Take Back Your Life
Lose the Weight with LAP-BAND Surgery
By Srinivasa K. Gorjala, MD, FACS
General & Bariatric Surgeon

Dr. Srinivasa K. Gorjala has been practicing general surgery for over 15 years. During his years of practice, he noticed more and more of his patients were suffering from obesity and diseases associated with obesity. Researching the options available to obese individuals, there were very few options with good long term success from a weight loss perspective, as well as an overall health benefit.

  • 2/3 of all African Americans in Georgia are overweight.
  • 1/3 are morbidly obese with significant medical issues related to obesity.
  • 10% of all deaths in Georgia are due to diseases related to obesity such as diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and cancer.
  • Obesity is one of the most expensive diseases to manage long term.

At present, there are three main surgical procedures for weight loss. There is not a PERFECT procedure. All the procedures have advantages and disadvantages. The first procedure that was done in the United States is the gastric bypass. The bypass consists of creating a small stomach pouch and "bypassing" this with a piece of small intestines. The advantages of this procedure are rapid weight loss. However, the disadvantage is that many patients suffer from chronic diarrhea and nutritional deficiencies. Also the complications are higher compared to the other procedures. Finally, it is also difficult to reverse and is not adjustable to the patient.

The second procedure, the gastric sleeve restriction, consists of stapling off the outer half of the stomach, creating a tubular stomach. With this procedure, the sleeve closes off a portion of the stomach, which then restricts the stomach's ability to expand with more food, causing the release of hormones which control some hunger impulses. Therefore, one feels full with smaller portions of food. However, the disadvantages are the stomach can re-expand and the patient can regain weight over the long term. Also, there is concern of the staples leaking and strictures could develop from the surgery. This is a relatively newer procedure and full long term benefits are still under study.

The final procedure is the LAP-BAND® System. This procedure consists of placing a "band" around the upper part of the stomach creating a pouch for food to settle after eating. The patient feels full with smaller portions of food and their hunger goes away.

The advantages to this procedure include:

  • Safe, minimally invasive approach
  • No stomach stapling, cutting or intestinal rerouting
  • Reversible
  • Outpatient surgery
  • Adjustable- customized for each person
  • Lowest complication rate

This procedure can be done as an outpatient procedure in many cases. The band has a reservoir or port attached to it which can be adjusted to the patient's need to control their hunger and eat smaller portions of food. The disadvantages to the band procedure are that the weight loss is slower and a patient has to follow up with the program on a consistent basis to have the best results.

The advantages to this procedure include:

  • Safe, minimally invasive approach
  • No stomach stapling, cutting or intestinal rerouting
  • Reversible
  • Outpatient surgery
  • Adjustable- customized for each person
  • Lowest complication rate

In my opinion, the Allergan LAP-BAND® System is the best procedure at present. The band is a great tool for the patient to control their impulses towards food. The Southern Regional Bariatric Program has been developed for the complete management of the bariatric patient. It is a multidisciplinary approach in which all the needs of the lap band patient are treated. This program stresses appropriate dietary behavior as well as exercise therapy, and creating a very positive environment for the total care of the patient. Once the patient loses a set amount of weight, which varies for each individual, medical issue such as diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, etc. improve.

The simple technology behind gastric banding safely and effectively reduces the amount of food that your stomach can hold at one time. Plus, you feel full faster and stay full longer, so you end up eating less. The adjustable silicone band was introduced in 1986 and now over 300,000 patients have had the surgery performed in the United States. The surgery is an outpatient procedure with most people returning to work within a week.

Southern Regional Bariatric program enjoys rewarding our patients for a job well done by allowing them to show off their new selves in an annual fashion gala. This fall over 30 patients modeled clothes at a special evening in The Morrow Center. Most of them would never have fathomed such a celebration. With their families beaming (and tearing)in the audience, they sashayed down the catwalk. I am so proud of them and the distance these patients have come.

This is not a magic bullet, but instead a journey. Patients attend monthly support group meetings for encouragement from other patients, as well as tips for exercising and eating. Previous patients share their stories about how the surgery literally changed their lives. Our patients also meet with our licensed nurses and dietitians to learn about obesity and nutrition. Patients learn how to cook and how to order healthy meals in restaurants. The patients then know what to avoid and embrace balanced eating habits. The LAP-BAND® is the control they were missing.

Performing LAP-BAND® surgery and witnessing the metamorphosis of my patients has been the most rewarding aspect of my career. It is typical to have patients on their one year weight loss anniversary say, "Dr. Gorjala, you saved my life."

Patients begin by attending a free seminar which our team presents several times a month. During the seminar, a brief video explains the surgery itself, as well as any risks. A previous patient will share their success. I will answer any questions and demonstrate the actual band. After completing the necessary paperwork, an exam and consultation are scheduled. Our patient advocate manages all the forms and insurance authorizations, plus will discuss different payment options with the patients. Special financing is available for those without insurance or those whose insurance plan does not cover bariatric surgery.

We offer:

  • Onsite Dietitian
  • Medical Weight Loss Program
  • Onsite Psychologist
  • Onsite Radiology & Sleep Center
  • Allergan LAP-BAND® System
  • Payment/Financing Options

Call 770-897-7546 or visit www.southernregional.org to register for a seminar.

Dr. Srinivasa K. Gorjala
General & Bariatric Surgeon

 
 
 
 
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