Chronic Pain Health — 02 July 2012

Bariatric surgery is very effective in treating Type 2 Diabetes, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Bariatric surgery is used to treat morbidly obese people. The surgery reduces the size of the stomach with an implanted medical device (gastric band) or by removing and rerouting  a portion of the stomach. Long-term studies show the procedures can lead to significant long-term loss of weight, recovery from diabetes, improvement in cardiovascular risk factors, and reduce mortality.

Obesity is a major problem. Americans are getting fatter, practically by the year. And the rate of obesity among young people is especially alarming. The American Medical Association agreed to support legislation that would require classes in causes, consequences and prevention of obesity for first through 12th graders.

A recent editorial by the American Medical Association estimates that one in threeU.S. adults is obese. The epidemic is leading to more obesity-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. That physical toll comes at an enormous cost — more than $190 billion a year, according to theInstitute ofMedicine.

So what about bariatric surgery? American News Report spoke with Dr. Matthew Coates, a surgeon inModesto,California who specializes in bariatric surgery as well as general surgery. He sees patients who have been unable to lose weight.

“Bariatric surgery is the most powerful tool available to obtain significant long term weight loss,” says Coates. The goals of the surgery are to improve the quality and quantity of life for the patient by decreasing weight and improving or curing the diseases associated with obesity, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

Dr. Coates cautions that patients understand that bariatric surgery is not a cosmetic procedure. It is serious surgery that addresses a major health concern. For many patients, the main question is how quickly will they lose weight.

But for Dr. Coates and others who treat obesity, what the patient does after surgery is important to his or her long term success. One of the big issues is how the patient stays nourished.

“Depending on the procedure, the dietary requirements are all a little different but in general for a bypass type operation, such as gastric bypass, the patient must commit to life-long vitamin supplementation and monitoring,” said Dr. Coates. “The patients do not have to adhere to a special diet, but the amount they can eat at any one time will be limited.”

There will be rapid weight loss in the first 12-18 months after surgery. For the surgery to have “worked” patients need to commit to the same principles of diet and exercise that all Americans need to do to achieve maintenance of their weight loss.

Dr. Matthew Coates

Dr. Coates is a surgeon at Central California Surgery inModesto.

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