Tips for Enjoying Long-Term Success After Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery isn’t a panacea. While it’s well-documented that procedures such as the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy can help people shed large percentages of excess body fat, these operations aren’t a “cure” for obesity. In order to enjoy long-term success, patients who choose this path must be willing to commit to making major and lasting lifestyle changes.

These tips can help those who plan to undergo bariatric surgery count themselves among the 85 percent or so of patients who report lasting success:

• Prepare in advance – This doesn’t just mean following doctor’s pre-surgical advice. It also means understanding exactly what to expect, undergoing counseling and nutritional assistance in advance and generally having a strong grasp on what life will be like after surgery. Patients who are well-prepared are often better able to adjust to the dietary and lifestyle changes that are musts after weight loss surgery.

Follow nutritional advice closely – Since most weight loss procedures call for a dramatic reduction in stomach holding capacity, diet will matter after surgery. It is important to work closely with a nutritionist to ensure the diet selected is one that packs nutrition into every bite.

• Be sure to get physical – Exercise is a key component in helping weight loss surgery patients obtain and maintain a healthy weight. It is important to seek advice from a doctor on when exercise may start after surgery and what type of exercise is deemed suitable. Keep in mind that as weight comes off and fitness levels improve, more vigorous activity will likely be recommended.

• Take advantage of support – The quest to lose weight and keep it off is one that will continue for years after surgery. Be sure to take advantage of any support system available to stay on track with diet and exercise. Some surgeons even offer online support groups to help their former patients years down the road.

Weight loss surgery can produce tremendous results. People who want to make sure the weight stays off, however, need to be committed to lasting change. For more advice on how to enjoy long-term success after surgery, consult with a licensed bariatric surgeon.

Weight Loss Surgery Products Results, But Demands Commitment

Weight loss surgery can produce tremendous results for people who are obese and are seeking ways to address this concern and the potential health problems that go along with it. This option for addressing obesity does, however, demand a commitment to making major lifestyle changes, former patients and health practitioners warn.

Patients who have undergone gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy procedures, for example, report the need to embrace major lifestyle adjustments is very real. Since both procedures involve permanent alteration of the stomach and its capacity to hold food, former patients warn that there is a need to be willing to only eat small meals, to avoid certain foods and to make adjustments as the body begins to change. The payoff for adjusting to necessary changes in lifestyle habits, however, may include such things as:

•    Ability to attain and maintain target weight – When proper lifestyle changes are put into place to support continued weight loss and/or maintenance following bariatric surgery, many people are able to hit their target weight following surgery. Just how much weight will be lost may vary from patient to patient.

•    Ability to reduce obesity-related health concerns – People who already suffer from obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, joint pain, hypertension and high cholesterol often report marked improvements after surgery. In some cases, conditions such as type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea may completely reserve or demonstrate signs of remission.

•    Ability to reduce risks for life-limiting conditions – People who are obese who take steps to address weight are likely to find their personal risks for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers go down as the weight is shed.

•    Ability to enjoy life more – While bariatric surgery does demand a lasting commitment on the part of patients, many who have undergone such procedure report feeling better, looking better and having more energy and endurance to enjoy life.

Weight loss surgery can produce big benefits for patients, but commitment is required. Anyone interested in exploring this option for weight loss is urged to consult with a licensed healthcare provider.

Gastric Bypass: Is It Safe and Effective for Younger Patients

It’s a simple fact that obesity isn’t just a concern for the aging population. It is estimated, in fact, that about a third of all American teenagers are obese. For those who find themselves classified as severely obese, the potential health ramifications are many. Obese teens face a higher risk for developing a long list of medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and some forms of cancer. Addressing obesity while a child is younger is generally recommended, but diet and exercise alone may not be enough.

The reality that diet and exercise may not adequately address a teen’s needs to lose weight has many parents wondering about the benefits surgery may present. Research has shown that gastric bypass procedures can provide teens who are severely obese with the long-term help they need to shed pounds and keep them off. Studies are also showing that this procedure, although rather invasive, is safe to consider when a teen’s health is in jeopardy due to weight.

