At Prisma Health Weight Management Center, we have invested in a variety of programs and services to help individuals overcome obesity.
Obesity is a life-threatening disease that currently affects 25 percent of the United States population, and South Carolina has some of the highest obesity levels in the country for children and adults. The causes of obesity are multiple and complex, and not simply a result of overeating or lack of willpower. Research has shown that in many cases a significant, underlying cause of severe obesity is genetic.
Studies have demonstrated that once the problem is established, dieting and exercise programs have a limited ability to provide effective long-term relief. However, when the disease of severe obesity is treated with an experienced surgeon and professional, multidisciplinary team, it’s possible for the patient to achieve long-term weight loss and relief from obesity-related conditions.
Obesity causes the development of a number of serious diseases which take the lives of more than 300,000 Americans every year. These other diseases are referred to as comorbid diseases. Fortunately, significant weight loss can often lead to the complete resolution of comorbid diseases in severely obese patients.
It is important to understand that not all obesity is the same. Physicians use a calculation called a body mass index (BMI) to classify degrees of obesity and to define healthy weight.
These are the main comorbid diseases that affect the quality of and ultimately shorten the lives of the severely obese:
Every year an estimated $150-170 billion is spent on the medical cost of obesity. When comparing costs of losing weight with dieting versus bariatric surgery, dieting is estimated to cost 8-10 times more per pounds lost than surgery. The table below shows the annual cost of some of the more popular diets, along with the percentage of patients completing the diet in one year.
As you can see, the weight lost is extremely modest and only about half the patients are able to complete one year of dieting at a cost that is quite high.
Benefits of weight loss surgery
When combined with a comprehensive treatment plan, bariatric surgery has been shown to help improve or resolve many obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Frequently, people who lose weight find themselves taking fewer and fewer medications to treat their obesity-related conditions. With fewer social boundaries and fewer restrictions to their daily activities, patients improve their self-esteem, longevity and overall health.
Risks of weight loss surgery
Over the years bariatric surgery has progressively become safer, and outcomes continue to improve due to the implementation of Comprehensive Center criteria that is focused on quality of care provided to the patients.
At Prisma Health Weight Management Center, we are proud to provide comprehensive care. We report our outcomes data to a national registry to ensure better patient care.
Bariatric surgery has the same or even fewer risks (bleeding, infection, accidental injury to intra-abdominal organs and even death) than any other major abdominal operation. Severely obese patients are considered to be at increased risk for other complications such as blood clot formation in the lower extremities and lungs. Even so, the percentage of serious events following bariatric surgery was less than two percent.
Malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies and anemia are possible later complications if patients do not comply with their prescribed vitamins and medications. In some cases, if patients do not address this problem promptly, diseases may occur along with permanent damage to the nervous system. Other late problems include strictures (narrowing of the sites where the intestine is joined) and hernias (part of an organ bulging through a weak area of muscle).
Bariatric surgery is not for everyone. If you wish to go down this path you must be ready to make major lifestyle changes and be compliant with all recommendations and follow up. A partnership must develop between you, your surgeon and your primary care physician in order to enjoy the success you deserve.
March 25, 2020