Importance Accumulating evidence suggests that bariatric surgery improves survival among patients with severe obesity, but research among veterans has shown no evidence of benefit.
Objective To examine long-term survival in a large multisite cohort of patients who underwent bariatric surgery compared with matched control patients.
“I’ve struggled with weight my whole life,” says Morgan Hill resident Matt Reichstein, 45, who had weight loss surgery at with Dr. Zare.
“I used to tell myself my size didn’t matter. I feel good and I have lots of friends, a job and a nice place to live. But, my self-confidence wasn’t good. I’d take a look at myself in the mirror and think, ‘you’re never going to have the life you really want.’
“Now, since the surgery, to be in restaurants, airplanes and even amusement parks with no problem . . . to buy clothes in regular department stores . . . to go on dates or be out in public and have people notice me with an appreciative glance . . . it’s an amazing feeling.”
Before surgery 18 months later Weight 434 lbs. 265 lbs. Body mass index (BMI) 55.7 33.1 Waist size 56 38 Shirt size XXXXXXL XL
At 6’3″, Matt has always been a big, active guy. He grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where kids often teased him about being fat. Throughout his time at Los Gatos High School, he was a three sport athlete.
“Looking at old photos, I always thought of myself at heavy, but not obese,” he remembers. “But, I’m much like my dad. It’s our lot in life to be friendly and the life of the party, but also to love food and gain weight.”
It was during his college years that Matt really started putting on the weight. By the time he was in his 20s, he was in the 400-lb. range.
“That’s when I started working out in the gym and going to Weight Watchers. I was able to drop a lot of weight and, at one point, got down to 250 lbs. The trouble was, I never hung out with my friends or went for a beer or a glass of wine. I was in the gym all the time and, basically, didn’t have any kind of a life.”
Food has always been important to Matt. In his mid-30s he started putting the weight back on.
“It was as though food consumed me, and it felt like I never had enough. Plus, as I got older, it was harder to take off the weight in the gym,” he recalls.
At times, he would ‘give up’ his life again, redoubling his exercise efforts and trying to keep his diet in check—only to put it all back on and more. By the time he was in his early 40s, Matt was tipping the scales at 460 or 470 lbs.
Life changed the day he was approached by an old acquaintance during a night out with friends.
“I recognized her eyes, but not the rest of her. She looked great,” said Matt.
Turns out they had known each other for a long time and had a few things in common. She, too, was a good athlete and an active person but had always battled her weight. When Matt asked her what she had done to look so good, she told him about having weight loss surgery and urged him to consider it.
Over the next few months, he learned as much as he could about the surgery and his options. He met with a weight loss surgery nurse, attended support group meetings, and was referred to Dr. Zare, a surgeon on the medical staff at Good Samaritan Hospital. It was time for a change.
Matt and his surgeon selected a procedure called the laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy. With this minimally invasive surgery, a narrow sleeve of stomach is created and the excess stomach is removed. The procedure limits the amount of food a person can eat and helps suppress appetite. Patients can lose more than 75 percent of their excess weight over a period of eight to eighteen months.
After going through the weight loss surgery programwith Dr. Zare, and completing the necessary tests and preparations, Matt had his procedure. His parents and brother were with him. Friends and family were very supportive throughout his brief time in the hospital and for a two-week stay at his parents’ house after his discharge.
“The hospital experience was great. I had a private room, flat screen TV with all the stations, and everyone was very nice,” said Matt. “I’m not going to say it was totally easy and painless, but I got through it with some excellent care and a lot of walking the floors on my part. I guess all my working out had put me in good shape. I bounced back pretty quickly, and Dr. Zare sent me home earlier than expected.”
Matt continued his walks and returned to the gym for light workouts a week after surgery. He was able to go back to work in just two weeks. For him, the hardest thing was the all-liquid diet he had to follow for two months.
Within 4-6 weeks, he began doing heavier workouts at a new gym called Fitness Never Sleeps. According to Matt, the weight began ‘pouring off,’ with 50 lbs. vanishing in the first three months.
