrop Surgical Associates is excited to announce that the 120 Mineola Blvd. office of the Minimally lnvasive/Bariatric Surgery Program is moving to a new state-of-the-art facility at 700 Stewart Ave., Suite 200, Garden City. Our surgeons Dr. Collin Brathwaite, Dr. Alexander Barkan, and Dr. Keneth Hall, along with our support staff (nurse practitioners, nurses and front desk staff) will begin offering personalized, expert care there beginning May 31st.
We will continue to provide the latest in Robotic Laparoscopic Bariatric and General Surgeries at Winthrop-University Hospital, although our Nassau County practice will no longer be located across the street from the hospital. Please be aware that if you currently have an appointment scheduled for after May 30, we will look forward to seeing you at the new office location.
Our Mineola Bariatric Surgery Support Groups will also take place at the new location beginning July 2016 on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month at 6pm. Meetings will be led by Liz Schledorn at 700 Stewart Ave. in the Education Room, Level 2, Suite 202. We encourage you to join us to learn more about how to live your best life after surgery and avoid common mistakes.
An important notice to all patients who have had bariatric surgery: we remind all patients to schedule your annual follow-up visit. It is very important that you follow up with our office at least once a year if you have had any surgical procedure that predisposes you to vitamin deficiencies, potential hernias, or even postoperative complications associated with bariatric procedures. We want to ensure that you have the very best and comprehensive care for your lifetime!
Winthrop Surgical Associates
We are very excited to announce that Winthrop-University Hospital has opened an almost 95,000 square foot state-of-the-art research and education facility. As part of the dedication that our hospital and our practice have to the advancement of medicine, this is a huge step forward. Both researchers and patients will benefit from the high-level research that will be performed here.
Our doctors not only provide comprehensive educational support to future generations of surgeons, but we participate in clinical trials that shape the future of bariatrics and surgery in general. We believe that this research center will offer us the tools to further our already robust research capabilities.
With the addition of this important facility, we have taken a step toward the future of medicine and we are truly excited about the possibilities for the future.