Autumn Doermann, KGTV: If you or someone you love is suffering from obesity, you may be wondering about the option of weight-loss surgery. Here with me today from Sharp Memorial Hospital is surgeon Dr. Julie Ellner to help us learn more. So, Dr. Ellner, first of all, what is morbid obesity and what are the health issues that people with this disease face?
Dr. Julie Ellner: Literally translated, morbid obesity is obesity that's going to kill you. It's roughly about 75 or 80 or more pounds overweight, and that's on the surface, but under the surface the disease of obesity causes cancer, hypertension, heart attacks, sleep apnea, infertility, low testosterone, migraines, eczema. It's all these diseases caused by obesity that are so life changing for people and so life threatening. The disease of morbid obesity attacks every organ system in your body and takes 15 to 20 years off your life.
Autumn: So, what is weight-loss surgery and how can it help people with obesity?
Dr. Ellner: The three most popular operations are the gastric band, the gastric sleeve and the gastric bypass. They all create a tiny little stomach that fills up quickly, but some of the operations, like the gastric bypass, also provide chemical appetite suppression to help people lose weight. But it's not just about losing the weight, it's about losing those weight-related medical problems that we were talking about. The perfect example is Jodie. She was 27. When she came to me she was infertile with a list of medical problems as long as your arm. When she had gastric bypass, she left the hospital two days later off of all her medications, but her fertility was restored. So when she lost 160 pounds, she gained two little boys. And she wouldn't have been able to do that without the surgery.
Autumn: What happens after surgery? What kind of follow-up care is needed?
Dr. Ellner: I always tell my patients if they want long-term health and success with weight loss, they need long-term follow-up. Patients need to make a lifetime commitment to their health and to making the surgery work, and they need to find a surgeon who's equally committed to coaching them and teaching them how to do it. Long-term follow-up is critical.
Autumn: And weight-loss surgery is available at Sharp Memorial?
Dr. Ellner: Absolutely. Sharp Memorial Hospital is a designated Center of Excellence for bariatric surgery. Patients come into the hospital and are taken care of by certified bariatric nurses in a beautiful unit that's completely outfitted for patients suffering from obesity. Anyone who's interested can come to one of our free seminars.
Autumn: Thank you, Dr. Ellner. For more information on weight-loss surgery at Sharp Memorial Hospital, call or visit the website and phone number on your screen today.