Posts Tagged ‘surgical weight loss’

Required Supplementation Following Bariatric Surgery

protein-shakes (1)Bariatric surgery is a major event in a patient’s weight-loss journey, but the event is best seen as a new beginning. Surgery with good aftercare and moderate lifestyle changes can give wonderful long-term results for health and weight. One of the requirements after surgery includes the need for lifelong daily supplements. Lifelong supplements are required to prevent nutrient deficiencies.

The need for supplementation arises from the following:

  1. The bariatric procedure is restricting how much you are able to consume. This restriction results in an inability to consume all the necessary nutrients via your food.
  2. The bariatric procedure may be malabsorptive. This means that even though you are consuming nutritious food, your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients is inhibited.
  3. A combination of the two above.

There are several supplements required and many others that may be recommended. Typically, the required nutrients are:

  • B-12: must be in one of these forms – sublingual (under the tongue), intramuscular (a shot) or intranasal (spray into the nostrils).
  • Calcium: must be in the citrate form.
  • Complete multivitamin/mineral supplement with iron: usually two per day. If your supplement does not contain iron, you must take separate iron.
  • Protein shakes: whey protein isolate is best absorbed/utilized by the body. This is generally temporary for 2-6 weeks after surgery, depending on physician.

This list includes the typical required nutrients, however, your physician or dietitian may direct you to take additional supplements and/or decrease the amount of a supplement.

The important thing to remember about supplementation is that it is required for life. You run the risk of deficiency and its related side-effects if you quit supplementing. Your surgeon will monitor your lab work, which is why your annual follow-up visits are vital.

Life after bariatric surgery is not all easy, but strong planning, appropriate education, and determination can help as you make this journey.

For more information about bariatric surgery offered at Emory Bariatrics, call 404-778-7777 or visit

Bariatric Surgery: What are the Differences in Surgical Options?

bariatric-appleLosing weight with diet and exercise can work for many individuals. However, for some, diet and exercise may not be enough causing individuals to be at high risk for disease-related complications due to obesity. In these cases, weight loss surgery may be an option.

The decision to have weight loss surgery should never be taken lightly. Contrary to popular belief, it is not “the easy way out” and won’t instantly cure the emotional and physical issues which lead one down the path to obesity.

Emory Bariatrics performs three types of weight loss surgery. Below is a brief description of each type offered.

  •  Roux-en-Y, also know as “gastric bypass”, is a combination procedure. It is a restrictive procedure and a malabsorptive procedure. The surgery reduces the size of your stomach, therefore limiting the amount of food you can eat at one time. A malabsorptive procedure means your intestines are rerouted so that your body does not absorb as much nutrients from food. Lifelong vitamin and mineral supplements must be taken to avoid deficiencies.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as “sleeve”, is a restrictive procedure. About 80% of your stomach is removed, leaving a tube-like pouch that resembles a banana. The stomach and intestines are not rearranged, but since you are eating less, there may be vitamin & mineral deficiencies if the recommended supplements are not taken throughout life.
  • Adjustable gastric banding or “band” is a restrictive procedure. An inflatable band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach, therefore making you feel full on less food. Tubing connects the band to a port under the skin, and the band is inflated or deflated using a needle, as needed. You may have to visit your physician’s office several times for as long as you have the band. Vitamins & minerals must also be taken when you have the band to prevent malabsorptive issues.

All three procedures have pros and cons. Your doctor will recommend a procedure based on many things such as your medical history, your weight, and past surgeries. The most important thing to remember is that weight loss surgery will help you lose weight, but maintaining this loss for years to come is up to you. Weight loss surgery is a tool. Making healthy food choices and exercising regularly are essential to maintaining weight loss. If behavior changes are not embraced, weight loss is not guaranteed. Attending support groups and seeing a psychologist or mental health counselor will help you with these behavioral changes. Remember, it is a “journey”, not a sprint.

For more information about bariatric surgery options offered at Emory Bariatrics, call 404-778-7777 or visit

Recommended readings:

  • “Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies” by Mariana S. Kurian, Barbara Thompson and Brian K. Davidson
  • “The Emotional First Aid Kit – A Practical Guide to Life After Bariatric Surgery” by Cynthia L. Alexander, PsyD
  • “Eat It Up! by Connie Stapleton
  • “Emotional Eating Toolbox” by Melissa McCreery, Ph.D
  • “Dying to Change” by Katie Jay
  • “Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery Cookbook” by Patt Levine, Michele Bontmpo-Saray, William B. Inabnet and Meredith Urban-Skuros

Why does Weight Loss Surgery Demand Continue to Grow?

