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Bariatric Surgery Can Be Safer Than Living With Obesity

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Bariatric weight-loss surgery may sound dangerous and complicated, but a Geisinger physician warns that the real danger may be a life of obesity.
"There are risks associated with bariatric surgery, as there are with any surgical procedure, but the risks associated with the procedure may pale in comparison to the health complications that can be caused by obesity," said Christopher Still, D.O., director of the Geisinger Center for Nutrition and Weight Management.
Bariatric surgery is a weight-loss procedure that can help obese individuals significantly reduce their body weight and can improve a patient's overall health.
Obesity can lead to a variety of complications including sleep apnea, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and heart disease, all of which require medical attention, Dr. Still said, and patients who may be considering bariatric surgery are often burdened by one or more of these conditions.
"Some obesity-related conditions can be fatal, and others require chronic medication and treatment," Dr. Still said. "With the help of bariatric surgery, medical complications caused by obesity can be eliminated, and patients can enjoy a much healthier life."
To help alleviate a patient's fears before surgery, the bariatric team ensures that patients and their families are thoroughly informed and comfortable with the procedure. Prior to surgery, patients undergo medical, psychological and nutritional evaluations, plus they attend two patient support groups and three educational classes.
In addition to eliminating medical complications, bariatric surgery can help patients feel more in control of their lives. Many patients can perform daily tasks they were unable to accomplish before their weight loss, including driving, walking, exercising and yard work. Many times, bariatric surgery prompts patients to develop new, healthier habits, Dr. Still said.
"The benefits of bariatric surgery are much greater than simply losing a few pounds," Dr. Still said. "After surgery, patients are able to reclaim their health and their lives."
About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger is a $2.1 billion integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development and implementation of innovative care models including advanced medical home and ProvenCare ("warranty") program. The system serves more than 2.3 million residents throughout 42 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania.
Source: Geisinger Health System
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