Walk from Obesity – Raising Awareness

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 26, 2016

This year's Boston Walk from Obesity winds through the Arnold Arboretum.

This year’s Boston Walk from Obesity winds through the Arnold Arboretum.

For years, Sheila Fitzgerald of Dedham, MA, has participated in the Walk from Obesity. Two years ago, she was among the top fundraisers in the country. Her focus last year, however, was more on raising awareness than raising money.

“I think it’s important to talk about obesity and educate people,” says Sheila.

She wants others to be more informed than she was. A lack of understanding is why it took her so long to consider weight loss surgery, she explains. The need for a knee replacement, however, pushed her to learn more about surgical options for weight loss.

Staying Active

Sheila has always been active, even when she was overweight. However, severe pain in her left knee caused her to cut back on her exercise. She sought counsel from Dr. Anthony Webber, an orthopedic surgeon at BWFH, who advised her that she should get a knee replacement. Otherwise, she would become sedentary – a prospect that she feared.

“That freaked me out,” says Sheila. “I was active, and I wanted to stay active.”

Despite being apprehensive about undergoing weight loss surgery, she signed up for an information session. She asked a lot of questions at the session and soon learned that weight loss surgery would be a sensible treatment for her obesity.

After being evaluated by Dr. Scott Shikora, Director of the CMBS, and other BWH specialists, it was determined that she would be a suitable candidate for a sleeve gastrectomy. This procedure involves removing the outer crescent of the stomach, an area where a major hormone that regulates appetite is produced. The procedure also reduces the capacity of the stomach to hold food by about 75 percent. Along with promoting weight loss, the sleeve gastrectomy is believed to be particularly effective at treating certain metabolic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver disease, and obstructive sleep apnea.

Dr. Shikora performed Sheila’s weight loss surgery in January 2014. Since that time, she has lost 80 pounds and no longer has sleep apnea. Those benefits also have come with no complications.

In November 2014, Dr. Webber performed Sheila’s knee replacement. Her knee feels great today, and she is back to being her active self.

Sheila also is now an informed advocate of weight loss surgery.

“It has changed my life,” says Sheila. “I would recommend it. I have recommended it.”

– Chris P.

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Walking Away from Obesity

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 29, 2015

Tim Dineen, before gastric bypass surgery

Everyone is invited to participate in this year’s Walk from Obesity, which starts and finishes at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital on June 13, 2015. Join patients, medical staff, and others in helping to make a difference in the lives of those touched by obesity by either walking or cheering on the walkers. Funds raised through the event will be used to support obesity-related research, education, and awareness programs promoted by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation.

One patient who plans to be there is Tim Dineen, 59, of Somerville, MA, who exemplifies what a committed patient can do once they find the right help.

Like many, his weight struggles began when he was young and continued into adulthood. Despite being active, he continued to be overweight because of excessive eating. He tried a variety of strategies to lose weight, but none led to long-term success.

Tim thought about weight loss surgery, but initially didn’t pursue that option because of his concern about the risks of open surgery. However, when he learned that gastric bypass surgery had become a less-invasive procedure, he came to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) to see whether he would be an appropriate candidate for this new approach.

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A New Option to Learn about Bariatric Surgery

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 29, 2015

If your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40 or greater than 35 and you have co-morbid conditions, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery.

If losing weight and improving your health continually top your list of New Year’s resolutions, it may be time to consider new strategies.

The Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital is a multidisciplinary center offering laparoscopic weight loss surgery options. If your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40 or greater than 35 and you have co-morbid conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery.

Attending a New Patient Information Session is the first step in considering whether bariatric surgery makes sense for you. At the one-hour information session, our surgeons and team members will introduce you to the bariatric surgery program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. You will learn about the types of surgical procedures that are available; nutrition and lifestyle changes that are necessary before and after surgery; insurance and financial issues related to bariatric surgery; and how to take next steps.

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Understanding Bariatric Surgery Treatment Options

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 9, 2014

After having a sleeve gastrectomy, Chuck achieved optimal cholesterol and blood pressure levels, his sleep apnea was cured, his diabetes went into remission, and he welcomed his first child.

Obesity is a major public health problem in the United States and throughout the world. In the U.S., it is estimated there are up to 20 million morbidly obese people (body mass index (BMI) greater than 40). Morbid obesity can lead to many other health issues, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. These patients also may be at increased risk for certain types of cancer, endocrine problems, skin problems, and joint and bone pain.

Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) can help patients with a BMI greater than 40, or a BMI greater than 35 with co-existing health conditions, lose weight  and improve their overall health, including remission of type 2 diabetes, reductions in high blood pressure, and improvement in female fertility.

Dr. Scott Shikora, Director of the Center for Metabolic Health and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital discusses bariatric surgery options for weight loss and metabolic treatment in obese patients.