A recent study added to the body of growing evidence supporting the use of gastric bypass procedures on adolescents who are seriously obese. The study in question followed a group of young patients over the course of several years and ultimately found positive results in regard to weight loss and ability to maintain the loss over the long run. The safety of the procedure was also found to be quite satisfactory.

Teens and parents of teens who are considered seriously obese are urged to explore all safe weight loss options. Losing weight sooner rather than later can help teenagers avoid a lifetime of complications, such as diabetes and heart disease. To find out more about bariatric surgery interventions and their appropriateness in a teen’s case, it is best to speak directly with a qualified surgeon.

Can Bariatric Surgery Address Binge-Eating Concerns?

People who suffer from eating disorders that cause them to put on dramatic amounts of weight may turn to bariatric surgery as a solution. While weight loss surgery can address one facet of a patient’s concerns, many experts agree that more needs to be done to adequately confront eating disorders that may have contributed to obesity in the first place. For example, bariatric surgery by its design may help people resist the urge to binge eat since a smaller stomach capacity may make doing so painful. Surgery, however, will not and cannot on its own address the underlying psychological issues that promote binge-eating behavior.

Since binge-eating and obesity may go hand-in-hand, some weight-loss experts recommend patients with both concerns take a multi-pronged approach. One prong may very well involve the use of bariatric surgery to help patients shed pounds and slim down to a healthier, safer weight. The other, however, must focus on the support necessary to assist patients in confronting the binge-eating behavior, its triggers and methods for overcoming the urge to overeat.

Bariatric surgery on its own can help patients address weight-loss concerns, but it is not a cure all for underlying conditions that promoted weight gain in the first place. With that in mind, it is not entirely out of the question for bariatric surgeons to insist that their patients undergo counseling before surgery. In some cases, practices may have in-house counseling to assist patients in laying the groundwork for long-term success. Post-surgical support groups, counseling and other forms of help may also be available and strongly advised.

Bariatric surgery can help people who are obese lose weight effectively, but it is not a cure for underlying problems. If an eating disorder is at the root of weight-related concerns, it is strongly recommended that patients take a multi-faceted approach. To find out more about eating disorders and weight loss surgery, speak to a qualified healthcare provider.

Gastric Bypass Provides Sustainable Weight Loss: Study

People who are obese and are looking for medical interventions to help them address weight-related concerns will find many options are now available to them. Aside from standard diet and exercise, doctors can now help with medications, nonsurgical procedures and different bariatric surgery techniques. When it comes to sustainable weight loss assistance, however, studies are finding the gastric bypass may offer the biggest benefits.

The gastric bypass is one of the most commonly used bariatric procedures. This surgery enables patients to lose weight and keep it off by taking a two-pronged approach. Much like a sleeve gastrectomy, the first prong involves shrinking the stomach’s holding capacity. This enables people to feel fuller faster, promoting a reduction in food consumption. The second prong involves rerouting a portion of the digestive track to promote reduced calorie absorption. Research has long shown this procedure can have tremendous and lasting benefits to assist with weight loss.

A new study backs up the findings even more over the long-term as opposed to other surgical interventions. To better understand the long-term benefits of weight loss surgery, a multi-part study was conducted. Thousands of patients were included in the study. Some underwent gastric bypasses, others had banding procedures and some had sleeve gastrectomy procedures performed. The researchers ultimately found that gastric bypass patients were able to maintain their weight loss more readily over the course four years than people who underwent different procedures.

Obesity can have ramification that go well beyond appearance. People who are severely overweight are at risk for such health problems as diabetes and heart attacks. Losing weight can dramatically lower the risks for developing life-limiting conditions. To find out more about weight loss options, both surgical and non-surgical, speak with a licensed healthcare provider. Losing weight can dramatically improve health and may even help treat and/or reverse some related medical concerns, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Gastric Balloon Versus Bariatric Surgery

People who are ready to address obesity medically will find a number of options are now available. While some procedures call for surgical intervention, others do not. Doctors are finding, however, that many patients still prefer surgical intervention over less-invasive alternatives like the gastric balloon despite the unique benefits it can provide.

