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2018 Back on Track

January 28, 2018 11:38 am

back on track 2018 keshishian
2018 Keshishian BOT

Join our 2018 Back on Track challenge and let’s get back on track for 2018! The holidays were wonderful but if you find yourself with a few extra souvenirs don’t feel alone. The average American gains between 1-8 pounds during the holiday season and I am no exception. Let’s get back on track 2018 together.

Time to clear out the kitchen! Disposing of temptations and high trigger foods is the first step to getting back on track. Throw it all away and don’t allow them back in. If foods are difficult to acquired then they are less likely to be consumed.

Stock up on high protein and whole, unprocessed foods that are low carbohydrate and nutrient dense. When quality foods are easily available we are more likely to stay on track with the types of foods we should be eating. Simple sugars/carbohydrates are the biggest culprit of holiday weight gain. We need to go back to the basics of hydration, high protein, low carbohydrate/sugar, vitamin/mineral supplements and exercise. Simple sugars and carbohydrates are easy for our bodies to use and absorb. Cutting them out can jump start your weight loss. Each individual needs to identify the daily carbohydrate intake that works for them. Some people stay under 50 grams of carbohydrates daily and some can tolerate more daily grams. You may also need to look at your protein and fat intake. All excess nutrients absorbed have the potential to turn into fat mass and inhibit weight loss. Metabolism video.

Hydration is an important ways to start getting back on track. Water is essential to life functions. The brain is 85% water, blood is 80% and muscle is about 70% water. Hydration aids in digestion, eliminating waste, byproducts and toxins. It also can decrease the feeling of hunger. Lack of hydration can increase fatigue which can lead to craving high carbohydrate foods to increase energy.

Protein’s importance in almost every bodily function and muscle mass can not be ignored. High quality complete Protein sustains muscle mass during weight loss, aids immunity, antioxidant function, and enhances leptin and insulin function. Filling up on protein first will help with carbohydrate carvings and give a sustained satisfied feeling. A prior blog post gives additional information on the importance of protein and the effects of protein malnutrition. WLS makes daily protein intake important but especially after Duodenal Switch, protein is a necessity of daily life.

Vitamins, minerals and supplements will ensure the body has the nutrients it needs to function adequately and can keep cravings at bay. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can cause cravings for foods. Vitamin and minerals are essential to muscle function, red blood cell production, bone health, and numerous other physiologic functions. We may all slack off on our supplements occasionally but now is the time to get back into the habit of daily vitamins and mineral supplements. A daily vitamin, mineral, and supplement routine is a lifetime commitment after Duodenal Switch or any WLS. Here is a list of commonly used supplements. If you haven’t kept up with your minimum yearly laboratory studies, now is the time to be seen and have your labs done.

Exercise can increase weight loss, overall well being, mental well being, mood, alertness, improve digestion, improve sleep, and increases energy levels. Exercise does not have to be a daunting task. Simply adding 15-30 minutes of activity can give added benefits. Yoga, walking, dancing, lifting weights, hiking, and sports activities can be included or added to more traditional forms of exercise. There are many free online videos for all types of exercise available. This year we are teamed up with The Kinesis Centre to offer a 4 week training program that can be accessed from anywhere. A 4 week training program will be included in our 2018 Back On Track Grand prize.

Finding a new hobby can keep both your hands and mind busy, curbing the unconscious eating of foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. Adult coloring books, drawing, painting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, dance lessons, gardening, learning to play an instrument and many others are great ways to use your time and expand your quality of life and brain function. New hobbies can also help establish new coping skills. Our previous post on Coping Skills After Bariatric Surgery can be found here. There are a whole host of online videos for “how to” on new hobbies.

Teaming up with others can also help increase weight loss and compliance. Support from friends, family and other groups will assist you. There is a whole gamut of support group online and in person. If you have fallen out of the habit of attending our support group or webinars get back to them. You can find our schedule and announcements regarding webinars here. Our Central Valley Bariatric Facebook page also gives daily inspirational messages, protein recipes and articles and any new information or research available. There is also our Duodenal Switch Facebook Group. Anything that increases accountability is a benefit and motivates us to stay on track.

Experiment with new recipes and flavors that are bariatric friendly and within your dietary needs. There are so many options for quick and easy meals that are whole foods, high protein, and low carbohydrate. We have several recipes on our page for all stages following weight loss surgery and Duodenal Switch. However, there are endless option on the internet in Paleo, low carb, and high protein type recipes.