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Robotic Sleeve Gastrectomy – Latest Option for Bariatric Surgery

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 17, 2014

Dr. Scott A. Shikora, Director of The Center for Metabolic Health and Bariatric Surgery

Patients considering bariatric surgery have several options. The newest of the weight loss operations is sleeve gastrectomy, an alternative to  laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding or Roux-En-Y gastric bypass. With this procedure, the outer crescent of the stomach is removed, resulting in a stomach that resembles a tube. Patients lose weight because the capacity of the stomach to hold food is reduced by about 75 percent.

Additionally, the portion of the stomach that is removed is the area where a major hormone that regulates appetite is produced. Patients generally experience a dramatic reduction of hunger after the procedure. The sleeve gastrectomy is a bariatric surgery option for weight loss and metabolic treatment in patients with a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 40 or a BMI greater than 35 with co-morbid conditions.

At Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), surgeons are using the robot to further improve the sleeve gastrectomy procedure. In this video, Dr. Scott Shikora, Director of the Center for Metabolic Health and Bariatric Surgery at BWH discusses and demonstrates the robotic sleeve gastrectomy.

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Bariatric Surgery: It’s Not Just about Weight Loss

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 24, 2013

Evidence suggests that bariatric surgery can be an effective treatment for a variety of metabolic conditions, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Although bariatric surgery has proven to be an effective and lasting treatment for morbid obesity, mounting evidence suggests that the benefits go far beyond weight loss. Our patients Chuck and Theresa, both featured in our blog earlier this week, are just two examples of how bariatric surgery can improve your health in ways that aren’t experienced through other weight loss approaches.

According to Dr. Scott Shikora, Director, Center for Metabolic Health and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the ultimate goals of weight loss surgery should be the health benefits, not just the weight loss. He explains that most of us are aware that bariatric surgery can lead to dramatic weight loss and a corresponding increase in self-esteem, but many of us don’t realize how many metabolic diseases and conditions can be effectively treated through weight loss surgery.

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Bariatric Surgery: A Way to Beat Your Genes

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 22, 2013

Theresa poses with her support staff, Shaun and Shaun, Jr., at a family wedding after her surgery.

Overeating, poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle are three of the biggest culprits for our nation’s obesity crisis. All these factors are largely controllable, but, left unchecked, they become more and more difficult to overcome over time. Sometimes, however, life presents individuals with circumstances that promote obesity and are simply beyond their control. That was the case with Theresa Carr, 32, of Tewksbury, MA.

Theresa admits that her own actions contributed to her being overweight, but her situation became worse after she developed polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that causes an imbalance in a woman’s hormones. This imbalance, in turn, can cause irregular periods, infertility, depression, weight gain, and difficulty in losing weight.

Dr. Scott Shikora, Director, Center for Metabolic Health and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, suggests that Theresa’s experience is a good example for those who believe that bariatric surgery is a shortcut for patients who should simply exercise more or work harder to eat less. “What they’re failing to realize is that while bad eating habits certainly do play into this, it’s often genetics,” explains Shikora. “And people can’t beat their genes.”

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Ringing out 2012 – Most Popular HealthHub Posts

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 1, 2013

The blog team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital would like to close out 2012 with a selection of our most popular posts.  We’d also love to read about your favorites in our comments section.

We wish you a safe and happy New Year and look forward to sharing more health stories with you in 2013.

 

1.  What’s in a Face?

After suffering a disfiguring injury, Dallas Wiens receives the gift of a new face – the first full face transplant in the U.S. – at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  The life-giving surgery, performed by a team of more than 30 physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, and residents , provides Wiens with the typical facial features and function of any other man.

 

2.  Prostate Cancer Screening – Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Dr. Anthony D’Amico, Professor and Chief of Genitourinary Radiation Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Chief of the Prostate Cancer Radiation Oncology Service at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, discusses the benefits of prostate cancer screening, particularly for younger men.

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Bariatric Surgery – Losing Weight Is Just the Start

Posted by Blog Administrator March 27, 2012

Bariatric Surgery Helps Treat Diabetes

Research suggests that bariatric surgery can be an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes.

By now, most everyone is familiar with the dramatic weight loss that can be achieved through weight loss (bariatric) surgery. If you haven’t experienced it with a friend or family member, you’ve probably seen celebrities who’ve lost an amazing amount of weight following bariatric surgery and seem to be quite happy about it.

But evidence suggests that losing weight, although significant, is only one of many benefits that weight loss surgery can deliver.

According to Dr. Scott Shikora, Director, Center for Metabolic Health and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, prospective patients should be educated about the significant related health benefits that bariatric surgery can provide, not just the weight loss. He explains that most of us are aware that bariatric surgery can lead to a trimmer body and a corresponding increase in self-esteem, but many of us don’t realize how many diseases may be effectively treated through weight loss surgery.

Shikora and his peers are thus trying to raise awareness about the breadth of weight loss surgery’s benefits. “The field is now more focused on the health benefits of weight loss surgery,” says Shikora. “We talk to patients about the health benefits first, and then we talk about how much weight they can expect to lose.”

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