The gastric balloon procedure involves the insertion of a tiny balloon into the stomach using an endoscope. Once in place, the balloon is filled up with a saline solution to enable it to occupy much of the stomach’s space. This, in turn, promotes a sense of feeling fuller faster, much like a sleeve gastrectomy or bypass might. The difference is the balloon is temporary and only remains in place for about six months. That reason is precisely why some patients and their doctors still prefer surgical intervention, especially if obesity levels are severe or co-morbidities have presented.

While the balloon procedure does provide a viable, non-surgical way to jump start weight loss, patients will find the support it provides is fleeting. That means they have roughly six months to alter lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise routines to gain the maximum benefits.

Patients who undergo surgical procedures generally attain lifelong weight loss assistance. These procedures, however, are considered very invasive and demand an ongoing commitment on the part of the patient to produce maximum results. Patients must learn to eat much smaller, healthier meals to maintain weight loss, comfort and nutritional health. They must also be willing to exercise and take part in other activities designed to support their weight loss journeys.

Surgical and nonsurgical weight loss procedures can and do provide ways to help people address obesity-related concerns. To find out more, it is best to consult directly with a healthcare provider. The best procedure to pursue will hinge on specifics unique to an individual. For some people, the less-invasive balloon can be the perfect fit. Surgical intervention though is often best in cases where health is in imminent jeopardy.

New Weight Loss Options Provide Alternatives to Surgery

People who struggle with their weight may not always find that bariatric surgery is the right option for them. Whether they don’t meet the body mass index requirements for procedures like the gastric bypass or it’s a case of wanting to avoid surgery all together, help is still available. Three relatively new procedures are providing viable alternatives to surgery for those who are obese but don’t fit the criteria for more intense medical interventions. The endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, gastric balloon and Aspire procedures are all providing hope and help for those who find surgery isn’t a good fit.

Here is a rundown of the three procedures and the ways in which they help people shed pounds effectively and without surgery:

• Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty – This technique is meant to mimic the sleeve gastrectomy without the need for surgery. It uses an endoscopic suturing device to effectively shrink the size of the stomach. This procedure is available to those who don’t meet the BMI requirements for outright surgery. It works by enabling people to feel fuller faster, much like the surgical gastrectomy.
• Gastric balloon – Also available for people with lower BMIs, this is a temporary measure meant to help kick start weight loss. It involves the placement of a balloon into the stomach to effectively shrink its food holding capacity. The balloon is inserted during a non-surgical procedure and remains in place for about six months.
• Aspire/Assist – This recently approved procedure enables people to lower the amount of calories their bodies absorb. It works by enabling patients to remove about 30 percent of the food from their stomach before it moves into the intestines. Like the balloon procedure, it is not permanent.

People who are concerned about their weight, but are not quite ready for surgery will find that options do exist for them. These three non-surgical alternatives may provide the help needed. To find out more, speak with a qualified bariatric surgeon.

Gastric Bypass and Type 2 Diabetes

Most people are aware that obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes. Shedding pounds can dramatically lower the risk for this condition arising. What many people may not realize is that losing weight may also help those who have developed weight-related diabetes better manage their condition. For those who undergo gastric bypass surgery, the evidence is mounting that this action may not only assist in controlling blood sugar levels it could also send the disease into remission.

One of the latest studies into this possible link between gastric bypass surgery and improve insulin sensitivity produced very positive results. The study followed nearly 50 obese women before and at 2 and 5 years out from gastric bypass surgery. Researchers not only noted dramatic loss of excess weight, after two years the patients’ insulin sensitivity rose markedly, as well. The improvements were noted at the five-year mark.

The study is just one of many that have been performed in recent years to gauge the impacts bypass can have on type 2 diabetes. The large body of evidence continues to grow that shows this procedure is an effective treatment when employed within a few years of diagnosis. Remission reports are also brisk, but patients need to be aware that this does not occur in every case.

The gastric bypass is one of the most commonly performed types of weight loss surgery. It involves the surgical shrinking of the stomach’s holding capacity and a rerouting of the digestive system to lower calorie absorption. Generally reserved for those considered morbidly obese, the procedure is gaining ground as beneficial for those with slightly lower body mass indexes who have presented with obesity-related health conditions.

