Welcome to Ask a Doctor! Every week we’ll be asking our CarePoint Health doctors some questions that we’d all like to know the answers to.
This week Doctor Jordan M. Garrison Jr. MD FACS, FASMBS shares his expertise on bariatric surgery. He joined us last year to be CarePoint’s very own Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at the Christ Hospital, Hoboken University Medical Center, and Bayonne Medical Center.
We’ve also just launched a special section on our website for the Center for Bariatric Surgery. Click through to read more!
Q: When should I consult a physician about obesity?
A: Shakespeare wrote….To thine own self be true. Essentially, obesity is stopping you from living your life as you would wish to, being true to yourself. You have undoubtedly tried every diet, exercise, medication, hypnosis, acupuncture and gimmick in an effort to lose weight. You may have had some success, but as soon as you stopped the “treatment plan”, the weight returned with a vengeance. Surgery is a proven method of achieving sustained weight loss in an obese person. So, when to go? When you are sick and tired of being sick and tired!
Q: What Surgical options are available to address weight loss?
A: Currently there are three operations that comprise the majority of weight loss surgery performed in the United States. Each of these operations is performed laparscopically (with a laser) and has different estimates of the amount of weight you can expect to lose and the time frame that it will take to lose that amount.
Laparoscopic Roux-N-Y Gastric Bypass: By stapling the stomach to the size of a small egg, only very small amounts of food enter the stomach. The intestines are then rerouted and we connect this portion of the intestines directly to the “egg”. Food will pass through quicker and there will be less absorption of the food. With this operation you can expect to lose 90% of your excess weight in 1 to 1 ½ years.
Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding (Lap-Band): This surgery places a tube that squeezes the esophagus. This causes restriction which, in turn, only allows small portions of food to enter the stomach. Because this operation only employs restriction, the weight loss will be less than that of a Gastric Bypass. You can expect to lose up to 50% of your excess weight over a 3 year period.
Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy: Because of the relative ease of performing this surgery, along with the excellent weight loss and low complication rates, this is rapidly becoming the most popular weight loss surgical option. This surgery simply staples and removes 70% of the stomach and a long tube or “sleeve” is created. There is no rerouting of the intestines, so this is purely a restrictive procedure. With this operation you can expect to lose upwards of 70% of your excess weight in 1 to 1 ½ years.
Q: Am I a candidate for Surgery?
A: Qualifications for all three surgeries are based upon your BMI (Body Mass Index). The BMI is calculated by utilizing a formula that essentially divides your height by your weight. A BMI of 35-40 means that you are approximately 80 – 100 pounds overweight. If your BMI is greater than 35, with associated illnesses such as Diabetes, Hypertension or Sleep Apnea, then you are a candidate for weight loss surgery. If your BMI is 40 or above, regardless of illnesses, then you are also a candidate for weight loss surgery.
Obesity surgery it is not a case of “one size fits all”. An in depth meeting will occur between you and your surgeon. Based upon several factors, including your fears, concurrent medical issues, your overall weight and age as well as your desires of how much weight you want to lose, and how soon you want to lose it, your surgeon will make a recommendation as to what surgery may come close to your needs. Most importantly, it is your decision.
Q: What are the intended outcomes of Weight Loss Surgery?
A: All three procedures are designed to improve your overall health by eliminating or preventing diseases that can eventually shorten your life span by 10-15 years. These operations can eliminate High Blood, help cure Diabetes and stop Sleep Apnea in its tracks. The results can be so dramatic that these problems can vanish within 1-2 months of the surgery. Surgery is only a tool; it is not a short cut to a healthy state. Nevertheless, surgery is a very valuable tool that must be combined with good nutrition and exercise to have the best results. Support achieved through family, friends and meetings is another very important tool as well. All of these are necessary to get your ultimate goal…”Being true to thine self”.
Jordan M. Garrison Jr. MD FACS, FASMBS, graduated from Lehigh University in 1978 and obtained his medical degree from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1982. He completed his General Surgical training at the UMDNJ/New Jersey Medical School in 1989, and subsequently completed a Specialized Fellowship in Bariatric Surgery. He is Board certified in General as well as Bariatric Surgery and is a Fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons.
Dr Garrison opened the Garrison Center for Healthy living in January 2004 and has performed over 1000 Bariatric procedures. In May of 2013, Dr. Garrison signed on with CarePoint Healthcare to become the Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at the Christ, Hoboken and Bayonne hospitals. In his practice, Dr. Garrison performs approximately 300 Bariatric and General Surgical procedures a year.