In the spirit of new starts and getting back on track 2018, we are having a giveaway with the basics to get back into the swing of things. This year we are looking for before and after weight loss surgical journeys for our Grand Prize. Share your weight loss journey! Don’t be shy, your journey can inspire others and/or motivate yourself. To enter the Back on Track 2018 Giveaway, please submit your weight loss surgical journey with before and after pictures to contact@dssurgery.com or you can also post your before and after pictures on our Facebook page. You will also need to sign a release for the use of your story on our website. We will draw 2 names from those that enter by announcing it on our FaceBook page or by e-mail on February 14, 2018. You must submit your mailing information to contact@dssurgery.com in order to claim the prize. You must be a verifiable patient of Dr. Ara Keshishian.

We are also doing 3 prizes of a 4 week training with the Kinesis Centre if you share an achievement picture on our FaceBook page . This achievement picture can be a milestone in your journey, something you’ve haven’t done before, a non-scale victory, a goal that you reached, anything that you are proud of achieving. Let’s do this 2018 Back on Track challenge!

Please remember that medications, health status, age, bowel motility, genetics, and diet all play a role in weight and weight maintenance. Please have a physician review your health history and medications.

*NOTE: Giveaway items may or may not be identical to the pictured items.
We are not affiliated with any of the products nor do we endorse any one type of product. There is no cash value to the prizes.

Compounding Pharmacies

January 22, 2018 2:38 pm

New FDA regulations for compounding pharmacies has spurred changes in our pricing and ability to provide injectable Vitamin A and Vitamin D.  The compounding pharmacies are no longer compounding injectable Vitamin A and there is a nationwide shortage of the national brand of injectable Vitamin A.  We have a tentative date of February 2018 when we may be able to obtain injectable Vitamin A. We won’t be able to quote pricing on Vitamin A injections until we are able to orders.

We are able to obtain and supply our patients with injectable Vitamin D but with a price increase.

The following is the letter we received from our compounding pharmacy.

“The healthcare industry has continuously undergone changes in regulations and legislation. The compounding industry is no exception and has faced rigorous regulatory requirements this past year such as new testing specifications and compliance standards.

We are set on facing these demanding challenges by meeting and exceeding these new regulatory requirements. We want to assure you we will continue to provide the best products on the market for you and your patients. Quality and safety remain a top priority. We understand that our pharmacy plays a vital role in providing care to your patients. The increase in pricing is a reflection of the additional cost in producing and testing the product based on regulatory specifications.”

Revision from failed AGB to Duodenal Switch

January 10, 2018 2:10 pm

A few times a month during consultation for weight loss surgery , I’m ask as to why I do not offer the adjustable gastric banding as an alternative to the patients. As I have said over the years when a patient considers an weight loss surgery the totality of the risk should be considered. This includes the operative, immediate postoperative course, the maintenance and the follow-ups needed. The potential complications of the procedure in addition to the long-term success off each operation should also be taken into account.

Unfortunately, some patients are led to believe that any perceived benefit in the short operative time and the ease of the adjustable gastric banding also translates to a better outcome. This is in fact the opposite of what the published data have shown, a recent study published in April 2017 by Vinzes et.al, shows that 71% of patient lost their band by 10 years out.

 

What is also interesting that more patients underwent revision from failed AGB to the duodenal switch than the sleeve gastrectomy (Fig 1.). This is what I also recommend.

Fig 1

 

More importantly, The patients who underwent a revision from failed AGB to the duodenal switch operation had the best long term results of all patients (Fig 2.) note the “rBPD” line that is the highest of %EBMIL.

Fig 2

Complication’s were broad and frequent (Table 3.)

Table 3

 

Further information on revision from failed AGB to Duodenal Switch or other failed weight loss surgeries can be found here. 

Bile Reflux Gastritis

January 10, 2018 1:45 pm

Bile reflux gastritis has been recognized as a significant cause of dyspepsia in a subset of patients. This patient group set does not respond to the standard treatment (not expected to) and some get improvement with the treatment of H.Pylori infection if one is diagnosed at the time of upper endoscopy and biopsy. Inflammation and Foveolar hyperplasia are some of the findings that can be seen endoscopically. This and other findings have all been documented in the literature. An article published in 2005, reported over 40% incidence of  Foveolar hyperplasia in patient with bile relax. It is been noted that bile causes the thickening of the mucosa lining of the GI track. This is called Foveolar hyperplasia when the mucosa of the stomach is noted to be thicker with more numerous and deeper folds.
Foveolar Hyperplasia- Bile Reflux Gastritis
The treatment for this is reduction and prevention of bile reflux to the stomach, in some cases this can only achieved by surgical diversion of the bile from the stomach. Additional information on Bile Reflux and the surgical treatment can be found here.

