Posted by admin on 15 August 2012 filed in Video Post
Houston weight loss surgery patient Brad took some time out recently to talk about his life after surgery. Brad has lost 125 lbs, and for him life has never been better. Brad talks about being able to now wear a suit, something he’s always wanted to do; not to mention start a garden, something he’s never done before.
Posted by admin on 15 August 2012 filed in Video Post
One of our Houston Weight loss surgery patients, Kaila recently took the time out to share her experience after having a Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy. You can watch she talks about the positive change it’s had on her marriage.
In this episode of the Houston weight loss surgery podcast, Dr. Clifton Thomas takes the top questions he gets asked and goes into detail with each of them. He even talks about how much weight someone can lose with obesity surgery.
David: Hi, this is David Dutton from houstonweightlossdoctor.com and this is another episode of the Houston weight loss podcast. I am on the phone with Dr. Clifton Thomas, Houston’s most respected bariatric surgeon. What we are going to talk about today are some of the top questions Dr. Thomas gets when it comes to Houston weight loss surgery, any type of bariatric surgery. Dr. Thomas, are you there?
Dr. Thomas: I’m here, hello David.
David: Hey. Good morning. Thanks for doing the call. We’ve got about six questions that seem to be the top questions people are asking you, so what we are going to do is to have you go through each one and have you elaborate on those. Is that o.k.?
Dr. Thomas: That’s good.
David: Let’s just say someone has done the research and they have decided that they really want to go through with the surgery. How do they get started?
Dr. Thomas: Well they get started by asking questions. That is probably the biggest obstacle that any of them have. They have figured out that diets don’t work. What can I do, maybe I should consider weight loss surgery. So they start by asking questions, then they go to the website and learn more about weight loss surgery and tap into some of the education that is on our website that goes through different modules on gastric bypass, the sleeve gastrectomy and the lap band and become a little more educated.
Then they call and make an appointment and we give free consultations for people to come in and it is really an educational visit where we start the ball rolling and find out if surgery is right for them.
David: Let’s say that someone wants to do the surgery and they have the consultation with you. Typically how long is the process?
Dr. Thomas: The process varies from person to person based on their insurance. Insurance companies sometime require a few things to be done. One is consecutive monthly diets by a dietician. It is something that has never been proven to help patients medically, but it is something they require so currently most of them are down to about three months of consecutive diets and some don’t require it. Again, that is something that has never been proven to be effective.
If they do not have those requirements, the next step is frankly finding out that their medical problems are stabilized and if they are a good candidate to go to surgery. Once that has happened we can actually proceed pretty quickly.
David: Which leads me to my next question, how long does the surgery actually take?
Dr. Thomas: The operations generally take about an hour. Lap band is a little quicker. The gastric bypass and the sleeve gastrectomy are somewhere around an hour. Most patients go home the morning after surgery and with the lap band they tend to go home the same day of surgery. I have gotten to where I do more gastric bypass and more sleeve gastrectomys and those generally go home the morning after surgery. Generally doing everything within a week.
David: Oh wow, which is actually another reason why someone should look at the sleeve surgery versus having lap band. I know we talked about that on another podcast that it is kind of a more outdated procedure so the sleeve will help you recover quicker.
Dr. Thomas: Well the sleeve definitely does more of the work to help you lose weight and help keep it off than does the band and that’s because there are some chemical changes that go on in your body that truly does some of the work for you so it is a better tool. That’s the way I like to think about is.
David: So, how long was the person usually in the hospital?
Dr. Thomas: Usually overnight and sometimes one more night, but that’s all. They go home and once they go home they actually return to some activities right away. Often doing things like going to one of their kid’s baseball games maybe the second day after surgery.
David: That is amazing how far we have come along. The next day or maybe a couple days after you are returning to normal life. That is amazing.
Dr. Thomas: It really is amazing because I have done it long enough to have seen it both ways.
David: So the big question that people are wanting to know is, how much weight will I lose?
Dr. Thomas: Yes that is interesting. What is interesting about surgery is that there is something that magically goes on about surgery where people tend to lose somewhere around twelve to fifteen pounds that first week. Now that is the water weight that are body’s really holding on to and it’s weight that diuretics and those kind of things don’t really get rid of. It’s a very unhealthy weight, so it’s not muscle and fat that you are losing, it’s water weight that your body is trying to hold on.
