Surgery numbers grow as Americans continue to battle obesity

Obesity continues to be one of the biggest health concerns that many face on a daily basis. The overwhelming number of Americans that are considered obese or morbidly obese has caused a surge in the number and types of surgical procedures in recent years.

“Weight-loss has become one of the number one common surgeries,” said Dr. Bassam Zakhour, a Mesquite surgeon who is on staff at several area hospitals including Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale and Lake Point Medical Center. “Morbid obesity is getting out of hand. About one-third of our population is obese or morbidly obese. This caused many problems such as diabetes and hypertension. There is no medicine that can truly help you with these like the surgery will.”

Several recent studies have determined many patients who underwent weight-loss surgeries were able to stop taking their diabetes medications within approximately 15 days. While both studies only researched a small number of patients, most of those who had the surgeries showed no signs of diabetes two years after their operations and the patients’ cholesterol levels and other heart-risk factors also improved.

“Obesity can cause health issues from high blood pressure to diabetes to sleep apnea to stroke,” Zakhour said.

It’s common for doctors to recommend weight-loss surgery for a diabetic patient who is overweight and has a body-mass index greater than 35. To qualify for the surgery a patient and their physician must determine if surgery is appropriate for the individual patient and which procedure would be best.

“I never perform weight-loss surgery on a patient until they have met with a dietician and a psychiatrist. It is a life-changing procedure and I have to know that they can handle it,” Zakhour said. “Their life will change quite a bit when the surgery is successful.”

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