There is a continuous desire for a “less invasive”, “easier” procedure for the treatment of obesity and its associated co-morbidities. We have been very clear when discussing the benefits and long term outcome of the procedures. Let’s remind ourselves that “less invasive” does not mean a better option. In almost all cases a less invasive weight loss surgery means less weight loss, lower incidence of resolution of co-morbidities, and in some cases higher complications rate. Have we forgotten the adjustable gastric banding that was advocated to be the cure all for all obesity? All we hear now are the complications, the long term sequel of the reflux, hiatal hernia, irreversible esophageal injury, in addition to inadequate weight loss or weight regain.
Unfortunately, the same is to be said about the Sleeve Gastrectomy. We have said, as supported by the scientific literature, that the long term outcome of the sleeve gastrectomy is not as good as that of the Duodenal Switch procedure. This is true for the amount of weight loss as well as the resolution of the co-morbidities. We see quite a few patients who have gained their weight back after sleeve, never lost enough weight, and/or did not achieve resolution of their co-morbidities, such as diabetes, and are having their procedure revised to Duodenal Switch procedure.
Along with the same argument, this is why I caution patients when having the SIPS or SADI procedures. There is a chance that when the long term data for SIPS/SADI is available there may be some benefits procedure. However, as it stands at this point in time, these procedures are not the same as the Duodenal Switch procedure. So in short, less invasive, easier isn’t better.
Three Years Out Cyndi E … RNY to Duodenal Switch Revision
The Journey to get to the three year mark, has been amazing! And truly, The JOY is in the JOURNEY.
I am a JOYFUL “Third Time’s the Charm Revisionista”…. This is my new title…. And I say this proudly!!
For too many years (like 45! at least) I carried the shame and blame of being overweight and beat myself up on the inside. I tried everything, from age 13. I tried every diet, every program, and yes, I will say it, I have had THREE, yes THREE surgeries. And then, I let others convince me, and I bought into this, that I was a failure… BUT, I am not a failure. Surgery fails. For a long time, I could not say that, again with the SHAME word. BUT, I am done with shame, and I am done with blame. I no longer blame myself and I no longer shame myself or my body, because now, she and I, my body and I, are friends, and we are nice to each other.
Thankfully for me, I was in the right place at the right time, and met Dr. Ara Keshishian… My story with Dr. Keshishian, is simple. Dr. K was the first Doctor that did not blame me for my weight. He explained that each weight loss surgery has different measures of success, and percentages by weight loss surgery and outcomes. He educated me. He did not blame or shame me, he encouraged me. He also did an Endoscopy and found that I has a Gastro-Gastric Fistula. Simply put, this was an abnormal connection between the bypassed stomach and the small pouch created by the RNY Gastric Bypass surgery. Food could travel two ways, thus rendering the Gastric Bypass ineffective causing weight gain.
Dr. Keshishian performed my revision from RNY to Duodenal Switch on May 31, 2013. The procedure corrected my anatomy, enabling me to lose weight and regain my health. I have no complications, no issues post surgery.
Today, being a “Three Year Old” RNY to Duodenal Switch revisionista, I have a better perspective as a relative “newbie”. I am not a prisoner of my weight. I have lost 125-130 pounds, I am 5’12” (6 feet lol) 61 years old and for the first time in my life at a NORMAL WEIGHT! I do not fear, any longer, that I will gain my weight back. I am, however, mindful that I am consistent in my new habits and patterns that I have put in place, that keep me on track. I am also accountable. To myself, also to my Weight Loss Support Group, here in Paso Robles, to some fellow DS girlfriends that
I talk with about challenges, and with Dr. Keshishian. I am not held captive by my limitations, or my weight, and now I live with the possibilities each day brings and the fun challenges I put in front of me to conquer.
