Bariatric Surgery: Weight loss and reversing Diabetes

If you've every tried to lose five or ten pounds you know how frustrating weight loss can be.

Imagine being overweight all your life and needing to lose more than 100 pounds.

Obesity has become a grave health issue in this country and more and more adults and children are tipping the scales at an unhealthy weight leading to Diabetes and other health problems.

That was the case for 40 year-old Suzzanne Bloom of Claypool, Indiana who spent her life trying to lose weight but never able to keep it off. She says over the years she tried calorie counting, low carb and high protein diets and nothing worked.

After turning 40 this year and developing diabetes and high blood pressure and cholesterol she turned to Team Bariatric at IU Goshen Health.

After meeting with doctors there she decided to undergo what is called a Sleeve Gastrectomy. It's a minimally invasive bariatric surgery.

Suzzanne says her husband, Charlie and her family were apprehensive but she has a 15-year-old son, Logan and wants to be an active and healthy mom saying, "He's an avid skateboarder and I told him, 'I just may be a skateboarder some day.' "

Suzzanne's doctors, Denise Murphy who is the director of Team Bariatrics and Surgeon Winston Gerig say their patients are well prepared with the lifestyle change required.

Dr. Murphy says, "Team Bariatrics emphasizes the education portion so that people are ready for their surgical intervention."

Dr. Gerig described how the Sleeve Gastrectomy is different than others. "It's a surgery we do laparoscopically where we basically make a tube out of the stomach and take out the rest of the stomach that they won't need anymore."

Both doctors say Bloom's health should start improving immediately.

Once under anesthetic five small incisions are made in Suzzanne's abdomen and the doctor's will use those incisions to place trocars that will guide their instruments through the layers of fat and muscle into her abdomen.

They also have a camera that angles so they can look in different directions giving them a full view of the area they will be working on.

After lifting a few organs out of the way, they say the amount of stomach they take out is a bit different for everyone but most people have a stomach the size of a football.

Using a guide inside the stomach, the doctors make sure everything is lined up before doing any cutting.

“You can see the blood vessels supplying that portion of the stomach so it should be healthy.” Satisfied, Doctor Murphy explains as Dr. Gerig uses a power endoscopic cutter that also staples the stomach shut as it moves. “And it's just creating that seam all way along the stomach for us.”

With their eyes constantly on the monitors, Suzzanne's doctors make the final cut and get ready to remove roughly 80 percent of her stomach.

After removing the guide they followed to make her new stomach, doctors perform a leak test.

“What we're going to do is fill the abdomen with water and Dr. Murphy is going to put a scope into the new stomach and fill it with air,” says Dr. Gerig. “I see no bubbles, ok looks good to me.”

The next step is putting a little glue, actually mixed with Suzzanne's blood, along the staple line.

Just one hour after Suzzane walked down to surgery, Dr. Gerig pulls hers through one of the small incisions.

All that's left is stitching Suzzanne up and while he does so Dr. Gerig explains how bariatric surgery has improved and become safer over the years.

This allows for safer outcomes for patients and surgeons.

“Excellent, it was a very smooth procedure, very minimal blood loss and went just as planned,” says Dr. Murphy explaining how the surgery went. “There's about a 1 percent chance the staple line could spring a leak so we went through the procedure to make sure there's no leak now and there's no leak that's going to happen.”

Best of all, doctors hope Suzzanne's diabetes and high cholesterol reverse even before she starts losing weight.

And for her family back in the waiting room, they feel relief even if her son Logan doesn't see her skate boarding alongside him in the future.

And that's okay. This family says if her diabetes and blood pressure improve there's no need for her to pick up wheels. They just want her healthy on her own two feet.

Suzzanne had a checkup Wednesday, and she says she's already lost nine pounds and never had any pain.

Better than that, IU Goshen Health said that her blood sugar levels are already within normal range.

She'll be on a liquid diet for another week and when she starts solids she'll eat just a quarter cup of food for each meal, but with the size of her stomach that will satisfy her.

For more information visit: www.butneveragain.org


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