Vitamin A injections

October 25, 2017 10:31 am

Unfortunately, we have been informed that the company we order our Vitamin A injectionsVitamin A injections from will no longer have Vitamin A available.  We have contacted several other companies and they also do not have it available.  The manufacturer of Vitamin A states that there is a nationwide shortage of injectable Vitamin A and it may be available next year.

Our office has a few vials left and we are hoping that we can get to as many people as possible before we are completely out.  We will continue to look for a source of Vitamin A injections. We will let you know when it is no longer available and when we receive a new shipment.   Thank you for your understanding and we apologize for this issue.
Information on Vitamin A deficiency here.
You can find our list of recommended supplements here.

Just as a reminder, we have no financial interest in any of the vendors that are recommended on our website. Also, please note that this is not in ANY form or fashion a substitute for the evaluation by your surgeon or primary care physician.  This is informational only and is not to be taken as a recommendation for any patients’ condition.  

Long Term Complications of Adjustable Gastric Banding

October 17, 2017 6:35 am

It is interesting to encounter patients who are still being recommended for Lap Band placement to treat morbid obesity. There is a vast body of scientific evidence supporting that Lap Band not only does not result in a sustained weight loss for majority of the patients, but that it results in significant long term complications for some. One of the complications is a significant stricture (narrowing) where the band is located even when it is completely empty. This is cause by: 1- either scarring of the tissue around that band causing a “belt” effect around the stomach, or  
Stricture of a deflated AP-10cc band
2-Slipped band.
Partially slipped band
There are numerous other complications that are associated with Adjustable Gastric Bands that encompass a wide range of areas that are not discussed in this blog. This recent article  (yes another one) outlines the dismal long term outcome of the Adjustable Gastric banding- Buyer Beware. https://www.dsfacts.com/pdf/agb-long-term-results-1506834076.pdf  

Enter to Win!

September 08, 2017 9:41 am

Keshishian Obesity Help Contest

We are holding a giveaway for tickets to the Obesity Help National Conference Oct 27 & 28, 2017 in Long Beach, CA. Enter to Win!

Dr. Ara Keshishian is on the Q&A panel.

Support and see two of our own, Jo Diniz and Heidi Brown, at the conference

Jo contest piccontest Heidi pic

Conference Location:

Hilton Long Beach

701 W Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90831

Event link: www.obesityhelp.com/events

Official Rules:

How to Enter and eligibility: All entrants and winners must be 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Up to 4 entries per person.

  1. Share a picture of an achievement, non-scale victory or positive experience on our FaceBook page   The picture must be visible to the public. Your sharing is acknowledgement of use for contest purposes and visibility to the public.

2. Take a screen shot of the review or update with your username and date.

3. E-mail the screenshot to contact@dssurgery.com with your contact information (name, phone number, e-mail, and mailing address )

4. Entries must be a verifiable patient of Dr. Ara Keshishian in Glendale, CA.

Promotion Timing:

The Review & Update Giveaway begins September 8, 2017 and ends September 14, 2017 at 5:00pm PST

How Winners are Chosen:

Winners will be chosen by random draw.  Odds of winning vary upon the number of entries received for the giveaway.

Winner Notification and the Claiming of Prizes:

Winners will be notified via the email provided at time of entry and also published on our blog comments www.dssurgery.com/blog and on our FaceBook page. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to the winning notification email or the prize will be forfeited.  The prizes have no cash value. The prizes are non-transferable and must be accepted as awarded. No changes may be made to the prizes. There is no cash value for the prizes.

General Conditions:

By entering the Giveaway, entrants agree to abide by and be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding in all matters relating to the Giveaway, and release and hold harmless Sponsor and its affiliates, directors, officers, employees and assigns from and against any liability, claims, lawsuits, judgments, losses, damages of any kind, injuries, death, property damage, costs and expenses, arising from, resulting from or in connection with the Giveaway, the participation in the Giveaway, or the receipt, possession, use or misuse of any prize. Sponsor is not responsible for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, stolen, delayed, misdirected, undelivered or illegible entries or for lost or stolen entry boxes or other errors or difficulties of any kind whether human, mechanical, electronic, typographical, printing or otherwise relating to or in connection with the Giveaway, including, without limitation, errors or difficulties which may occur in connection with the administration of the Giveaway, the processing of entries, the announcement of the prizes, or in any Giveaway-related materials. Sponsor is not responsible for technical, hardware, software or telephone malfunctions of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications caused by the user or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Giveaway. Persons who tamper with or abuse any aspect of the Giveaway or who are in violation of these Official Rules, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified and all associated entries will be void. The Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Giveaway if, in Sponsor’s opinion, it is not capable of running as planned, including, but not limited to, due to tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical or phone line failures or any other problems beyond the control of the Sponsor, and select the winners for affected drawing(s) from among all eligible entries timely received for such affected drawing(s) prior to cancellation.