To the “newbies” I say, please take your time, treat yourself kindly, with your inner voice. This is not a race, this is a journey. Don’t rush, it’s ok to take it slow, listen to your body. And do not compare your journey to anyone else. You are you! You do you! You can do this well, one day at a time. Listen to the sage advice of those who went before you. We too have learned by trial and error. Be willing to sacrifice in the short term, for the gift of the long term life. Your DS is forgiving, you be forgiving as well!!!
Remember: WATER, PROTEIN, SUPPLEMENTS, EVERYTHING ELSE, EAT CLOSE TO THE DIRT, ELMO DIET
With JOY, Cyndi
My name is Heidi and this is my weight loss journey. I had been struggling with my weight for years and was actively researching different surgical procedures available. I was also trying everything to lose the weight on my own. My wake up call to take action was one night when my husband said, “I’m worried about you and want you around for a long time.” I knew I had to do something. If someone loved me that much I needed to love myself enough to change.
So the very next day I made an appointment with my Primary Care Physician who recommended Dr. Ara Keshishian. That afternoon I called Dr. Keshishian’ office, scheduled a consultation and began what was about to be one of the greatest journeys of my life. I was approved within a month and ready to go.
In 2012, I had my Duodenal Switch with the great Dr. Keshishian. I was hopeful post op and determined to succeed. I knew with my husband’s and family’s love and support I could do it. I wanted to lose the weight for me, my husband and our future children so they had the healthy, happy mom they deserved. My Surgery weight was 220 ( Started at 230) I reached my goal at 10 months post op at 125lbs. Since having my DS I have had 1 (almost 2) amazing son’s. Duodenal Switch made this possible. I have my older son and I am currently 8 months pregnant with my 2nd son. Duodenal Switch did not just allow me to lose the weight that kept me from living life but it allowed me to get healthy and live life to the fullest. I am grateful everyday for my DS, my amazing husband, my boys, and Dr. Keshishian.
I am simply blessed. Would I do it again? In a heart beat.
Starting weight- 230
Surgery weight- 220
Goal Weight- 125
Minimally Invasive does not mean better, easier, proven outcomes or good excess weight loss. Weight loss surgical patients should be careful of catch phrases such as “less invasive”, “simpler”, “shorter recovery”, “outpatient” and many others that had been used to described procedures with less than optimal outcome. We should not forget the lessons learned from adjustable gastric banding which was also promoted as ” less invasive, simpler to perform, and be done as an outpatient with a short recovery “. We all know how that story has panned out. The overwhelming majority of patients who had an adjustable gastric banding have undergone revision, had it removed or had additional surgeries following the complications which were associated with this simple procedure.
When evaluating outcome data for weight loss surgical procedures, it is important to bear in mind that the long-term success of these procedures will take years to document. More often than not the early weight loss is significantly better than the long-term stable weight loss. This has been clearly documented in the case of the adjustable gastric banding and the gastric bypass and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy operation. Duodenal switch , as described by Dr. Hess using the percentage based technique, has the best long-term documented success of all of the weight loss surgical procedures. The scientific data reports 20+ years of successful excess weight loss with a Hess Duodenal Switch procedure. There has been an alternative proposed to Duodenal Switch recently, the SIPS and SADI procedures. As I have already stated in the past, these are not the same as the duodenal switch operation. Any suggestion or innuendos that SIPS/SADI is the same as the Duodenal Switch is deceptive and misleading. We have also seen attempts to use the same catch phrases as described above to promote these unproven procedures. The published data that’s been reported with SIPS/SADI is mostly short-term in small population studies. There are no long-term studies that have documented the efficacy of the SIPS/SADI procedure and “simpler” or minimally invasive does not mean better.
The adverse effects of obesity reduce the body’s natural potential of optimal physical, mental health and cognitive function. Obesity is associated with a greater risk of health problems such as hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and sleep apnea. These issues attribute to an increased risk of dementia and cognitive dysfunction.
Glucose homeostasis plays a key role in the neural mechanisms of the brain. Insulin signals nutrients by circulating within the body in proportion to body fat mass. In addition to other regulatory mechanisms, this allows the brain to control feeding behavior by stimulating energy storage and metabolic homeostasis. Metabolic imbalances modify insulin sensitivity and lead to impaired glucose output inhibition [Qatanani and Lazar et al., 2007 (1)].
