After being evaluated by Dr Scott Shikora, Director of the CMBS, and other BWH specialists, it was determined that she would be a suitable candidate for a sleeve gastrectomy. This procedure involves removing the outer crescent of the stomach, an area where a major hormone that regulates appetite is produced. The procedure also reduces the capacity of the stomach to hold food by about 75 per cent. Along with promoting weight loss,
Walk from Obesity – Raising Awareness
For years, Sheila Fitzgerald of Dedham, MA, has participated in the Walk from Obesity. Two years ago, she was among the top fundraisers in the country. Her focus last year, however, was more on raising awareness than raising money.
“I think it’s important to talk about obesity and educate people,” says Sheila.
She wants others to be more informed than she was. A lack of understanding is why it took her so long to consider weight loss surgery, she explains. The need for a knee replacement, however, pushed her to learn more about surgical options for weight loss.
Sheila has always been active, even when she was overweight. However, severe pain in her left knee caused her to cut back on her exercise. She sought counsel from Dr Anthony Webber, an orthopaedic surgeon at BWFH, who advised her that she should get a knee replacement. Otherwise, she would become sedentary – a prospect that she feared.
“That freaked me out,” says Sheila. “I was active, and I wanted to stay active.”
Despite being apprehensive about undergoing weight loss surgery, she signed up for an information session. She asked a lot of questions at the session and soon learned that weight loss surgery would be a sensible treatment for her obesity.
After being evaluated by Dr Scott Shikora, Director of the CMBS, and other BWH specialists, it was determined that she would be a suitable candidate for a sleeve gastrectomy. This procedure involves removing the outer crescent of the stomach, an area where a major hormone that regulates appetite is produced. The procedure also reduces the capacity of the stomach to hold food by about 75 per cent. Along with promoting weight loss, the sleeve gastrectomy is believed to be particularly effective at treating certain metabolic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver disease, and obstructive sleep apnea.
Dr Shikora performed Sheila’s weight loss surgery in January 2014. Since that time, she has lost 80 pounds and no longer has sleep apnea. Those benefits also have come with no complications.
In November 2014, Dr Webber performed Sheila’s knee replacement. Her knee feels great today, and she is back to being her active self.
Improving Quality of Life after Bariatric Surgery
Weight loss surgery, or bariatric surgery, is about much more than weight loss. In fact, it’s often called metabolic and bariatric surgery because it can lead to an improvement in many health conditions. Diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and sleep apnea may improve after metabolic and bariatric surgery. Many patients see improvements in their health before they begin to lose weight.
If your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40 or greater than 35 and you have weight-related conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery. It’s important to emphasize that bariatric and metabolic surgery is not a quick fix. It requires preparation and a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle. The Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital comprises a team of experts that can support you throughout your journey.
Bariatric and metabolic surgery also can lead to significant improvements in the quality of patients’ lives. After surgery, our patients report that they are able to move more easily, have increased energy, experience reductions in bodily aches and pains, and sleep better. These improvements enable our patients to enjoy their lives more fully. They are able to try new activities, such as dance, take long walks, travel with their families, or perform activities of daily living without becoming winded.
Louise exemplifies how our patients’ lives are transformed after metabolic and bariatric surgery. Obesity, coupled with joint pain, had overshadowed every aspect of Louise’s life as she neared retirement. The retail administration and recruiting job she loved so much was difficult because of her limited mobility. Interactions with friends and family had dwindled. “I avoided social situations,” she says. “I couldn’t deal with standing for periods of time, walking short distances, or climbing stairs.” Her husband attended many outings alone while Louise stayed home.
Over a year after her surgery, Louise no longer takes blood pressure medication and has stopped using a daily inhaler for asthma. She says that she replaced her entire wardrobe and donated her corporate attire to an organization that distributes clothes to disadvantaged women seeking employment. Her personal relationships are thriving: Louise and her husband are planning a trip to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. She enjoys excursions with her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews and no longer has physical restrictions as to the kind of activity planned. You can read more about Louise or other patients on our website.