Video: Mom living her ‘best life’ post-bariatric surgery

After 20 years of struggling with her weight, a Columbus mom was sick of her weight-related medical issues: high blood pressure, sleep apnea and pre-diabetes. Six years ago, Kristan T. started down a road that would eventually lead to gastric bypass surgery at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

“I just wasn’t living my best life. If I didn’t do something soon I could die and I wanted to be there for my daughter,” Kristan explains.

Gastric bypass is one of the primary bariatric surgery options for patients at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. Sleeve gastrectomy or other bariatric surgeries may be recommended on a case-by-case basis.

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center offers comprehensive nonsurgical and surgical weight loss programs. In addition to various medical considerations, such as a patient’s body mass index (BMI), all potential surgical patients are required to first enroll in a managed weight loss program and undergo a mental health evaluation.

The journey from initial consultation to surgery takes on average three to seven months, and that is not because of any backlog, but rather a deliberate program schedule to maximize long-term success.

Sabrena Noria, MD, PhD, who specializes in bariatric surgery at the Wexner Medical Center, strongly values the need for addressing the mental health of patients before surgery.

“If the surgery is going to be successful long-term, patients not only have to understand how to eat and importance of exercise, but they also need to understand why they’ve eaten the way they have for so many years,” says Dr. Noria.

How much weight will you lose with surgery?

Within two years of surgery, patients should see a greater than 50 percent excess body weight loss. (Excess means actual weight minus ideal weight.)

Dr. Noria emphasizes bariatric surgery is not just about weight loss.

“It’s a complete lifestyle change and that is the reason patients have to be psychologically ready to do this.”

In Kristan’s case, six years after the surgery she has lost 212 pounds.

Farewell to your pharmacist

Dr. Noria says, after surgery patients should either be completely off or see a significant reduction of medications used for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea.

Kristan couldn’t believe that immediately after being discharged from the hospital, she no longer needed her blood pressure medicine.

“Two days ago I did, now all of the sudden I don’t. That’s insane! It was awesome!”

Dr. Noria says the fact that the surgery creates a domino effect solution for so many other ailments really drives home the point to patients of the benefits of bariatric surgery.

“The biggest thing that people need to understand is that bariatric surgery isn’t about ‘losing weight to look good.’ It’s about patient’s taking control of their lives and making a conscious decision to make changes that will allow them to live longer, healthier lives,” shares Dr. Noria.

What is the success rate of bariatric surgery?

Dr. Noria often feels the need to fight the fallacy that bariatric surgery is an easy, instant cure.  She notes that patients work hard to change their eating and activity patterns before surgery, and have to maintain those habits for life for continued success. She states, “Bariatric surgery is not a cure … it’s a tool – a powerful tool – but still only a tool. Success is achieved only if patients use the tool correctly, which is why it’s so important to be part of a comprehensive program.”

She estimates the success rate of patients is around 80 to 90 percent.

“It’s not about being thin, it’s about being able to actively participate in life. I can’t tell you how many patients have told me how amazed they are to be able to run around with their children/grandchildren without feeling winded,” says Dr. Noria.

Kristan considers herself lucky to be among the many successful patients. She looks forward to the many more years she will be around with her daughter thanks to the surgery.

“It’s not only you who’s going to benefit from the surgery, but it’s everyone you love and loves you too.”

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Interested in weight loss surgery?

Register for an info session or call 614-366-6675

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