After you have lost that twelve to fifteen pounds that first week you already feel a whole lot better. So patients walk into the office a week after surgery and they look like they have never had an operation. They are already feeling better, their blood pressure is already better, their diabetes is already better. It is pretty amazing to see that rapid of a response.
Generally by the end of the first month with the gastric bypass and the sleeve gastrectomy they are going to lose somewhere in the twenty five pound range the first month which may be twenty five percent of what they need to lose or it may be more. With these operations we are talking about getting to their desired weight sometime within a year.
David: OK, that’s awesome. They’ve got to feel like a million bucks. I know they are recovering from surgery, but after the surgery it’s just got to be an amazing transformation. I seen some of the pictures of your clients and it is hard to grasp that it is the same person.
Dr. Thomas: It really is amazing. I’ve again been doing it for quite a while and I enjoy seeing it and am amazed every day as well as the patients and family and everyone else involved.
David: So let me ask you this, does the procedure ever fail? Is there actually a chance that someone will gain their weight back?
Dr. Thomas: We do have failures. There are more failures with the lap band because again you don’t get the chemical changes in your body that helps you do some of the work. With all three operations, the most important thing for long term success is to stay focused, start developing good habits, good eating habits.
In the beginning particularly with gastric bypass and the sleeve gastrectomy, you are kind of driven to do that anyway so it’s really a good time to establish those habits and I think it takes one to two years to get habits firmly established. If you rely on the operation to do all the work for you then you are going to regain some weight or possibly regain a lot of weight.
David: That is one of the things I want to talk to you about here in the future is developing good habits. I know you try to live the life that you actually teach your patients. You try to live a balanced life and I know you go to the gym every day so in a future podcast I want to talk about how do you personally develop good eating habits and good exercise habits and that type of thing because it is really important.
Dr. Thomas: I would enjoy that. It is something I spend a lot of time with. It’s something we talk about every day in the office when patients come back.
David: One of the cool things I know your office does that not every bariatric surgeon does in Houston, is you have a nutrionist on staff and I believe a counselor, correct me if I am wrong, but a counselor that kind of works with people after the fact, after they have surgery so people can actually continue their success so they don’t gain they weight back.
Dr. Thomas: Well, that is correct and recently we are trying to kick that up several levels where we can have online access to both the dietician for nutritional information, where to shop, what to buy, how to eat and also with our counselor for just emotional support. One thing she does right now is talks to patients after that first visit because I recently realized that first visit is a really big thing for patients.
They have really had to overcome quite a few obstacles to get into the office and it is hugely emotional. They blame themselves for not being successful, so it is a really good time to talk to somebody I did a gastric bypass on eight years ago and her background was counseling and she is a warm fuzzy person that is easy to communicate with and understands what they are going through.
David: She was actually a patient of yours?
Dr. Thomas: Yes. I did a gastric bypass on her about eight years ago.
David: Wow. That is amazing. That’s really cool.
Dr. Thomas: Then our dietician as well, she is extremely knowledgeable. One of her big jobs is providing the insurance companies with the information that they need, but we are really going to try to tap into her amazing knowledge and her ability to teach and share that with patients.
David: That is very cool and again this is not common. You would think it would be with a lot of physicians but what you are offering is not that common so it is really good to take advantage of that.
Dr. Thomas: A lot of physicians have dieticians on staff and have access to emotional counseling through colleagues and things like that, but the online webinars and access in that manner as well as phone consultations, that is not done a lot.
David: Yes, and that is extremely important. Let’s talk about the last question, does Dr. Thomas take out of the area or out of state patients? Talk to us about that.
Dr. Thomas: So the lap band in my mind is not a real good choice for people traveling to have the procedure done because the office follow up is intensive and they also need to come every two weeks . They need to easily be able to get from where they are to the office. With the lap band you are much more likely to have failure by not being able to keep this intense office visit regimen going so I do not choose to do people traveling with the lap band surgery.
The sleeve gastrectomy is a pretty safe operation. It is a pretty easy operation for people to travel, get the operation, get information and go home and start doing a lot of the follow up over the phone and through these webinars to give them the information they need for long term success. The gastric bypass is a pretty complex operation.
It is not an operation I encourage people to travel with because you really want to be there if they are having any issues after surgery. We have a very low incidence of complications, as low as any in the industry but the fact is they can happen and you want them to be fairly close to you, within a couple of hours.
David: OK. Awesome.
