Health News Now: Fighting weight loss with surgery
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - When diet and exercise aren't quite enough to lose weight, what's next? Some turn to medications, but what do you do if that doesn't work? Experts at Doctors Hospital say that might be when you should consider bariatric surgery.
Dr. Francisco Jacome is a bariatric surgeon with Doctors and he says patients also know when they are ready to move into this next step.
“You are ready to have surgery when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Always thinking about the positive change mixed with the negative change helps them make a final decision,” he says.
The decision is not an easy one though, he also says that it is as much a psychological one as it is a physical one.
“Probably the mental-psychological support is one of the biggest ones. I believe that has a lot of different components," he says. "We have a psychologist playing a role, a support group playing a role, you also need to have a moderator within a support group.”
Dr. Jacome says having correct information is critical in everything, especially in the case of bariatric surgery. He says he tells his patients to do their own research, but to allow him to explain sometimes outlandish claims made online and other places.
“You’re going to find information whether you want it or not," Jacome says. "Because it came across on Facebook, because you sign up for a support group, because you Google it, or because someone offered it to you without asking. I always ask my patients to clarify it for you.”
A common misconception about bariatric surgeries, according to Dr. Jacome, is the lack of safety with the procedures. He says bariatric surgeries used to be riskier, but now they're one of the safest procedures preformed.
“At the very beginning we didn’t have laparoscopic instruments, so having a patient that carries a tremendous excess weight, a cut on the abdomen is just a setup for complications,” he says.
One of Dr. Jacome's patients, Jessica McDonald, says she struggled with her weight for years. Trying everything from the quick fixes, to things that are more intricate.
“I had a personal trainer who I’m friends with, and we would have our one-on-one meetings where I would go in and we’d go over my food, measure me, weigh me, and I’ve lost like four pounds," she says.
Following setback after setback, she says bariatric surgery never came to mind. It wasn't until she got her husband's insurance open enrollment information that she got the idea.
After that, she decided to schedule an appointment with Doctors Hospital Bariatric Surgery and Dr. Jacome.
As with every patient, Jesscia had to go to classes with Dr. Jacome and his team to educate them on the decision they are about to make.
Following the first class, Jessica says she knew she was ready for this change to happen, but there was another hurdle; her insurance. She says her insurance required her to wait six months before she could get the procedure.
“At first I was frustrated, because I was like I want to do this now. I think waiting the six months though educated me more,” she says.
Once her six months were up Jessica eventually had a sleeve gastrectomy, also known as a gastric sleeve. After the surgery she says she was on a liquid diet for a few days, but that was the least of her worries.
“I was struggling with I need to get out of this house, I need to do things. So I went back to the gym nine days post-op” she says.
She says her family was the ones to help her get through it all.
“It’s definitely a mental battle, you definitely need people who are going to help you and encourage you," she says. "You cannot live in a house where everyone is eating unhealthy, I mean everybody needs to be on board with it. Everybody needs to know that you’re struggling.”
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