Healthy U: Bariatric surgery can take weight loss to new heights

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By Alicia AgentSparks

Inches, pounds, pant sizes — much like a roller coaster, there are ups and downs with weight loss. Even though it is a new year, for many it is the same struggle.

Dr. Michael Gooden of Sparks Clinic Surgical Associates of Fort Smith specializes in bariatric surgery and provides a better option for getting healthy in 2018.

“There are some patients who are just tired of the roller coaster,” Dr. Gooden said. “They experience these moments when they realize they’re missing out on life, so they choose bariatric surgery as a way to regain control of their weight and their health.”

For 41-year-old Tracy Sisco of Sallisaw, her moment came in 2008 when she was diagnosed with diabetes. Like many, she’d tried the popular diets, even prescription medication, only to lose 20-30 pounds that inevitably came back.

“My family loves to camp, fish and hike, but at 296 pounds, I couldn’t enjoy that with them,” she said. “I started to feel some numbness in my fingers and toes and decided it was time to do something about my weight, permanently.”

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Adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater and who suffer from one or more health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea may qualify for weight loss surgery. Additionally, those whose BMI is greater than 40, even without other medical problems, are candidates. Dr. Gooden performs two types of bariatric procedures — gastric sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass. Both offer positive results and Dr. Gooden says he works with patients individually to help them choose the best option.

Before surgery, patients undergo a period of physician-supervised weight loss. From genetics to learned behaviors, there are many factors that contribute to obesity, according to Dr. Gooden, and getting to the root of weight gain is key to weight loss. Dr. Gooden and a team of providers, including a dietitian and a psychologist, work with the patient to set…

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