Dr. Thomas: So the sleeve gastrectomy is a great operation and I have had patients that have traveled. They usually know me through another patient and they have traveled from another state and they have done very, very well.
David: That’s great. That is very interesting to know. You have actually educated me about that as we talked before the call. I didn’t know that people actually even did that, but it makes sense especially if someone has already had success with you. You have tons of success stories and people like to do business that they know, like and trust. This is a very serious topic and if they have had a friend that has had success with you and they are definitely interested in traveling because they know you are good at what you do.
Dr. Thomas: I agree, it is the best way to get any patient.
David: Well thank you so much for doing this podcast, I really appreciate it and we will be talking next week.
In this episode of the Houston weight loss surgery podcast, Dr. Thomas goes over what life is like after surgery and what you can expect the first 30 days.
David: Hey this is David Dutton from houstonweightloss doctor.com. This is another episode from Houston Weight Loss Podcast. I am on the phone with Dr. Clifton Thomas, Houston’s most respected bariatric surgeon and today we are going to talk about what happens after the surgery. What is it like, what can you expect, you know. What is your life going to be like and we are just going to get his thoughts from talking to people and patients after the surgery and just what people can expect maybe the first thirty days and the first ninety days, that type of thing. Dr. Thomas, are you there?
Dr. Thomas: Hello David.
David: Awesome, Good morning, how are you?
Dr. Thomas: I’m great, how are you?
David: Pretty good. I am always excited. I always learn something on every single call. Last episode we talked about how people actually travel to get weight loss surgery done and I didn’t even know that even existed. It’s interesting, I figured everybody always went local. I am always excited about these podcasts. So as I talked in the introduction, what I want to talk about today, is what happens after the surgery.
The scenario is someone came into your office, they did the consultation, they went through whatever procedure was best for them, and now they have what we call their “new life”. They’ve got their new life now of being skinny, so I want to know what someone can expect say the first thirty days. Now let’s just talk about that. What are some of the things that go on? What are some of the things that people need to know about?
Dr. Thomas: Great David. Before I start talking about what happens the first thirty days, I want to emphasis the part that patients are really looking for and what life is like after surgery. It’s their body changing in lots and lots of ways that they can feel like they can go out and play with their kids and grandkids. They sleep better at night and are getting more oxygen because their sleep apnea is gone, so they wake up feeling more rested and ready to tackle the day. They are able to fit into their clothes and buckle their seat belt and cross their legs and so many things that make your day to day life better.
So that’s really what life is like after surgery, but there is a process and the process starts with the initial phase of just getting over surgery. Because we do these operations laparoscopically, that part is pretty fast. People generally at the end of the first week are feeling one hundred percent more in some ways better because they have already lost some water weight that is uncomfortable. So they do have to go through a phase that takes with gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy and the lap band on their eating. And for the first really month or so it is just really adjusting to the operation .
For the first phase they basically start on liquids and then advance to very soft foods like watered down mashed potatoes and then soft food that requires chewing and then pretty much regular food, but it needs to be moist, chewable food and generally at that point they are somewhere around a month or so after the operation. At that point and soon after that they are going to get to the volume of food that is really where we are going to want them to stay for life, which is generally a child size plate of food- four to six ounces. That amount of food should keep them full and satisfied for about four hours.
What they will notice, the key thing they will notice are the very specific things that change in their day to day life which is just an emotional event for them to fell that and notice it and know that it’s better.
David: Yes, I am so glad that you brought that up. I think about that a lot because it’s like your thoughts and emotions dictate your actions. How long have you been doing these procedures?
Dr. Thomas: I started doing laparoscopic gastric bypass in 2000, so eleven years and then moved into the lap band surgery in Houston in 2002 and started doing the sleeve gastrectomy in 2007. I do a combination of all three, but primarily the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy these days.
David: OK. That emotional feeling that people get, can you just describe that? I’m talking the response that people are getting in your office. You know you meet with people every day and they have these great success stories. Can you just talk about some of the things they say to you and some of the things they are feeling emotionally?
Dr. Thomas: I do and it’s just incredible fun because I more recently learned that it’s really important to go from some kind of abstract thing like I just feel better, my life is better. So whenever I push a patient, I say I understand that your life is better, but tell me really specifically what’s better and that is when they light up like a Christmas tree.
