Our team recently interviewed Dr. Deron Ludwig, St. Patrick Hospital’s Bariatric Medical Director. Dr. Ludwig answered some important – and common – questions and offered insight for those considering surgery. Read on to learn more.
How did you become involved in the field of bariatric medicine?
My first exposure to weight-loss surgery was during surgical training at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. It was apparent even then that there was a remarkable transforming power in bariatric surgery to improve the quality of life and length of life for patients suffering from severe obesity.
What should people consider before going in for bariatric surgery?
Patients should contact our office to see if they are a candidate for surgery. They should plan on attending one of our weekly new patient weight loss surgery informational seminars. They will also need to meet with our team and surgeon for an in-person consultation. The most important factor is a person being ready to make the needed lifestyle and dietary changes for long-term success!
What are some of the positive outcomes of the surgery—and any negatives?
The transformational power of weight-loss surgery is now low-risk, minimally invasive, and with improved results. The average patient we see having surgery will lose about 100 pounds. Most people having weight loss surgery will see things like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or sleep apnea go into remission. There will be improvement or resolution of most obesity-related conditions. In addition, we see dramatic improvement in wellbeing and energy. Patients should prepare for some changes in social interactions related to change in appearance and weight. They will need to be more mindful/thoughtful of food choices and nutrition. All bariatric patients will need to take vitamin supplements after operation. The relationship with food will change and we have our patients prepare for and avoid addiction transfer from food to other harmful behaviors.
Why is it important to have the bariatric medical team so involved before and after the surgery?
Our team firmly believes in pre-operative education, postoperative support, and long-term follow-up to enhance success and minimize problems. We ask our patients to let us know right away if they are experiencing weight regain or any concerning symptoms. If interventions are done early, they will be more successful.
What lifestyle changes are necessary after bariatric surgery?
Mindfulness with food choices and avoiding fast foods, snack foods, sweets, sodas, high-calorie liquids, other high-carb foods. Regular exercise is also crucial to maintaining weight-loss success.
Will a person gain the weight back?
If nothing changes with diet and lifestyle choices, then weight regain is possible or even likely. However, with effort and consistency, and careful following of new dietary guidelines along with regular activity, the expectation is for life-long weight loss success. We are here to help ensure the best long-term outcome possible.
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