Every year, thousands of patients struggle to overcome severe weight issues and the serious medical conditions that accompany them, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. For some, bariatric surgery, more commonly called weight loss surgery, may be a lifesaver.
For others, however, bariatric surgery isn't even an option because their weight exceeds medical standards and makes surgery too risky. That is, until now. A new procedure, only being performed locally at Catholic Health's Sisters of Charity Hospital, called Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD-DS) is offering new hope for some of the area's heaviest and most at-risk patients.
"Patients who have reached a BMI of 50 or more live with significant health risks," said Dang Tuan Pham, MD, of Buffalo Minimally Invasive Weight Loss Surgical Solutions, who performs the BPD-DS procedure at Sisters Hospital. "This surgery can help mitigate some of these risks and restore a quality of life these patients may not have enjoyed for years."
BPD-DS restricts food by removing a large portion of the stomach and creating a small, tube-like stomach pouch. Next, a large portion of the small intestine is bypassed, reducing the amount of calories, fat, protein and nutrients the body can absorb. Due to its complexity, this procedure is often performed as an "open surgery," requiring a large incision in the patient's abdomen. With the expertise and technology available at Sisters Hospital, however, the procedure is done laparoscopically, dramatically reducing scarring, recovery time and risk of complications.
"The advantage of this procedure is that it not only changes the capacity of the stomach, but also reduces the hormones that affect hunger and increases the effects of feeling full," Pham explained. "It is very effective at improving existing health conditions, like diabetes and high blood pressure, and can provide a weight loss between 65 and 80 percent of excess body weight."
Since the procedure alters digestion, patients must take dietary supplements for life and follow-up regularly with their surgical team and other clinical professionals to monitor their nutrition intake.
"While the surgery is minimally invasive and offers great hope, it requires lifelong medical monitoring and nutrition counseling to maintain a healthy weight loss," said Kathryn Giglia, RN, BSN, Bariatric Program manager at Sisters Hospital.
Nationally accredited by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Sisters Hospital is one of the leading centers for bariatric care in the Northeast. In addition to offering the latest minimally invasive surgical procedures, the program also offers nutrition counseling, physical therapy and a variety of support services to help patients with their lifelong weight loss journey.