For example there was a lady in my office yesterday afternoon and her thing was being able to cross both of her legs and put them in a chair and she did it and when she did it she lit up like a Christmas tree. I turned to her husband and I said, “Did you see that”? Did you see how she lit up like that because she can do this thing she couldn’t do before? It’s really amazing to see and experience. To get that lit up emotion you have to get them to say exactly what has changed.
Like one lady said, “I can go to Victoria Secret and buy a bra off the rack” and she just lit up from the fact that she can do that now.
David: Yes that’s cool. That’s the answers. I always tell people when I’m working with them in my own business, don’t give me the surface answer, give me the real world, what are you thinking about in your heart of hearts answer. That’s cool. They want to go to Victoria Secret, they want to cross their legs, they want to walk around their child’s or grandchild’s ball park while they are plating a baseball game or whatever it is and not be out of breath and different things like that.
Dr. Thomas: So unfortunately us doctors like to focus on the medical benefits which really are unparalleled in recent times on how we get people off bottles and bottles of medicine and resolve diabetes and hyper tension and hyperlipidemia and sleep apnea and it goes on and on. But really what the patient likes is being able to go to Victoria Secret and buy a bra off the rack and just feel better.
David: Oh wow, that’s amazing. So what happens, say after the first month, what are some of the things people experience after surgery?
Dr. Thomas: Well, they do experience the emotion of thinking I’m afraid it’s not going to work for me because they will lose weight and it will plateau and lose weight and it’s just the way our bodies are readjusting and it really doesn’t have much to do with what is going on with them.
They do have a lot of self doubt. They tend to get on the scales and weigh a lot and I ask them not to because I think it gives them more bad information than good information because it’s really just reflecting their water balance and not really how they are losing weight.
They should pay more attention to how their clothes fit and change. Things like that. So they are going through those kinds of things and generally they march through the year, again with the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, it kind of drives you to want to follow all these eating rules that we want patients to follow for long term success. That’s the main thing they need to focus on. Yes I had this operation and it’s nothing more than a tool to help me do what I need to do.
It’s pretty easy right now and I need to establish those habits so they will be with me ten and twenty years from now.
David: That’s good. Dr. Thomas, thank you so much. This has been a phenomenal episode. This is some great stuff and you are doing a lot of great things helping people to shop at Victoria Secret and helping women to cross their legs and a lot of other good stuff. Thank you so much for doing the podcasts for this week. I really appreciate it.
In this episode of the Houston weight loss surgery podcast, Dr. Thomas takes on the topic of Houston lap band surgery. Dr. Thomas shares a different perspective than the other weight loss surgeons in Houston.
David: Hi this is David Dutton, I would like to welcome you to the Houston weight loss podcast. Today we are going to talk about lap band surgery, a very controversial topic and as usual I have the most respected bariatric surgeon in Houston on the phone with me, Dr. Clifton Thomas. Cliff are you there?
Dr. Thomas: Yes I am.
David: Thank you so much for doing the podcast. It’s always exciting to have you on as a guest. Today we are going to talk about lap band surgery. You have a different take on it. I thought it was very interesting when we spoke before. It’s a very popular surgery, a lot of people know about it, but you are going to give us a different take on it, in fact I believe you are going to give us five reasons why you should not do lap band surgery. So this should be an interesting podcast. I am going to go ahead and turn it over to you. Give us your thoughts on it first and then you can go ahead and give us the reasons.
Dr. Thomas: A lot of people are aware of lap band surgery. It has been out there for quite a while. The primary way that operation works is that it allows you to get full on a small amount of food, but it is a mechanical device and the stomach itself is not like a black box it is something that is very pliable, it’s like a balloon. It doesn’t have the same volume and shape all the time.
We would like to it to work very specifically always controlling the exact volume of food and the fact is it really doesn’t do that but it is a tool and if it was the only surgery that we had today to help people lose weight it would be so far and above anything you could do on your own, but we have two other procedures that are better.
So one of the reasons not to do it is to look at other procedures because we have 2 other procedures that work better and I will tell you why that is. The biggest issue with the lap band is that it is a mechanical device that doesn’t function exactly the same in everybody, but even more than that with these other procedures we get chemical changes in our body that actually drive us and help us and gets rid of those nagging drives to eat all kinds of bad food. We have chemical changes that work against that and the lap band doesn’t have that.
David: That’s something that a lot of Drs. Don’t talk about. I have not heard that before.
