For people battling obesity, it can be difficult to find a weight loss solution that works.
“For years, I tried everything,” recalled Sullivan resident, Katie Hoke, 44. “But after a little bit of success, I eventually returned to my old ways and ended up exactly where I started: overweight.”
Basic activities like tying her shoes had become too challenging. Hoke also struggles with diabetes and hepatitis C, which made dieting much more
difficult. However, she knew she needed to find a way to lose the weight for herself and her health.
In 2015, Thomas Jackson, MD, a primary care physician at Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital, prescribed a weight loss medication, which helped Hoke lose 50 pounds. Unfortunately, the medicine started to cause unwanted effects, so Hoke wanted another option to continue losing the weight. “I looked into lap band surgery, but didn’t feel comfortable with the procedure and the risks,” said Hoke.
Exploring Surgical Weight Loss Options
That’s when Dr. Jackson referred Hoke to Jaroslaw Michalik, MD, a general surgeon at Missouri Baptist
Sullivan Hospital. Dr. Michalik suggested gastric sleeve surgery, a newer weight loss procedure that offers several advantages compared to traditional lap-band procedures.
The Disadvantages of Lap-Band
The lap-band, or gastric band, is a form of bariatric surgery. This weight loss procedure places an inflatable silicone device around the top of the stomach to slow consumption of food. The lap-band requires some maintenance and must be adjusted on a regular basis.
“The greatest challenge with lap-band surgery is
that it simply creates a barrier to swallowing,” said Dr. Michalik. “Just like a typical diet, you end up hungry while still dealing with cravings. It’s not something that’s truly sustainable. Plus, lap-band surgery produces no metabolic effects on the body, which is key for long-term weight loss.”
The Benefits of Gastric Sleeve
With gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, more than half of the stomach is removed, leaving a thin vertical sleeve, or tube, that is about the size of a banana. A smaller stomach means patients will feel full a lot quicker than they used to, leading to less food consumption.
Gastric sleeve surgery offers several benefits when compared to the lapband procedure:
- Reduces your appetite by removing the part of the stomach that produces the hunger-inducing hormone, ghrelin.
- Requires no adjustments.
- Leaves no foreign objects, such as a silicone band, inside the body.
- Enables weight loss over 18 months instead of three years.
“Gastric sleeve is metabolic which allows your body to lose weight versus retaining, and your energy levels go up substantially,” said Dr. Michalik. “You have the energy to work out and make better food choices. More importantly, certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and sleep apnea improve dramatically.”
Watching the Weight Come Off
This change in metabolism has been the case for Hoke. She underwent gastric sleeve surgery at Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital on November 17, 2015.
After a six-week recovery, Hoke kept her commitment to alter her diet and incorporate regular exercise. She makes better food choices, and no longer drinks soda. She even keeps a food diary to help her stay on track. You’ll find her at the gym five days a week, lifting weights and doing cardio activities.
Her hard work has paid off. Six months after her surgery, Hoke had already lost more than 50 pounds.
UPDATE (2/16/2017): Katie has lost 10 points from her original BMI as expected with the Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy. Typical results post laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy include decrease of BMI by 10-15 points.
“This has been a total lifestyle change for
me. Food used to be an addiction, but with this surgery, I can’t return to my old ways anymore and I don’t want to,” said Hoke. “I feel wonderful now and have the energy to do so much more. I am more outgoing and confident than I’ve ever been.”
Hoke’s health also improved. Her blood pressure and liver enzymes are
normal, and her diabetes and COPD are under control. She no longer relies on an inhaler and doesn’t get out of breath. And she’s able to tie her shoes again.
“Katie has done beautifully since her surgery,” Dr. Michalik said. “Fortunately, she’ll continue to lose weight over the next year without coming in for any adjustments. Additionally, her body has reprogrammed itself metabolically, which is key to keeping the weight off in the long run.”
For more information about the gastric sleeve procedure, please call the
Sullivan Medical Office at 573-860-6000, ext. 1465.