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Discussing Surgical Weight-Loss Options with Dr. Elizabeth Dovec

January 23, 2018
There are a lot of misconceptions about weight-loss surgery. Did you know that, on average, a person tries 22 different methods of losing weight before seeing a bariatric doctor? In this interview with April Watts from Magic 95.9, GBMC bariatric surgeon Elizabeth Dovec addresses some of these misconceptions and explains the surgical options that are available.

"Weight-loss surgery is the most effective tool that exists to help you lose weight," says Dr. Dovec. And it's just that: a tool. Many people view weight-loss surgery as an easy way out or as a procedure that is limited to the morbidly obese, but this simply isn't the case. Eligibility is determined by body mass index (BMI), the ratio between height and weight, rather than by weight alone. Most insurances will cover the surgery if you meet the BMI qualifications. Candidates for the surgery must have a BMI of 40 or higher or have a BMI of 35-39 as well as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or sleep apnea.

There are two types of weight-loss surgery — sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass. Dr. Dovec describes the differences between these procedures, pre-operative preparation, the recovery process, and the metabolic changes that your body experiences post-surgery.

Bariatric surgery is not a guaranteed way to lose weight. Although it's an incredibly effective tool, it must be accompanied by significant behavior changes. Patients need to increase their physical activity, modify their eating habits, and perhaps most importantly, they need to change their mindsets. Around 15% of bariatric patients fall back into old habits and are unable to maintain their weight loss. GBMC's Comprehensive Obesity Management Program (COMP) is striving to push that number down to zero by offering numerous resources to care for the whole patient.

With bariatric surgery, mental and emotional health are just as important as physical health. COMP's approach to weight loss focuses on more than just the number on the scale; it's an all-encompassing program. Patients regularly meet with dietitians before and after surgery, something unique to this program, and frequently attend educational and social events held just for them. COMP also offers mental health support and a very active private Facebook support group for all patients. Check out Jake's, Karen's, Natalie's, and Sean's stories to see what bariatric surgery and COMP did for them.

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