Free radicals are formed when weak molecular bonds are split. Their instability causes them to attack neighboring stable molecules and lead to a chain reaction of disturbing living cells. Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, defend the body from the damaging effects of free radicals by acting like scavengers. They protect cells from tissue damage that can potentially lead to disease.
Moreover, insulin resistance links oxidative stress, which is the continuous imbalance between free radical production and the body’s antioxidant defenses to detoxify its harmful effects. Enhanced oxidative stress is a result of accumulated fat, which impairs the secretion of insulin and damages glucose uptake in muscle and fat. Increased oxidative stress is the underlying cause of pathogenesis in vascular cell walls that lead to the development of cardiovascular problems, plaque formation. Data suggests, in a study conducted by Dr. Convit (2) in 2002, that management of blood sugar levels may enhance memory and possibly decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
In congruence with these findings, added stress due to excess weight can negatively affect the anatomy and physiology of the body. A study in 2010, led by Dr. Thompson (3), concluded that obesity is associated with “atrophy in brain areas targeted by neurodegeneration: hippocampus, frontal lobes, and thalamus” [Raji et al., 2010 (3)]. These brain regions play a critical role in the maintenance of memory, executive function, and sensory interpretation, respectively.
Central respiratory function is also disrupted by the mechanical effects of obesity. Reduced lung expansion is especially destructive during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder where breathing stops for brief periods because of an obstructed upper airway. Excess weight and increasing body mass index (BMI) restricts expansion of the chest wall and increases airway resistance, which decreases lung volume [Zammit et al. 2010 (4)]. This boosts respiratory muscle workload for consistent breathing. Complications of sleep apnea include fatigue, heart problems, metabolic syndrome, and more.
Cognitive impairments lead to deficits in executive function, response, reflex time, planning, and memory [Spitznagel et al. 2013 (5)]. Blood sugar levels, oxidative state, respiration and other mechanisms influence our cognitive abilities. Weight loss from bariatric surgery may reduce the comorbidities of an obese patient. The primary outcomes are improvements with diabetes, blood pressure, glucose levels, sleep apnea, BMI, and excess weight resolutions.
Weight loss surgery reverses the stressors of the body to permit the development and preservation of cognitive function. By improving anatomical aspects of physical health, the overall mental well-being of patients is remarkably enhanced.
Thank you to Contributor: Mariam Michelle Gyulnazaryan
References for Cognitive Function
- Qatanani M, Lazar MA. Mechanisms of obesity-associated insulin resistance. Genes & Dev. 2007; 21: 1443-1455.
- Convit A, Wolf OT, Tarshish C, de Leon MJ. Reduced glucose tolerance is associated with poor memory performance and hippocampal atrophy among normal elderly. PNAS. 2013; 100 (4): 2019-2022.
- Raji CA, Ho AJ, Parikshak N, Becker JT, Lopez OL, Kuller LH, Hua X, Leow AD, Toga AW, Thompson PM. Brain structure and obesity. Hum Brain Mapp. 2010; 31(3): 353-364.
- Zammit C, Liddicoat H, Moonsie I, Makker H. Obesity and respiratory diseases. Int J Gen Med. 2010; 3:335-343.
- Spitznagel MG, Alosco M, Strain G, Devlin M, Cohen R, Paul R, Crosby RD, Mitchell JE, Gunstad J., Cognitive function predicts 24-month weight loss success following bariatric surgery. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2013; 9(5): 765-770.
