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Category Archives: Bariatric Surgery

The Limitations of BMI and the Simple Measurement You Should Do at Home

November 23, 2022

Pink measuring tape coiled onto of a scale

Back in the 1950s, an actuarial calculation known as the Metropolitan Life (MetLife) Height-Weight Table gave us a straightforward range of ideal body weights. While the underlying data was criticized as inconsistent, it considered age, body frame size, and gender. The tables were revised in the 1980s. However, the Body Mass Index, or BMI soon supplanted this widely used calculation. Interestingly, the BMI is an even older height/weight comparison that provides an easy-to-understand double-digit number showing where one lands on the scale between underweight and morbidly obese. When the underlying formula for BMI was created in the late 1800s, it was not meant to be a measure of obesity but has been adapted and adopted as such.

Today, governments, medical practices, and individuals use this calculation as the primary criterion to determine a person’s eligibility for bariatric surgery. Insurance companies even use the BMI to assess the coverage of weight loss procedures, medications, and programs. As you probably know, a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese, while a BMI of 40 or more is morbidly obese.

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Gastric Sleeve Scars – Are They Big and Will They Go Away?

September 14, 2022

Man posting to a small scar on his abdomen after bariatric surgery

Scarring after any surgery is a concern. If you are considering a bariatric procedure or gastric sleeve, you may be wondering how big the scars will be after surgery and whether they will be visible longer-term. In this blog, Dr. Abbas will walk you through what scarring looks like, who is more prone to scarring, and tips and tricks to minimize them.

Hi everyone, it’s Dr. Abbas, and I wanted to talk to you a little bit about scarring. It’s a good topic to discuss and probably on your mind now that you are considering bariatric surgery. First, I want to mention that scarring is a natural part of the body’s healing process, and it is inevitable even in modern-day surgery. There have been techniques and technologies created to address scarring, but we don’t yet have a totally reliable scarless option for bariatric surgery. That said, we perform virtually all our bariatric procedures using minimally invasive techniques with or without robotic surgery. These techniques use tiny incisions and small medical devices to access the abdomen. Using these technologies has reduced scarring along with the risk of incisional hernias.

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Discussing Your Decision to Have Bariatric Surgery With Family and Friends

July 27, 2022

Friends discuss the decision to pursue weight loss surgery and how to support one another

Sometimes the most challenging part about making a life-changing decision such as having bariatric surgery is talking to your family and friends. Often, people spend days or months contemplating their decision before discussing it with their loved ones. Remember that the decision to have bariatric surgery is a personal one. You can consider your loved one’s opinions, but ultimately, the decision is yours. It is your body, your life, and your conclusion. Let’s break down how to approach discussing the subject of bariatric surgery, what to expect from your loved ones, and considering others’ thoughts.

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Using Photos to Jumpstart Your Weight Loss

May 16, 2022

Woman takes selfie to track her weight loss progress after weight loss surgery in Jacksonville, FL

When dealing with excess weight and obesity, you may avoid taking photos and videos on vacations or family get-togethers. You may even dislike looking in the mirror. However, doing so can be a great way to jumpstart your weight loss and keep yourself motivated as you begin to lose weight.

Before bariatric surgery, many patients recall the moment that they looked at a recent photo of themselves. Some declare that they didn’t even recognize themselves. They looked older and larger than they believed themselves to be. However, that stark realization finally allows many patients to come to terms with where they are and where they need to go. It is often when they realize that they can’t do it by themselves. There’s just too much weight to lose.

But even after surgery, photos and journaling play a big part in success. We suggest taking pictures of yourself every few weeks during the first six months to a year after surgery, and after that time, taking a photo once every 2 to 3 months helps see your longer-term progress. Journaling your progress is also a great way not only to lose more weight but to remind yourself of how far you’ve come, especially when you’re feeling down or unmotivated.

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Another Reason to Lose Weight and Get Healthier – Your Kids

April 6, 2022

Grandmother prepares a healthy meal with her daughter and grandsons to promote healthy habits with the whole family after her bariatric surgery at MASJax in Jacksonville, FL

One of the most common reasons our patients consider bariatric surgery is that they want to be around for their kids or grandkids. This is a great reason to get healthy and a noble goal for getting started on a weight loss program. However, a more profound and arguably even more important reason revolves around those same kids. Kids tend to mimic and follow the behaviors and habits that they see from their parents and grandparents.

So yes, while you may get to enjoy your kids more than you do now, you may also be saving them from severe metabolic disease later in life.

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Does a Water Fast Make Sense for a Bariatric Patient?

March 23, 2022

Glasses of water keep you hydrated while doing a water only fast, but MASJax weighs in on if this is safe

You may have come across intermittent fasting in your diet research. Intermittent fasting is one of the few dietary programs that isn’t a fad and has a basis in research and history. Humans have fasted out of necessity, religiously or for weight loss purposes, for hundreds if not thousands of years. Fasting has proven to be relatively successful in helping patients lose weight.