“That gym and the people there have become my support group. Working out has taken the place of much of the eating that used to be such a big part of my life,” he reports.
Matt won’t lie. Going through the changes in his body and adjusting to a much smaller diet have not been easy.
“But, I will say weight loss surgery is a wonderful tool that is making it easier for me to get to a healthier, more attractive weight and enjoy life on my own terms.”
Source: N Engl J Med 2013; 369:1434-1442
Clinical outcomes after many complex surgical procedures vary widely across hospitals and surgeons. Although it has been assumed that the proficiency of the operating surgeon is an important factor underlying such variation, empirical data are lacking on the relationships between technical skill and postoperative outcomes.
We conducted a study involving 20 bariatric surgeons in Michigan who participated in a statewide collaborative improvement program. Each surgeon submitted a single representative videotape of himself or herself performing a laparoscopic gastric bypass. Each videotape was rated in various domains of technical skill on a scale of 1 to 5 (with higher scores indicating more advanced skill) by at least 10 peer surgeons who were unaware of the identity of the operating surgeon. We then assessed relationships between these skill ratings and risk-adjusted complication rates, using data from a prospective, externally audited, clinical-outcomes registry involving 10,343 patients.
Mean summary ratings of technical skill ranged from 2.6 to 4.8 across the 20 surgeons. The bottom quartile of surgical skill, as compared with the top quartile, was associated with higher complication rates (14.5% vs. 5.2%, P < 0.001) and higher mortality (0.26% vs. 0.05%, P=0.01). The lowest quartile of skill was also associated with longer operations (137 minutes vs. 98 minutes, P < 0.001) and higher rates of reoperation (3.4% vs. 1.6%, P=0.01) and readmission (6.3% vs. 2.7%) (P < 0.001).
The technical skill of practicing bariatric surgeons varied widely, and greater skill was associated with fewer postoperative complications and lower rates of reoperation, readmission, and visits to the emergency department. Although these findings are preliminary, they suggest that peer rating of operative skill may be an effective strategy for assessing a surgeon’s proficiency.
Debbie Benzine lost her first husband to heart disease when he was 44. His death left her to raise a young child alone. For 16 years, she stayed single because, “going through it once was enough for me.”
Weight-loss surgery changes the levels of genes involved in burning and storing fat, a new study says.
The findings may help lead to the development of new drugs that mimic this weight-loss-associated control of gene regulation, said the authors of the study published online April 11 in the journal Cell Reports.
Source: Daily Rx
The link between obesity and cancer is nothing new. Lack of regular exercise and cancer are also teammates. A new study has added some links to this chain of knowledge.
Researchers found that higher body mass index (BMI) was associated with a specific type of colorectal cancer. Physical activity decreased the risk of this cancer, which has a specific molecular signature.
Although the majority of the American public views obesity as a serious public health issue, a surprising number tend to misperceive their own weight status and do not fully understand all the health consequences of being obese, according to results from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey.
The results showed that nearly half of the overweight, but not obese, respondents misperceived their own weight status and thought their weight was about right. And while many of the respondents were aware of the link between obesity with heart disease and diabetes, most were less likely to mention other serious health impacts associated with being overweight or obese.
Source: Daily Rx
Being obese is just plain unhealthy. All that excess fat can make outcomes worse for patients with any of a number of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.
A recent study showed that morbidly obese patients with inflammatory polyarthritis – which includes diseases like rheumatoid arthritis – had higher levels of disability than arthritis patients who were not obese. Morbidly obese patients had about twice the odds of disability compared to those who were not obese.
The cover copy of a thousand magazines was attacked this morning in the august pages of the New England Journal of Medicine by Krista Casazza, David B. Allison, both from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and a long list of co-authors. Much of what you’ve been told about weight loss is wrong and, in the current style of journalists everywhere, they break these misconceptions down into a list of widely-held myths, which they then attack with dry academic savagry.