Dr. Christopher Haughn, Bariatric Surgeon at Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions
Q: What are the three types of surgical weight loss methods you perform?
A: Here at Deaconess, I perform the following laparoscopic surgeries:
• Gastric bypass
• Sleeve gastrectomy
Q: How does bariatric surgery work?
A: Bariatric surgery works in one of three ways: restrictive, metabolic and malabsorption.
Restriction works by reducing hunger. It’s easier to eat less and control portions. This is done by decreasing the capacity of the stomach which keeps you from feeling as hungry; less food is more satisfying. Gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and LapBand all fall into this category.
Metabolic changes include improvement—or even resolution—of type II diabetes by improving insulin resistance. The body begins to use glucose more efficiently almost immediately after surgery. Other metabolic changes include improvement of cholesterol, as well as hormone imbalances (such as polycystic ovarian syndrome). Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy both fall into this category.
Malabsorption works by reducing the amount of calories that can be absorbed. Part of the digestive system is bypassed so that some calories aren’t absorbed. Gastric bypass falls into this category.
Q: How long does weight loss surgery last?
A: Surgery is only a small part of the weight loss journey. The malabsorption of a gastric bypass lasts one-to-two years. After that, the lifestyle changes—diet, exercise, spiritual well-being, etc.—impact the ongoing effectiveness of the procedure.
Good long term results come from adequate education and support prior to and after the surgery. Many studies show that the longer and more involved you are in a program, the better outcomes you’ll see. This is a life-long commitment.
Q: How do I know if I qualify for weight loss surgery?
A: At Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions, the process begins by attending an informational seminar for basic education and answer questions. You can get a sense of whether it’s for you.
If you decide to become part of our program, you will begin a six-to-nine month journey prior to surgery. This pre-surgical program includes:
• Insurance coverage and cost assessment
• Complete medical evaluation by our Bariatrician, Dr. David Koehler
• Treatment of any health conditions found (often working with your primary care doctor)
• Various evaluations by a dietitian, psychologist and exercise specialist
• Extensive education process emphasizing a healthier lifestyle
• Any other requirements based upon your individual needs or insurance
After those steps are completed, the patient meets with a doctor. He or she is the surgeon who will perform the bariatric procedures. We do an evaluation for surgical risk and benefit, which may require additional testing directly related to the surgery.
More education, including post-op dietary education and a detailed description of the surgery will follow. Step-by-step surgical details, including medications, processes, etc. are covered so that patients feel comfortable and know what’s to come.
Surgery is then scheduled at the completion of this education.
Q: Is Weight Loss Surgery Covered by Health Insurance?
A: Bariatric procedures are often covered by insurance. More and more, employers and insurance plans are learning the long-term benefits of surgery—both health and financial—helping to make the surgery a more available option.
If you don’t have health insurance, there is an organization called Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) that can assist people in getting their procedures covered. Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions also offers financing options.