Increased mobility, more energy and the absence of knee and back pain are just a few of the benefits patients enjoy following weight loss surgery. With the start of the New Year, now is the time to resolve to achieve a healthy weight and see just how much you can gain by losing those extra pounds. The weight loss program at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital is the perfect place to start.
“Weight loss surgery is a journey,” says Ziad Amr, M.D., an affiliated general and bariatric surgeon who serves as medical director of the Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Surgical Weight Loss Program. “When patients come to us, they’ve struggled to lose weight through dieting, exercise and medications. Typically, they’re having problems with weight-related medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure and are ready to start enjoying life with their children.”
Patients qualify for weight loss surgery if they have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 to 39.9 and two weight-related medical conditions, or a BMI of 40 or higher. BMI calculators are widely available online and only require one’s height and weight.
Following the initial visit with a bariatric surgeon, the weight loss surgery journey involves consultations with several medical professionals. Dr. Amr asks his patients to meet with a registered dietitian to learn healthy food choices.
“We like our patients to lose a minimum of 8 to 15 pounds before surgery,” says Dr. Amr. “This shows us their commitment.”
Patients also need evaluations from their primary care physician and a psychologist. Typically, it takes 3 to 6 months to complete pre-surgery requirements.
Determining which minimally invasive, laparoscopic surgical technique to use – gastric bypass, gastric sleeve or adjustable gastric banding – is based on each patient’s medical conditions.
The Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Weight Loss Program healthcare team is committed to empowering patients to lose weight and keep it off. In addition to affiliated board-certified surgeons, specially trained nurses, registered dietitians and behavioral health specialists, physical therapists teach patients how to increase their mobility following surgery through exercising.
Weight loss continues after surgery as does support from the healthcare team. According to Dr. Amr, patients lose 20 to 40 pounds within the first two months following surgery. Overall, patients can expect to lose one-half to two-thirds of their excess body weight within two years after surgery.
Dr. Amr’s decision to seek fellowship training in bariatric surgery and perform weight loss surgery came from seeing the dramatic improvement in patients’ medical conditions after surgery.
“As the weight goes away, diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol improve,” says Dr. Amr. “Frequently, patients can discontinue their medications for these conditions, and they enjoy life more.”
“Our patients just need extra help to lose weight,” he said. “Weight loss surgery is the best tool for that if they’re motivated because they can maintain the weight loss the rest of their lives.”
To learn about starting the weight loss journey, join Dr. Amr for a free informative seminar on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights. Attendees may also observe a support group at 7 p.m., if desired. To register for either or both sessions, please call 713.222.CARE (2273). You can also make an appointment with Dr. Amr by calling 713.426.2400 and referencing Greater Heights.