Is this the Right Time in Your Life for Bariatric Surgery?
If you’ve struggled to lose weight but kept bariatric surgery on the back burner, you may be wondering when it’s finally time to move forward. For Roxanne Ferguson, who lived with type 2 diabetes, the hormone disorder polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), high triglycerides, and other health conditions, the impetus was two-fold.
“Initially, it was trying to have children that made me seek out bariatric surgery,” said Roxanne, who knew PCOS can impact fertility. “But what finally motivated me to make a change was my dad having a heart attack and knowing there was more risk to being overweight than just preventing me from getting pregnant.”
In December 2020, Ferguson completed a new procedure called a SADI-S, or single anastomosis duodenoileostomy with sleeve gastrectomy. The surgery, also known as a modified duodenal switch, may be done in one or two stages.
The first part is a sleeve gastrectomy, a minimally invasive procedure in which the surgeon removes 80% of your stomach, leaving it the size of a banana. During the second step, the surgeon bypasses all but 10 feet of the small intestine. This strictly limits the amount of calories and nutrients the can absorb from food.
Many people lose a significant amount of weight with just the sleeve gastrectomy. When Roxanne’s weight loss plateaued, she reached out to the Virtua team and learned her PCOS had flared. They regulated her hormones and suggested the intestinal bypass to continue her weight-loss journey.
“This aggressive approach allows patients to lose 80% of their excess weight and reverse 90% of type 2 diabetes cases, the highest of all bariatric surgeries,” said Roxanne’s bariatric surgeon, Samuel Wasser, MD. “Virtua is one of the only accredited bariatric programs in the region to offer this advanced procedure.”
On the Way Down
Thanks to embracing her new, healthy lifestyle and support from family and friends, Roxanne has dropped more than 100 pounds. She no longer takes medicine for her diabetes and PCOS, and is able to be more active and enjoy life with her husband and young daughter.
Roxanne celebrates even the small victories of her weight loss. “Waking up every day and being able to put on a piece of clothing that isn’t as big as it was, and being able to go shopping in any store and find an outfit that fits, it’s made me cry,” she said. “I fit in this size. I can’t remember the last time I wore this size. That’s something to look forward to more in the future.”
Are You Ready?
How do you know when you’re at the right place in your life for weight-loss surgery? Here are three signs:
- Your weight is affecting your health. Along with losing undesired pounds, bariatric surgery will improve cardiovascular health, cause long-term remission of type 2 diabetes, eliminate sleep apnea, relieve joint pain, and improve your mood. It also can improve fertility and reduce your risk of pregnancy-related complications.
- You’re committed to making healthy lifestyle changes. For optimal long-term results, the surgery must be combined with a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
- You’ve lost and regained weight. If you’ve tried other weight-loss methods without lasting success, bariatric surgery may be the long-term solution.
Ferguson encourages others to consider weight-loss surgery.
“For someone who is doubting themselves or doubting the procedure, what will it hurt if you just pick up the phone to call the doctor for an appointment?” she said. “What will you gain? You will gain your health back.”
Thinking About Surgical Weight Loss?
Virtua offers free, online bariatric surgery seminars each month. Visit virtua.org/BariatricSuccess to learn more and sign up.
Updated September 23, 2021