Dr. Thomas: It’s also interesting, I have been doing the lap band since 2002 . It was approved in the United sates in June of 2002 and I started in November so I have done it about as long as anybody in Texas. What I have found over time is that I have lots of success, but I also have had some failures.
So I have really been able to spate in my mind what are some of the things that make people successful with the lap band and what I have found out that is people who are really good planners and they are really focused on planning their day and actually and almost get a little anxiety if they can’t follow the plan of the day- they are almost OCD, having some obsessive compulsive behavior, it’s relative to being able to follow the plan.
Those people do excellent with the sleeve. It also requires someone that can make lots of office visits over the year whereas the other two procedures don’t require that. The people that have the band, even if they are good planners and are OCD need to come to the office at least twelve to twenty times over a year to be successful and start eliminating bad habits. And use the band properly.
In fact a lot of people aren’t OCD about planning and they live haphazardly, they will have good plans about doing things better, but they just don’t accomplish it. Those are people that really struggle being successful with the band
David: One of the things you actually mentioned was that the success rate was actually less than the sleeve.
Dr. Thomas: That’s right it is less than then sleeve and the gastric bypass and the reason is that they are simply better tools. They do more of the work for you.
David: Talk briefly about the two other types of surgery, the two other options that someone has.
Dr. Thomas: The gastric bypass has been around for a long time an we have learned a lot from it and the sleeve has been around for a shorter amount of time, but the longer we do the sleeve we realize it has most if not the same benefits of the gastric bypass, but being a less complex procedure which means less chance of having complications or issues.
So with both of these operations we are finding that there are all sorts of chemicals in our bodies that drive us to maintain our weight and if our body senses that there is something really wrong then we lose weight. We have all of these chemicals driving us .not to lose the weight that we currently have. The magic about both the sleeve and the gastric bypass is that they change those chemicals in our body immediately the day of surgery that stops that drive to maintain that same weight.
David: Oh wow, those are some interesting things. I know there are some other podcasts where we are going to talk about willpower and mechanisms. I don’t know what you call them, safety mechanisms or defense mechanisms that your body has. I know you have talked about them before and we’ll do that in another podcast. It’s a very interesting topic that people need to be educated about and know what is out there.
Dr. Thomas: So I mentioned the lap band and it is nothing more than an inner tube that we place around the top part of the stomach and inflate with saline and make it tighter or if it is too tight, make it loose. The problem with that is what we all have experienced, we know where to put it and how to put it in there, but nevertheless it doesn’t always function the same for everybody and on occasion the band slips out of position which is prolapse in which case it blocks the stomach and you have to go in and have that surgically repaired.
People think of the band as less invasive, but there is that issue of mechanical failure or prolapsed and slipping out of position that between five and ten percent of the time they have to go back to surgery and have the band removed because of that.
David: Which means more money and more time and people are trying to conserve that as is so that can be a huge problem.
Dr. Thomas: I do want to emphasize again that it is the least invasive procedure, in other words there is less risk of having a complication at the time of surgery, but the complications with the two other procedures are low, actually less that gall bladder surgery. The chance of having a mechanical issue that causes the procedure to not work well for you is higher.
David: Very interesting. Dr. Thomas, thank you so much for answering the lap band surgery question. I really appreciate the information you shared today.
Dr. Thomas: It’s been a pleasure.
David: If you want to contact Dr. Thomas, you can go to houstonweightlossdoctor.com you can actually ask Dr. Thomas your most important questions about weight loss surgery and he will answer it in a consultation. So go to houstonweightlossdoctor.com and check it out.
If you are considering weight loss surgery in Houston,TX, this episode of our podcast with Dr. Thomas shares several tips that will help you prepare for obesity surgery.
David: Hi this is David Dutton from Houston Weight Loss podcast and today I’ve got my special guest, Dr. Cliff Thomas and he is the most respected bariatric surgeon in Houston. He is going to give us five tips today on preparing for weight loss surgery. If you decide to go through with weight loss surgery, what can you do to prepare and what is that like. Dr. Thomas has been doing bariatric surgery for many, many years and he can give you the hot tips that you need to know to go through with it, so Dr. Thomas are you there?
Dr. Thomas: Hello
David: Hey thanks for doing the podcast. I appreciate it. I’m going to go ahead and give you the mike and you can start with an introduction and maybe some of your top tips for someone that is thinking about doing the weight loss surgery. What can they do to prepare for it?