- John Gunstad, Gladys Strain, Michael J. Devlin, Rena Wing, Ronald A. Cohen, Robert H. Paul, Ross D. Crosby, James E. Mitchell, 2011, ‘Improved memory function 12 weeks after bariatric surgery’, Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 465-472
- Michael L. Alosco, Mary Beth Spitznagel, Gladys Strain, Michael Devlin, Ronald Cohen, Robert Paul, Ross D. Crosby, James E. Mitchell, John Gunstad, 2013, ‘Improved memory function two years after bariatric surgery’, Obesity, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 32-38
- Furukawa S, Fujita T, Shimabukuro M, Iwaki M, Yamada Y, Nakajima Y, Nakayama O, Makishima M, Matsuda M, Shimomura I. Increased oxidative stress in obesity and its impact on metabolic syndrome. J Clin Invest. 2004; 114(12): 1752-1761.
- Mitchell JE, de Zwaan M. Psychosocial assessment and treatment of bariatric surgery patients. 2011;6: 103-109.
- Nguyen JCD, Killcross AS, Jenkins TA. Obesity and cognitive decline: role of inflammation and vascular changes. Front Neurosci. 2014; 8: 375.
- Chan JSY, Yan JH, Payne VG. The impact of obesity and exercise on cognitive aging. Front Aging Neurosci. 2013; 5: 97.
Failed Band: My earliest memory of feeling ashamed of being “too heavy” is from kindergarten. For over 30+ years I have struggled with gaining weight, trying to lose weight, or going mad maintaining my weight. There is no shortcut that does not come back to bite you in the butt. There is no diet that effectively changes you permanently. For me exercise is a mindful struggle I sometimes successfully commit to over small periods of time.
I was desperate and ready for a real change. I wanted a genuine difference in the way I consumed and related to food and decided the lap band was the way to go. It was marketed as a “non intrusive, non permanent, easily reversible weight loss tool” and that is EXACTLY what I thought I needed and wanted. I was so very wrong, after my surgery I was considered a “success”. In fact up until the removal of my second slipped failed band, esophagus damage, and poor nutrition; I was considered a success. I look back and think how troubling this was/is. How very damaging to the person struggling and dealing with weight issues. Truly, it messed with my mind and my ability to speak up, admit to myself and out loud the band was NOT working for me. In fact, if I’m completely truthful, it was dangerous and turned me into a residue of the person I once was. I was not able to eat comfortably or eat out any place I happen to be. With the Band, I would need to consider how long I was going to be away from home because I could only eat small bites in small quantities to ensure I did not get stuck or worse vomit what I put inside my mouth. Yes, I had lost almost 100 lbs, but I had given my quality of life as payment. My guilt ensured I would never speak up or complain since I felt “fortunate” and grateful to have had this second chance at life. In my mind, speaking up meant possibly losing the tool (lap band) that allowed me to change my life and reality. Because for the first time in memory, I was the same weight at the start, middle, and end of the year. I did not have to buy different sizes of clothing or underclothing. I could predict what I might wear since my size was stable and my clothes fit. The reality is and was far from this corrupted self truth. I was unhealthy with the restrictive nature of how the lap band worked. In fact my band slipped twice after a severe stomach virus. I later learned of many other symptoms I was making excuses for and quite frankly straight out ignored.
I met Dr. Keshishian (Dr. K) at my lowest weight and at the lowest point in my health. I finally realized, the lap band needed to come out after it had slipped again. It was clear I needed a doctor who would be straight with me and cared for my health and not his/her “success” rates and have the expertise to deal with my failed band. I researched and called several bariatric surgeons then attempted to make appointments with each to discuss the urgent band removal surgery I needed (not as simple as you would think). I was also hopeful I might have the option to undergo the bariatric sleeve surgery because I knew I would not be able to keep my weight under control on my own. I was unwilling to undergo the emotional and mental torment of gaining and losing weight for the rest of my days. I succeeded in making three appointments and truthfully after meeting and speaking to Dr. K and his office staff I canceled them immediately. Let me start with the staff as that REALLY is important; they help you feel comfortable with the doctor, the procedure, and overall experience. They represent and reflect how the doctor you’re about to see will treat his patients. The expected standard within Dr. Keshishian’s office immediately made me feel like I called the right place. I was taken by the knowledgable, kind tone and efficient manner in which they requested the necessary information to effectively help me get from the starting point to the end goal. When I got to my appointment, Dr. Keshishian BLEW MY MIND. He not only presented himself as an approachable person I immediately felt at ease with but also reveal my concerns and questions. He treated me like a person. This may sound strange but this doctor made me feel like a human being with real concerns. He listened to me, asked questions rather than talked at me, and explained how and what was happening to my body and mind. He spent 3 hours with me to answer all my questions (even if I repeated them), draw diagrams, show me video to better help me understand what was happening, and then just sat with me while I cried for a moment. I cried because my 30+ years journey of ups and downs, crazy and insanity finally led me to the door of a man who understood and knew how to help without judgment. WHICH DOCTOR DOES THIS! None that I know.
