The numbers are staggering: More than
300,000 deaths occur in America each year as a result of obesity and its
associated health problems. In fact there are nearly 16 million Americans
"who are overweight enough to be candidates for weight loss surgery, also
called bariatric surgery." In their new book, "Weight Loss Surgery: Is
Right for You?" authors Merle Cantor Goldberg, LCSW, George Cowan Jr., M.D.,
and William Y. Marcus, M.D., describe the different surgical options
available today. They also explain the life-changing impact of this surgical
procedure, how to select a qualified weight loss surgeon, the preparation
involved with preoperative and postoperative care, and how you can make the
most of this second chance for a new, healthy life.
"Deciding if Weight Loss Surgery Is Right for You"
In gathering information to make a decision on bariatric surgery, one
needs to understand what obesity means. Obesity is defined by the authors as
a lifelong, progressive, life-threatening, genetically related disease of
excessive fat storage, with five major groups of co-morbidities -- medical,
physical, psychological, social and economic. In other words, you must first
understand obesity; this will help you and your physician decide if you
qualify for bariatric surgery and which procedure is best for you.
There are many different options to consider, and they are discussed in
great detail by the authors. All options are based on the two different
bariatric surgery procedures: open or laparoscopic. Open bariatric surgery
is the older of the two procedures and involves an incision into the body.
Laparoscopic bariatric surgery is the newer approach and employs a fiber
optic camera and specialized instruments. This results in smaller incisions
by the surgeon, less discomfort and a potentially shorter recovery time.
In helping you choose a bariatric surgeon, the authors have provided a
questionnaire form for your potential candidates to complete. This
comparison "is an important part of the informed consent process and should
be made available to you before you sign any documents permitting a surgeon
to perform weight loss surgery on you."
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"Your Journey From Presurgery to Recovery"
Once you've made the decision to go through with bariatric
surgery, you have to make certain preparations. Support from your
family and friends can be as important as support from your surgical
team. In the days leading up to the procedure, you will undergo a
series of medical tests to uncover any potential problems; there
will also be discussion about your medical history and your health
Once the surgery has been completed, you will face new issues
involving the management of pain, the presence of medical devices
monitoring your condition and any lingering problems associated with
the surgical procedure. When you arrive home after the procedure,
you should adhere to a strict regimen of recovery and recuperation;
remember that your primary concern at this stage is your health.
That means you should be aware of your limited ability at physical
exertion, your sleeping arrangements, clothing, traveling and
engaging in sexual activity.
"Your Future -- Thin and Healthy for Life"
As your recovery from weight loss surgery progresses, you will
experience several changes in your life. The most notable of these
will be your new body image and some reoccurring habits and
attitudes toward food. Of equal concern will be your relationships
with others in your life and their perception of you as a different
person. Perceptions will change with your friends, parents,
children, spouse, sexual partners, romantic relationships and
co-workers. As the authors point out, "With the positive changes in
your appearance, you'll probably find that you are more confident
and assertive in your dealings with other people. This should make
it easier for you to develop new relationships and strengthen old
"Weight Loss Surgery: Is It Right for You?" is accurately
described as "a complete guide to weight loss surgery with answers
to your most important questions." The credentials of the authors
attest to that claim. Goldberg has over 35 years of experience
in treating eating disorders; Cowan is a professor of
surgery at the University of Tennessee Medical School; and Marcus is a retired professor of surgery and has over 20 years of
experience specializing in bariatric surgery. It is the belief of
these professionals that weight loss surgery "is not a minor
treatment ... yet, when appropriate, it can save lives." This book is
recommended to anyone who has weight control problems and would like
to educate themselves on the latest advances in the field of bariatric surgery.