Dr. Thomas: Well preparing for weight loss surgery tells me one thing, that you have already gotten over the biggest hurdle because right now we are only operating on one percent of the population that can benefit from this and we see the benefits all the time and it’s amazing to see these medical problems resolved and people’s quality of life improved. Once people start asking questions and consider weight loss surgery, they have really gotten over a huge obstacle. So the first step is actually educating yourself about the procedure.
The good news is that you are starting to ask questions so you need to start off educating yourself. There is some good information and some mis information o nt he internet. Going to my website for example and going through the educational modules that help educate you about specific procedures and asking your doctor questions is a very good way to get information. Sometimes you can see somebody who has had weight loss surgery and ask them questions.
What you will find is that they are always biased toward the procedure they have been successful with and that may not be the best procedure for you so you really have to start at square one on education to figure out which of the three procedures that are commonly done fits you best.
David: I am glad you brought that out because I know win another podcast we talked lap band surgery which is extremely popular, It’s almost what you think about when someone has weight loss surgery and it’s not the only option, in fact in the podcast you mentioned several reasons why you shouldn’t get lap band surgery so that’s a great thought you brought up about just because your best friend had great success with a certain procedure doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you.
It’s definitely best to get educated, speaking of which you actually have a section on the website houstonweightlossdoctor.com where somebody can actually ask you a question, their most important questions about having weight loss surgery. People can go to the website and click on the image and just fill out their question and it’s totally anonymous as well and get educated about it.
Dr. Thomas: I am excited to be able to share and help.
David: What are some other tips we need to think about?
Dr. Thomas: Well there are some more boring things that have to do with your insurance approval, being able to pay for your surgery is important. Those kind of things are available through our website as well. You need to get your medical records from your doctors. You need to think if you can get any documentation from weight loss help in the past and on the medical side the most important things that we do the surgery to help people get rid of serious medical problems.
We want to make sure that they are stabilized and in the best medical condition possible at the time we are doing the surgery. You need to see your primary medical doctor prior to surgery and make sure that all your current medical problems are stabilized.
David: Interesting. And any insurance tips? You said you need to check with your insurance. Is their any quick insurance tip they need to know about?
Dr. Thomas: Once you plug into the Doctors office, on every procedure and everything we do , we check and see what insurance benefits you have. Unfortunately some insurance companies exclude bariatric . And fortunately just recently the American Diabetic Association not only endorses gastric bypass for diabetes, they highly encourage it. They equated to insurance companies not covering heart surgery ,for example. It’s of that importance. We know it’s important, we have been doing it for years.
We just really haven’t been getting word out. You need to know if you have a bariatric exclusion on your insurance policy. We check that, but can also check that yourself. If you have an exclusion, then you need to start figuring out, well what else can I do, how can I pay for that and we do have some ways to do that. We also have on my website an affordability calculator. If you are wondering if you can afford it, believe it or not by having weight loss surgery and losing weight, you save money. The little calculator can help you determine that.
David: Oh that’s a very cool thing. I didn’t know you offered that. I like that. Well, Dr. Thomas thank you so much for doing this podcast this week I really appreciate it. There are some great tips and look forward to having you next week.
If you are interested or thinking about weight loss surgery and wondering if it’s for you, we have some great podcasts and some great videos and articles by Dr. Thomas at houstonweightlossdoctor.com. You can check it out, it’s completely free and you can even ask Dr. Thomas a question and it’s completely free as well. All right, thank you again.
In this recent Houston weight loss surgery podcast, Dr. Thomas shares 5 ways to know if you are a good candidate for any sort of obesity or bariatric surgery in Houston. You can watch the video or we have made the transcript available below the video as well.
David: Hi this is David Dutton from houstonweightlossdoctor.com and this is a Houston weight loss podcast. Today I am interviewing Dr. Clifton Thomas, Houston’s most respected bariatric surgeon. I have him on the phone with me today and he is going to talk about five ways to know if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery. It is not for everyone and you need to decide if it’s for you. You need to get educated on whether you are a good candidate to be successful with it. Dr. Thomas, are you there?
Dr. Thomas: Hello, hi David.
David: Awesome, thanks so much for doing the podcast. I appreciate it.
Dr. Thomas: You are welcome.
David: So you are going to give us five ways to know if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery. I am going to go ahead and give you the microphone. You can start with any information that you may want to share with us and maybe some reasons why someone should consider weight loss surgery.