My life post surgery is what I always hoped it would be. I am able to eat vegetables, leafy greens, fruit, grains and basically a well rounded diet. What’s amazing is that I naturally do not crave sweets, heavy creamy dressings, sauces and fill up quickly. There is after all a difference between the restriction of a lap band and the feeling of being full with the sleeve which Dr. K patiently explained. Today I am able to go any where, at any time, enjoy the moment and the company rather than worry about what I’m not able to consume. My days of scanning to locate the nearest bathroom in case I need to dash to it are over.
As I write this today, I feel like a real person, not some transient hoping to savor my life at glimpses. I am a person that is balanced in my heart with the average person’s anxiety and mindful eating habits. The sleeve is not a magic end to weight gain, it does give you the fighting chance to make choices in life leading up to results you’re willing to work for.
~ Grateful and Mindful, Hasmik (September 2015 Sleeve Op Patient)
There are a a number of skin conditions that are associated with the disease of obesity. Acanthosis Nigricans is characterized as areas of thickened, dark, velvety discoloration in body folds and creases. Usually seen in the armpits, neck, under the breasts, in the skin folds of the abdomen and groin. The exact cause of it at the molecular level is not clear other than seen frequently with insulin excess in the case of benign conditions. This symptom can give a warning about health conditions that require further investigation.
Patients may assume excessive sweating and poor hygiene are the causes of this condition- both of which are incorrect.
Acanthuses Nigerians is caused by acanthosis and papillomatosis of the epidermis (the outer most layer of the skin) pigmentation is usually not in this area, rather than pigment-producing cells. The skin proliferation abnormalities in acanthosis nigrcans are frequently associated with hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance. This probably presents the best understanding of the pathology behind it. It suggests that the layer of skin gets thicker probably caused by some stimuli- as indicated above seen with insulin excess.
There are two forms of this condition: Benign and Malignant.
Benign forms are associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and type II diabetes.
Insulin resistance: Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that allows your body to process sugar. Resistance predisposes to type II diabetes.
Hormonal disorders: Hypothyroidism, Polycystic Ovarian Disease, and other endocrine disorders of adrenal glands are ovaries
Drugs: Certain drugs and supplements such as high-dose niacin, birth control pills, steroids, may cause acanthosis nigricans.
Malignant forms may be an indication of Gastro-intestinal cancer such as stomach, colon, or liver cancer.
Treatment: No specific treatment is available for acanthosis nigricans. Treating the underlying conditions may restore some of the normal color and texture to affected areas of skin.
My wife, Kriston, and I have struggled with our weights for most of our lives. Over the years we have tried dieting, exercise, medications, and so on….with no luck. A few years ago she started to bring up the idea of weight loss surgery as a possibility. This was an idea that I was dead set against partly for fear of having major surgery and partly because it felt like cheating to me. In my mind, I believed that I should have been able to lose the weight if I really wanted to do so. Kriston continued to bring up the subject. She talked about friends who had had the surgery and how well they were doing with their weight loss. I still resisted the idea until she made the argument that if we didn’t do something about our weight then we might not live to see our daughter grow up and have children of her own someday. That was when I realized that I had to investigate the surgery and what it entailed.