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Navigating the Pre-op Bariatric Liver Shrink Diet

February 9, 2022

A pre-op liquid diet based on primarily protein shakes can feel overwhelming, but the bariatric team at MASJax shares tips

Depending on your circumstance, your bariatric surgeon may require that you participate in a low-calorie preoperative liver shrink diet, lasting anywhere from five days to two weeks, several weeks prior to surgery. This diet is very restrictive and like what you will experience in the liquid diet for the first week or so after surgery. And there is very good reason for this. When we perform bariatric surgery, we are visualizing the abdominal cavity and stomach. The liver is close by, and a larger, fattier liver means less visibility. As you can imagine, visibility is one of the most important components of a successful laparoscopic or robotic surgical procedure.

With our patients suffering from morbid or even extreme obesity, the safety and effectiveness of the bariatric procedure may be compromised without this preoperative diet.

How Do I Get Through This Diet?

Many patients look at the pre-op liver shrink diet with trepidation. How is it possible to eat just several hundred calories a day and keep my head on straight? To be sure it is daunting; but we first must remember that this is a necessity for a safer and more effective procedure. As such, it should be taken seriously.

Second, this pre-op diet gives you a glimpse into what you will experience in the first weeks after bariatric surgery. Remember, today you have all your faculties about you, but after surgery, you will be recovering from physical trauma, as well as some brain fog associated with the anesthesia and maybe a couple days of narcotic medication. Knowing what to expect now can help you be sure to follow the appropriate diet later.

Third, remember that the first two days are the hardest and it gets easier from there. You may have tried to fast before, and you’ll probably remember that you had a day or two of feeling downright terrible — hungry, headache and more. This is totally normal and usually subsides by day three. In fact, halfway through your first week, you should feel more energy and just feel better than you may have in a long time.

This is also a reminder of what a big decision you’ve made. You may have had your share of naysayers tell you that bariatric surgery is the easy way out. However, nothing could be further from the truth. This is the first glimpse of the challenges you will face as you lose weight and change your life. Nothing is easy, so be sure to redouble your efforts and follow your pre-op diet closely. It’ll serve to get you started on the right track.

Finally, remember that you are not alone. You can always contact us for guidance. Beyond our practice, which will be side-by-side with you throughout this journey, there are friends, family members and prior bariatric patients who can support you and cheer you on as you claim your new life.

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Getting Over the Hump of Bariatric Preop Testing

November 26, 2021

One of the biggest hurdles to patients looking to have bariatric surgery involves preop testing. And while we would love to provide each patient with a quick way to push through to surgery, pre op testing plays an incredibly important role in the safety and effectiveness of the bariatric procedure. Cardiovascular and pulmonary testing helps ensure that the patient is suitable for surgery and that the anesthesia and trauma to the body from the surgical procedure doesn’t cause significant issues. Psychological testing is also used to make the patient aware of their responsibilities after surgery dash mostly that surgery is not a magic bullet dash and prepare them for what’s to come.

Patient and provider complete required pre-op testing before bariatric surgery for a safe procedure and to meet insurance guidelines for weight loss surgery

Most of our patients start their weight loss surgery process with a great deal of enthusiasm and motivation. But as they start navigating what can be up to six months of pre-operative preparation, they can become frustrated and ultimately drop out from the process. So, what can we do to keep that motivation level up and push through the pre-op process as quickly and efficiently as possible?

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Talking To Family and Friends About Your Weight Loss Surgery Decision

November 12, 2021

You are in an incredible place. You’ve done the research, met, and chosen a surgeon, feel comfortable with the staff and the support plan, and above all else, are putting yourself first for probably the first time in quite a while. You are ready to have bariatric surgery and are committed to whatever it takes to ensure the success of your procedure and the long-term results.

Friends exercise together and discuss the choice to have weight loss surgery and how to support your friend through their bariatric surgery journey

What many of us forget to add to our checklist are the very real conversations that need to be had with family and friends. Some of you have already done this, weighing their opinions and thoughts during the decision-making process. While some have family and friends who are solid sounding boards and cheerleaders for their life decisions, not everyone has that type of support system. Some actually have friends and family who have not only challenged their decision to undergo surgery but have probably even contributed to the negative feelings about themselves and led to the coping behaviors, like food, which medicated these tough relationships for years.

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What To Eat and What to Avoid for Optimal Gut Health

October 29, 2021

Most Americans are concerned about their health to some degree. And while there are certain diseases that rightly get plenty of attention, others, including those of the colon don’t get nearly as much press as they deserve. In fact, colon cancer is a leading killer of men and women in the United States, but it also represents one of the most preventable and treatable cancers. Unfortunately, however, many patients do not prioritize their colon health the way they should. Cancer is not the only concern when it comes to colon health. Several conditions that affect the colon can be disruptive, or in some cases, even life-threatening if left untreated. While gut health is often a sign of general health, there are certain foods we can eat and others to avoid to keep our guts as healthy as possible, even in our later years.

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