Three years ago Bill Colonna weighed more than four hundred pounds. With multitudes of health problems his primary care physician told him he wouldn't live long. That's when he decided to look into gastric bypass surgery. Colonna says, "Changing your lifestyle so radically is not easy, it's anything but an easy fix. In fact, dieting is easy I could diet better than anybody. This is not easy this was the hardest thing I have ever done." In gastric bypass surgery, surgeons make a smaller stomach, about the size of an egg, and make a shortcut to the intestine so less food goes into and is used by the body.
Its major surgery and according to a new study out of the University of Washington, the risk for Medicare pattients studied shows those over 65 or younger patients with health disabilities run a higher risk of death. Lead rearcher, Dr. David Flum says, "while people are told the risk, the risk of death is anywhere between one in 500 to one in a thousand. In reality for people on Medicare, the ridk of death is more like on in 50. Reno bariatric surgeon Dr. John Ganser doesn't dispute the surgery is risky. But, he says the study doesn't look at the entire picture. First he says stats are based on open bariatric procedures. These days he says most of the surgeries are done with a laproscope--a closed procedure. That fact he says lowers complication rates. Second he says patietns need to weigh the risk of the surgery versus what future patients face being obese. Dr. Ganser says, "Four hundred thousand patients a year die from obesity related complications. Dr. Ganser says recovery and a complete life alteration, gastric bypass is not for everyone. Universlity of Washington researchers say the best results occurred when patietns went to surgeons who performed many bariatric procedures on high risk groups. Dr. Ganser says the study's definitioon of high volume was greater than 35 cases a year. Western Baraitic Institute where Dr. Ganser pratices does close to 500 cases a year. Ganser says, "definitely, the more you do the better you are."