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July 2010 | 0 Comments | Print

When is surgery an option for weight loss?

With Lisa Martin-Hawver, MD, F.A.C.S., director of bariatric surgery with The Christ Hospital

Weight loss surgery is considered a major surgery. Its growing use to treat morbid obesity is the result of three factors:

  • Our knowledge of the significant health risks of morbid obesity
  • The relatively low risk and complications of the procedures versus not having surgery
  • The ineffectiveness of non-surgical approaches to produce sustained weight loss

Although most patients enjoy an improvement in obesity-related health conditions (such as mobility, self-image and self-esteem) after the successful results of weight loss surgery, these results should not be the overriding motivation for having the procedure. The commitment needs to be to live a better, healthier and longer life.

Exploring the options

As one of only a few centers in the Greater Cincinnati area that is a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, the Christ Hospital will ensure you receive the quality service you deserve from a caring and compassionate team. The Surgical Weight Loss Center team consists of experienced surgeons, coordinators, dietitians, exercise physiologists, psychiatrists and nurses. They take pride in their strong outcomes and a variety of weight loss options even for high-risk and complicated procedures.

Surgical weight loss options being performed at The Christ Hospital include:

Restrictive Weight Loss Surgerywork by making you feel full with far less food. Since you may  full more quickly, your total intake of calories is lower, which may in weight loss.  An example is the adjustable Gastric Banding (Lap-Band®, or Realize Band®),  the only minimally invasive adjustable surgical treatment for morbid obesity in the United States. It is an inflatable silicone band that is fastened around the upper stomach to  create a new, tiny stomach pouch that limits and controls the amount of food eaten. As a result, the patient may experience an earlier sense of fullness and may be satisfied with smaller amounts of food, which results in weight loss.

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery is a surgery that permanently reduces the size of the stomach. During gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon removes approximately 60 to 80 percent of the stomach along the greater curvature, leaving only a small tube, or “sleeve,” for the new stomach pouch that extends from the natural stomach opening to the natural stomach outlet (pyloric valve). The procedure helps to limit eating by reducing the overall size of the stomach and control hunger by removing the part of the stomach that produces the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin. The cutaway part of the stomach is removed from the body and not left in place as with gastric bypass surgery, therefore the stomach reduction is permanent and not reversible. It promotes weight loss by limiting food intake and lessening the sensation of hunger, and it does not involve intestinal rerouting or food malabsorption.

Mixed Weight Loss Surgerycombines elements of malabsorptive and restrictive procedures to help make you feel full more quickly and reduce the number of calories your body is able to utilize from the food you eat. This can take place as an open or a laparoscopic procedure.

Roux-en-Y (Gastric Bypass) Surgery is the current gold standard procedure for weight loss surgery according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the National Institutes of Health. It is also one of the most frequently performed weight loss procedures in the United States. In this procedure, stapling creates a small (30ml) stomach pouch. The remainder of the stomach is not removed, but is completely stapled shut and divided from the stomach pouch. The outlet from this newly formed pouch empties directly into the lower portion of the jejunum, thus bypassing calorie absorption. This is done by dividing the small intestine just beyond the duodenum for the purpose of bringing it up and constructing a connection with the newly formed stomach pouch. The other end is connected into the side of the Roux limb of the intestine creating the "Y" shape that gives the technique its name. The length of either segment of the intestine can be increased to produce lower or higher levels of malabsorption.

Following surgery, patients of the Surgical Weight Loss Center at The Christ Hospital will continuously receive information about exercise and nutrition, follow-up care from a physician and support from other surgical patients.

The best way to get a full assessment of your condition is to schedule a consultation to determine if weight loss surgery may be an option for you. For more information about surgical weight loss, call 877-904-4YOU or or visit

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