People who are obese are urged to talk to their doctors about all their weight loss options. Losing weight can lower risks for a long list of serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes.

Tips For Covering the Costs of Gastric Band Surgery

Making the decision to address obesity head on is a great one that can have benefits that ripple throughout life. Not only does shedding pounds help people feel better about themselves, it can improve health while lowering the risks for a long list of serious medical conditions. Footing the bill for gastric band surgery, however, can sometimes be a tricky prospect even when medical insurance is available and there’s a genuine need to have surgery performed to address obesity and safeguard health.

There are some things patients can do to help better position themselves to handle the costs so they can gain the benefits of a procedure like the gastric band. Here are a few tips that may help:

• Know the costs – Get a complete estimate from the bariatric surgeon who will be performing the procedure. The costs range from about $12,500 to $26,000, depending on region, hospital and other factors. The total bottom line generally includes such necessities as access to counselors, medication, supplements and other items.
• Work with doctors and insurance companies – If there is a genuine medical need to address weight, many insurance companies will cover most of the costs associated with lap band surgery. To facilitate this, take time to get appropriate referrals and recommendations. Talk with the insurance company to find out exactly what is covered and what is not. If a second opinion is required, go in for it.
• Consider financing – Finance companies will often help patients cover some or all of the costs associated with surgery. Many bariatric surgeons offer their patients access to such companies. Be sure to ask about this option if insurance coverage isn’t likely.

Lap band surgery can help people get control of their weight while improving their overall health. Losing weight can reduce the risks for some types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other serious concerns. If this surgery is deemed necessary, there are ways to make it happen even if insurance isn’t readily available. Be sure to talk with a reputable surgeon for advice on covering the costs.

Using Your FSA to Pay for Weight Loss Surgery

A flexible spending account (FSA) is a tax-exempt financial account that can be set up through your employer to help cover the cost of medical co-lays, prescriptions and medical procedures. If your employer offers a flexible spending plan, you can set aside up to $2,500 of pretax income to use toward medical, dental and vision expenses.

Does FSA cover weight loss surgery?
Your health FSA will cover a wide variety of eligible expenses, depending on the exact nature of your plan. Under the standard health FSA, bariatric surgery such as Lap-Band and gastric bypass are covered, assuming you have appropriate documentation by a physician recommending the surgery as treatment for a medical condition.

Changes coming to FSA in 2014
Over the years, FSA rules and guidelines have changed, and 2014 is no exception. The most significant change to the FSA guidelines effective in 2014 is clarification to the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule.

Under previous guidelines, any remaining funds in your FSA account could not be rolled over to the next year — so what wasn’t used during the coverage year was lost. In 2008, a modification was made to this rule allowing employers to offer a “grace” period that runs through March 15 of the following year.

Under the new rule, if your employer does not currently offer a grace period, you can carry up to $500 of unused funds with you into the next year. If your employer has filed necessary paperwork and amendments, you may apply up to $500 remaining funds from 2013 to the 2014 coverage year. That carryover amount does not count against your $2,500 limit for 2014. Essentially, you have an extra $500 to use in 2014.

Covering the cost of weight loss surgery
The Nicholson Clinic accepts all major insurance plans.  Bariatric procedures are typically covered by insurance companies, providing the patient meets insurance requirements. These requirements are often a body mass index (BMI) of 35 with underlying health conditions, or a BMI of 40+ with no underlying health conditions.  If your insurance covers the cost of your weight loss surgery, you will be responsible for deductibles and co-pays.

Providing your surgery is considered medically necessary, you may apply health FSA funds to your out-of-pocket costs, making bariatric surgery even more affordable.

We are committed to helping every patient get the weight loss surgery they need — no exceptions. We offer flexible payment plans with monthly payments as low as $236.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, but are concerned about the cost, we have patient care advocates on staff to help you manage the process, whether you use insurance or choose to pay for the surgery yourself.  

The statements above are general rules regarding flexible spending accounts. Talk to your employer to determine whether or not bariatric surgery is considered an eligible expense under your flexible spending plan.