Have you ever found yourself with a medical question in the middle of the night? NYU Winthrop Hospital is using the power of social media to help answer your medical questions whenever they may arise through its Ask the Doctor series on YouTube. In each video, you can watch NYU Winthrop physicians discuss the most frequently asked questions about medical conditions, treatments and procedures.
In an excerpt from NYU Winthrop’s “Ask the Doctor: Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery” video with Collin E. Brathwaite, MD, chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery and Director of the Bariatric Surgery Center at NYU Winthrop, Dr. Braithwaite answers the following questions:
What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery is that class of surgical procedures that is performed by a surgeon to assist a patient in losing weight.
Are there different types of bariatric surgery?
There are different types of bariatric surgery. A procedure may be simply a restrictive procedure where a band is placed around the stomach, for instance. Or, it may be as involved as a bypass type procedure where, in fact, we create a small pouch with the stomach and then bypass part of the intestines and attach it to the pouch. And, for each of these procedures, there may be different consequences, and different rates of weight loss.
Can bariatric surgery be done with minimally invasive techniques?
At NYU Winthrop, we do 99 percent of our bariatric procedures using laparoscopic techniques or robotic surgery. And in fact, we were the first hospital in the state to incorporate robotics for bariatric surgery. This contributes to less pain for the patient and safer outcomes, and we’re proud to offer this.
Is bariatric surgery the best way to lose weight?
Bariatric surgery is not necessarily the best way to lose weight, but it is the way that is available for those patients who have tried everything else. And certainly it’s not the first resort in losing weight, but should be a last resort after a person has tried diet, exercise, behavioral therapy, etc. So it’s not necessarily the best way, but it can certainly help a patient who has exhausted other means of losing weight.
How much weight can a person lose with bariatric surgery?
The weight loss after bariatric surgery really is dependent on the effort of the patient. In general, most patients can expect to lose 50-80 percent of their excess body weight. However, I should caution that it really is important that the patient is participating in the process, that the surgery is really only a tool to help them achieve this weight loss. Those patients who follow up with their physicians, attend support groups, and are much more involved and incorporate all the aspects of a comprehensive program, are much more successful than patients who simply have an operation and really don’t do anything else. So, healthy choices in terms of eating, portion control, and, certainly, some form of an exercise program are very important in achieving ultimate success.
If a person is considering bariatric surgery, what should their first step be?
If you are considering bariatric surgery, the first step would really be to gather as much information as you can about the surgery, the procedures, and outcomes. Then we invite you to attend one of our educational seminars, and you can contact us to get more information about when and where these seminars take place.