New Pasadena Office Map and Parking

August 12, 2017 8:35 am

We’ve created a helpful map and parking diagram for our new Pasadena, CA office location.  It also has a general layout of the Huntington Memorial Hospital Campus and Pre-operative intake and testing area.  We hope that you find it helpful on your next visit to see Dr. Ara Keshishian, General and Bariatric Surgeon.   Map and Parking Dr. Keshishian's office Dr. Ara Keshishian has performed more than 2,000 Duodenal Switch procedures, thousands of Sleeve Gastrectomies and more than 500 revisions from other Weight Loss Surgeries such as RNY Gastric Bypass, Adjustable Gastric Band, and Sleeve Gastrectomy to Duodenal Switch as well as General Surgical cases over the last 18 years of private practice.

Insurance Appeals And Denials

August 07, 2017 7:08 am

Whenever you are dealing with insurance issues it is important to have a general understanding of insurance ins and outs. The Obesity Action Coalition has a good general guide to the insurance process here.  If you are having issues with out of network, out of area, or insurance appeals and denials for Duodenal Switch, there may be some additional assistance from two individuals who have had the Duodenal Switch procedure themselves. We are grateful that they have provided assistance throughout the years to the Duodenal Switch community. The following is their statement on insurance.

The majority of insurance companies are in the business of making money (for profit). They can deny requests for preauthorization with impunity. These denials are often complexly worded and difficult to comply with and overcome, and are definitely overwhelming to the patient, and the busy surgeon’s office. The vast majority of patients faced with demanding if not impossible to achieve prerequisites, or denial of the request for preauthorization simply give up, and the insurance companies pocket the savings.

If you find yourself  facing impossible pre-op hurdles, or a denial, we urge you to appeal, and to seek assistance in preparing the appeal. You can hire an attorney, of course, but there is an informal and free resource we suggest that you investigate as well.

If you go to BariatricFacts.org (a non-profit, patient-run site), you will find individuals who are long-term DS postops, and patient advocates.  They have been helping patients, pro bono (for free), for over 10 years. They will help you draft your appeal letters, provide supporting medical and legal documentation, and prepare draft letters of medical necessity to be reviewed and signed by your surgeon supporting your appeal. They will not represent you directly, but they will help you best represent yourself.  in many cases it is necessary to exhaust all internal appeals (because the insurance companies are unlikely to overrule themselves), and then file for external review, where independent reviewers often overrule improper denials. If you join and then post on BariatricFacts.org asking for help, you will be connected with them and you can decide if you want their help.

Please note that this is just a suggestion. It is neither legal nor medical advice, nor a guaranty regarding their services, and you should always consider getting legal advice and assistance from an attorney who will represent you directly. The members at BariatricsFacts.org will help you draft your own letters, but will not be your legal or medical representatives; you will be required to do a fair amount of your own work on your appeals, and to sign them yourself.

It is suggested that before or at the same time as you contact the resources suggested at the site, you gather as much of the following information as you can:

  • A copy of your Evidence of Coverage, which is the usually 100+ page insurance contract between your employer and the insurance company, which  you can obtain it from your HR department. If you are self-insured, it will be available directly from your insurance company. Note: it is NOT the Summary of Benefits – it needs to be the contract itself.
  • If your insurance is through an employer, you need to determine whether your plan is self-funded or fully-funded. Your rights are significantly different under the two types of plans.
  • If your insurance company has a separate bariatric surgery policy, provide a copy of that, too.
  • A copy of your surgeon’s request for preauthorization, which provides the ICD-10 and CPT codes submitted.
  • A copy of your denial letter, including the section regarding your appeal rights.

*      It is strongly recommended that you obtain a copy of your surgeon’s LOMN (letter of medical necessity) before it is submitted to your insurer or for external review, so we can assist your busy surgeon in making the strongest possible case for you.

Don’t be deterred by a denial. It is unfortunately more common than it should be, but it can often be overcome if you meet the requirements for bariatric surgery, if you get help navigating the process.