More and more people in Georgia are considering weight loss surgery as an option for returning to a healthy body weight. Because those who are overweight are at a higher risk for the development of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, for many people, weight loss surgery means both regaining activity and mobility via a healthier body weight and the possibility of a longer, healthier life in general.

Dr. Edward Lin

Dr. Edward Lin

Because the demand for information on surgical weight loss options is growing, Dr. Edward Lin of the Emory Bariatric Center has been taking big action to help educate the community. Today, he held an online chat on the topic of surgical weight loss options (check out the transcript) to help answer questions on the pros and cons of weight loss surgery and dig deeper into the differences between each type of weight loss surgery.

Dr. Lin’s efforts were also recognized by Fox5 News of Atlanta recently, in a story documenting Emory patient, Jim Blackburn’s experience in undergoing a gastric bypass with Dr. Lin as his surgeon.

At 47, and 420 pounds, Jim Blackburn was ready to lose weight in a serious way. “I think I added up 24 different diets that I had been on. I had severe sleep apnea. I had a fatty liver condition, and I was on a lot of medications,” Jim told Fox5. He was worried he wouldn’t make it long enough to watch his children grow up. “My knee joints, ankle joints, hips, I hurt. At 47 years old, that was, that was frightening.”

After Jim decided to undergo surgery, he found Dr. Lin, who looked at Jim’s family history of obesity, his failed weight loss attempts, and identified Jim as a good candidate for gastric bypass.

But according to Dr. Lin, gastric bypass, a permanent procedure, is not for everyone. Pros of the gastric bypass procedure include: dramatic, rapid weight loss and reversal of health problems (including 85% reversal of Type 2 Diabetes cases). However, gastric bypass is a major surgery and is only reversible in a medical emergency. It also comes with a few short term risks, including bleeding and infection. But, because gastric bypass is permanent, it forces patients to adopt new lifestyle and eating habits, typically resulting in better long-term weight loss results.

In contrast, a lap band procedure comes with fewer risks and is a less invasive surgery. The band that is placed around the entrance of the stomach during the procedure can also later be loosened, tightened, or removed, making it less permanent than a gastric bypass. Because of its flexibility, patients who undergo this procedure require “a lot more willpower and mind control,” said Dr. Lin.

Two years after his gastric bypass procedure, Jim Blackburn is now 200 pounds lighter and feeling great. And as findings from a recent study support, family members of weight loss surgery patients, such as Jim’s wife who has since his surgery lost 80 pounds, also benefit from being around relatives who have undergone surgery.

For more information on each of the procedures discussed above and others, check out the Emory Bariatric Center website.

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Weight Loss Surgeries Help Families Get Healthier, Too

Weight Loss Surgery Online ChatA recent study found that family members living with patients who underwent weight loss surgery dropped significant amounts of weight and made more positive lifestyle changes.  In this study, 35 morbidly obese patients underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Overweight spouses and family members living with the patient attended three lifestyle counseling sessions before surgery and five sessions after surgery. At these sessions, patients and their family members learned about healthy eating habits (portion control and a healthy diet) and how to increase physical activity.

At one year after surgery, patients lost an average of 100 pounds and decreased their body mass index (BMI) from 48.7 to 33.3. In addition, their overweight spouses and family members lost an average of 10 pounds and decreased their BMIs from 38 to 36.3.Family members also watched less television, exercised more, and reported fewer instances of uncontrollable eating.

The result of this study reinforces the importance of social support as a motivator to maintain healthy changes. If we mimic the positive lifestyle changes of those around us, we might find ourselves making healthier decisions more often. You may not realize, but people may use you as an inspiration to change their lifestyles! It is important to remember that over time, small steps turn into large strides.

If you’re interested in learning more about weight loss surgery and the options that exist for you or someone you know, now is the perfect time to sign up for a free online chat with Dr. Edward Lin of the Emory Bariatric Center. You don’t be ready for surgery or live in Atlanta to attend, just sign up using this form, and you can ask Dr. Lin all of your questions on weight loss surgery during the chat on January 26th.

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