When will power isn’t enough - Advanced surgical options for a healthy weight
As a petite dancer and college cheerleader, Julie
Travis never imagined she would someday consider
weight-loss surgery to help her lose weight. But like so
many people who battle with their weight, Julie tried
everything without success: "People who struggle with
their weight know how complicated it is. In the end, it
goes beyond will power."
Statistically, will power is rarely enough: Only 15
percent of dieters are able to keep off the weight they
lose. Travis met with surgeon Adam Goldstein, DO,
FACS, to learn if surgery was right for her. First, he
ensured that she had exhausted her options: "Weightloss
surgery is a viable option for severely obese
patients who've tried everything under the sun,
supervised or unsupervised."
Why surgery … and what type?
"The only reason to consider weight-loss surgery is
the improvement of overall health," says Dr. Goldstein.
Obesity is the leading cause of preventable health
problems. He says weight loss decreases health risks
like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep
apnea and acid reflux.
Virtua surgeon Seth Kipnis, MD, underscores that
potential health improvements are hard to ignore.
"After weight-loss surgery, there is a 50 percent lower
risk of death caused by cardiac incidents and a 90 percent
drop in diabetes-related deaths."
When surgery is the best option, the most common
choices are laparoscopic gastric bypass and laparoscopic
banding or "Lap Band" surgery. Gastric bypass
surgically reconfigures the stomach to restrict size and
divert food ingested, while Lap Band surgery reduces
the stomach cavity with the insertion of a small,
adjustable ring. Travis chose Lap Band surgery and
has experienced dramatic results losing almost
90 pounds in 18 months. But achieving this level of
success can't be done with surgery alone.
Keeping it off
"Surgery is the technical piece to bring
about weight loss. But we know that
emotional, nutritional and physical
support is essential to success,"
says Virtua Health surgeon and
laparoscopic gastric bypass
expert Christopher Boynton, MD.
Dr. Boynton helped create
Virtua's New Beginnings, an intensive
pre- and post-operative support program
required for all weight-loss surgery patients at
Virtua. "Research in medical journals shows that weight-loss surgery is most successful when done in
conjunction with a program of long-term support for
the patient," says Dr. Boynton.
The staff at New Beginnings includes a behavior
therapist, nurses and dietitians who work closely with
patients to provide ongoing support. Supervised exercise
training sessions are an optional element, provided
at Virtua's state-of-the-art William G. Rohrer Center
for HealthFitness. The proof that it works is in the
numbers. A recent survey of Virtua's gastric bypass
patients showed that weight loss at 12 months was 122
pounds, or 93.3 percent of excess body weight.* And for
patients who had gastric bypass surgeries more than
one year ago, 95 percent of lost weight was maintained.
Dr. Boynton notes the benefit of a program that's
convenient. "Offering these resources right here in
South Jersey helps patients stay committed," he says.
"But the program is so effective, we have many
patients who travel to join it."
Support along the way
Eighteen months after her surgery, Travis still attends
the support group led by a behavior therapist. "Even
though the surgery makes it physically difficult to
overeat, I couldn't have done this without the support
of everyone at New Beginnings," she says. Anyone
considering surgery should begin by talking to the
experts. Virtua makes it easy with monthly information
sessions hosted by New Beginnings. Drs.
Goldstein and Kipnis are frequent speakers at the
sessions, sharing valuable information and addressing
a wide range of questions.
Meet the Physicians
Christopher Boynton, MD, is a boardcertified
general surgeon who
has performed more than 400
gastric bypass procedures. He
earned his medical degree from
the University of Medicine and
Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert
Wood Johnson Medical School.
He completed an internship and
surgical residency at Hahnemann University Hospital.
Adam Goldstein, DO, FACS, is a boardcertified,
fellowship-trained, general surgeon specializing
in bariatric and minimally
invasive abdominal surgery. He
has performed more than 300
weight-loss operations. He
received his medical degree at
the New York College of
Osteopathic Medicine and completed
his internship, residency,
and fellowship at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Seth Kipnis, MD,
is a board-certified, fellowship-
trained surgeon specializing in bariatric and
minimally invasive surgery, including Lap Band and
laparoscopic gastric bypass. He
earned his medical degree at the
State University of New York
(SUNY) in Syracuse and completed
his internship and residency
at University of Medicine
and Dentistry of New
Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson
Medical School. He completed his fellowship in
bariatric and minimally invasive surgery at Penn State
Hershey Medical Center.