Dr. Thomas: Yes, so thank you. In trying to figure out if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery is a very medical way to think of what is required to be approved for your insurance company , what is going to be approved by doctors, What the patient is thinking is how do I solve these problems that are occurring in my everyday life. I do want to talk a little about that at the end. I am going to potentially bore you a little bit with the basic medical issues and we use a thing called BMI. It is nothing more than your height and weight calculations that you can get through any internet calculator.
Basically a BMI of 35 and above makes you a candidate for weight loss surgery. Now more recently with the lap band the FDA approved it for people with a BMI of 30, which is lower, so it means that they are finally starting to figure out that people benefit from a tool like weight loss surgery even if you are not really, really overweight which has been our mentality for many, many years. I think that is really important to know. The real issue is if your weight is really affecting your daily life.
So can you do something about that without a tool and if you need a tool which are the best tools for you. So simply being overweight and having serious medical problems like hypertension, diabetes, problems with your colsterol, acid reflux, knee problems. Those are serious medical problems, but we resolve most of those with weight loss surgery. We get ninety five percent of the people on insulin off insulin for diabetes. It is huge. The American Diabetic Association just endorsed gastric bypass surgery.
David: Oh wow that’s a big deal.
Dr. Thomas: It’s a huge deal and they are emphasizing why that works and people are starting to listen. To see people get off bottles and bottles of medication for high blood pressure, diabetes, and for people to wake up in the morning and feel like they are ten years younger because they actually slept through the night because they are actually getting plenty of oxygen because their sleep apnea has been resolved is huge.
One of the key things that tells you if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery is if you know that you are overweight and you know that it is effecting your daily life and also you have tried every diet in the world and you know they just don’t work and you tend to blame yourself but if you look around you know they aren’t successful for anybody else long term either. So it’s not you. It’s the complex problem of maintaining the weight and not really having a good tool to solve the problem.
David: You know one of the things I was thinking about when you mentioned the lack of sleep, I am very visual in my mind and one of your client’s testimonials on your site, I don’t remember who she is but, she has a new life. You do these free new life consultations with people and I just like the fact that you are giving people a new life after weight loss surgery. Someone who is on a lot of pills doesn’t have to be and someone on insulin may not need it after the surgery and they can actually sleep through the night which some people take for granted. To some people it’s a big deal.
So you have talked about some of the medical stuff, what are some of the desires that people have and what are some of the benefits that people have after the surgery. I know some people have knee pain before the surgery. What are some of the things they can do now after surgery?
Dr. Thomas: Well you are right this is the truly most exciting part of this because when people say their life is better, I want to know specifically what is better. When they start telling me that the emotions and the quality of the emotions that you can sit there and read and watch that unfold in front of you are huge and fun to see.
So when people tell you that they have need able to cross their legs for the first time and to see what big a deal that is is amazing to see. They talk about the fact that they haven’t been able to play with their kids or grand kids and now they can get out there and do all kinds of things. More specifically they can run and play ball and participate in all the different sports and what a big deal it is for them to have better quality time with their kids because they can be more active.
You mentioned the knee pain that is one of the biggest reasons people say that gosh the diets not working, I know I am gaining weight and my knees are getting worse and it doesn’t make sense to mechanically fix something and put all that weight on it so they start considering weight loss surgery. Unbearable knee pain is a huge reason people consider weight loss surgery.
David: We are running out of time. Any closing thoughts on if anyone should consider or if they wonder if they are a candidate for weight loss surgery?
Dr. Thomas: Well starting to ask questions is the way to go. There is some mis information on the internet. The best thing is to go into some of these education modules. I have some on my website. Click on education and it tells you about the band bypass and sleeve. That’s a good starting place and then it’s probably time to meet a doctor and talk.
David: Speaking of which, if you go to houstonweightlossdoctor.com, you can actually ask Dr. Thomas completely free, your most important questions about having weight loss surgery. Go to houstonweightlosssurgery.com and if you click on the image at the top and you can go to a page and fill out a form and ask your question and get educated before you make a decision and you can actually get the correct information instead of scouring the internet and reading other peoples random thoughts, which can be dangerous by the way and talk you into something or out of something.
It’s best just to like you said Dr. Thomas to go right to the source and the expert on the topic. So again thank you so much for doing this podcast this week and for the great information.