We made an appointment to meet with Dr. Keshishian for an orientation and listened to him as he talked about the problems many people have with weight loss, obesity, genetics, metabolism, what surgeries were available, and the pros and cons of each of them. After meeting him and learning about the surgeries and obesity, I felt very confident that this was the man that could help us with our weight loss struggles. We decided to go with the Duodenal Switch and I scheduled my surgery for June of 2013 and Kriston scheduled hers for November of that same year. We felt this would allow me time to heal and then I would be able to help Kriston after her surgery. I won’t go in to all the details of the surgeries except to say that they both went very well. My recovery was a bit rocky, my wife will say that I was a big baby, but I did recover. I will admit that she was a much better patient than I. Fast forward two years and we are both doing very well. I have lost 180 lbs and Kriston has lost a little over 100 lbs. We look and feel great and we enjoy a much happier and active life style, we even went ocean kayaking last week which is something I could have never done at 370 lbs. This surgery has changed our lives and we could not be happier. We will be forever grateful to Dr. Keshishian, and his incredible staff, for all that they have done to help us become the healthy and happy people we are today.
I never knew how big and unhealthy I was until I decided I wanted a change. My experience with Dr. Keshishian and his staff was nothing less than amazing. He was very informative and made me feel comfortable and safe when undergoing the procedure. Not only did he operate on me, but also my brother, dad, and uncle as well. We are all so grateful for him and his knowledge as a surgeon. My mom had gastric bypass in 2005 by a different doctor and has numerous problems. We are all hopeful that eventually Dr. Keshishian will be able to help her also. Having my whole family’s support and understanding made the experience much easier for me. I am now happier and healthier than I’ve ever thought I’d be.
Before surgery, I weighed 250lbs, and my pant size was a 22. I now weigh 160lbs with a pant size of 8-10. I decided to have surgery because I wanted to be the confident girl who was trapped inside a 250-pound body to be able to shine. I wanted to be active and live a long and healthy life. I also wanted to start this lifestyle now so that when I have children one day, I can be a good example to them on how to be active. Most importantly, I wanted to be comfortable in my own skin. I wanted to feel beautiful. I was always “bigger.” I was a cheerleader from toddlerhood until high school and a swimmer for 12 years. I always stayed very active. Once I graduated high school, I moved out of state to attend cosmetology school and my active lifestyle completely stopped. I ate unhealthy and became very lazy. I wasn’t proud of the person I was becoming and struggled to change my bad habits. My brother had his surgery while I was in Idaho, and when I saw how great he was doing, I was inspired. I decided to fly home and meet these people and then it was my turn.
My Life has changed dramatically since I first met Dr. Keshishian. Working out and eating healthy have become habit. I ran in my first 5k, 10k, and half marathon. I continue to run every day in hopes of running in a full marathon. I LOVE to run, and have made it a way to relieve stress. Running has become good therapy for me. I love cooking and experimenting with foods I didn’t even know existed before I had surgery. It’s been 2 years, and I still haven’t bought or had a soda. I eventually gained what I call my “gym family.” I am there so often, that eventually, most of my friends were from the gym and people who have similar goals.
This surgery affects everyone differently. For me, it was a game I had to play with my mind. Being big, I loved the satisfaction of feeling full after a meal. I would order food and try to decide if it was enough to make me full. After surgery, I would forget that I couldn’t eat that much. I would still want to order the item with the most food. It was almost like the “Old Kylie” was still sitting in the back of my mind telling me what I would have ordered before my surgery. I had to learn to be tough, and ignore her. That was (and sometimes still is) one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I would look in the mirror and still see a 250 pound girl. I had to have a mental talk with myself, and look at old photos. It was a temporary issue I had with myself. I’ve learned so much about who I am since the surgery, and am so happy with the woman I have become. Having this surgery has made me feel like I can conquer anything I put my mind to. I had no idea how mentally strong I was until I made the choice to have this procedure. This will always be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself, and I’ll always be supportive of others who are thinking of choosing the weight-loss surgery. I owe Dr. Keshishian so much for giving me my life back. Thank you!