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Bariatric Surgery Q & A with Dr. Abkin

We all know that exercise and eating right are the best ways to lose weight. But for many people, its not enough and they still can’t lose the excess weight — weight that can cause serious health problems. For people in this frustrating situation, weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery) may be an option.

Bariatric surgery has grown into an increasingly effective procedure in the treatment of weight gain and obesity. New procedures and comprehensive programs (including diet and lifestyle components) are making a significant impact on patient’s lives. Dr. Alexander Abkin takes a multidisciplinary approach and truly partners with patients for the best long-term outcomes – offering everything from pre-surgical education, to nutrition and lifestyle counseling, to post-surgical support.

Our bariatric program is committed to providing quality, superior care to those patients looking for a specialized bariatric surgery service. Our program is led by Alexander D. Abkin, MD, FACS, a board certified general surgeon and experienced NJ bariatric surgeon who has performed over 6,500 bariatric procedures in the past 12 years.

Dr. Abkin shares his thoughts on bariatric surgery.

What is bariatric surgery?

The term bariatric surgery refers to a variety of operations for treating obesity. There are several procedures available, which vary based on the type of physical changes made to the stomach and/or the small intestine, but all are very effective in reducing food intake. The type of surgery selected will depend on several factors, such as your level of obesity, overall health status, and future lifestyle changes.

What are the benefits of surgery?

People who undergo the procedure experience a significant amount of weight loss that is maintained on a long-term basis. There is also an improvement in obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea. And finally, the patient’s quality of life is improved as physical and behavioral changes occur, further enhancing the patient’s social well-being.

Who is a candidate for weight loss surgery?

It’s important to note weight loss surgery is not right for everyone. I always advise patients to take in to consideration of all the hard work and lifestyle changes necessary after surgery. All candidates need to meet the National Institute of Health guidelines for the procedure: any patient with a BMI of 35 to 39.5 who suffers with 1 or more major co-morbidities (major obesity related medical problems) or a patient with a BMI of 40 or above, with or without any co-morbidities can be considered for bariatric surgery.

How much weight can I expect to lose after surgery?

The amount and rate at which you lose excess body weight after the surgery varies depending on the type of procedure, the starting weight, and compliance with dieting, exercise, and lifestyle changes. But, you can lose as much as 10-20 pounds in the first 2 weeks after surgery and as much as 30-45 pounds in the first month, again depending on several post-surgery factors.

What’s the best way to determine if bariatric surgery is right for me?

I believe you have to be realistic in your expectations. Bariatric surgery isn’t an easy answer: it’s an opportunity to change your lifestyle. The most successful patients are those who see the procedure as an aid to helping them lose weight.

The best way to determine if bariatric surgery is right for you is to learn as much as you can about the procedure — by talking with the surgeon and other patients who have undergone Gastric Bypass, Realize Band or Lap Band. I offer personal consultations on weight loss surgery, detailing the steps and answering questions. In addition, patients who have undergone the procedure will attend to tell you in their own words what you can expect.

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