Your Health: The 'Gastric Sleeve' Bariatric Surgery
Published November 13th, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- More than a third of American adults are defined as obese.
Some research shows weight loss surgery is one of the best ways to guarantee losing weight, and being able to keep it off.
Vertical sleeve gastrectomy, commonly known as gastric sleeve surgery, is a relatively new type of weight loss surgery that's already showing promise. Doctors say it's giving patients dramatic weight loss with fewer issues commonly associated with traditional gastric bypass.
"I was always the fat kid in school," Jarrett Thomas says, "I weighed 200 pounds in seventh grade."
At his heaviest, Thomas weighed 340 pounds.
"At 30 years old, my knees were hurting, my ankles were hurting, my back was hurting," Thomas says.
As a pastor at Lydia Baptist Church in Cross City, Thomas says food was always a big part of his life.
"My life revolves around food, as a pastor all my meetings are around lunch," he says.
Several years ago, Thomas decided weight loss surgery was the best way to begin a total transformation. After being denied by insurance for a traditional gastric bypass, Thomas was approved for the gastric sleeve.
The average human stomach can hold about a liter of food. With a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, doctors remove about two-thirds of the stomach restricting it to a tube about the size of a banana.
"With a sleeve or some of these other procedures, you may be in the bathroom vomitting if you go too fast," the director of bariatric surgery at North Florida Regional Medical Center Dr. Timothy Hipp says.
Dr. Hipp performed Thomas' surgery a little over a year ago. Using a laparoscopic camera and the aid of robotics, they're able to reshape the stomach through several small incisions.
Over 8 months, Thomas lost over 150 pounds.
"From week to week, everyone in church could just tell an amazing difference," Jarrett's mother Brenda Thomas says.
He began walking every day, and maintaining much smaller, healthier portions.
"Food all of a sudden didn't become my comfort any more," Thomas says, "There's a lot of foods I used to like and I don't like them anymore because I overate it and every time I think about that food I think about how it made me feel"
Now, at about 180 pounds, he credits surgery for finally making his weight loss a reality.
"Where the surgery really came in for me was in the moments I'd have been weak and given up, I couldn't "
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