Doctor: Julio Teixeira
Specialty: Bariatric Surgery
Location: St. Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital
Dr. Teixeira: We have basic criteria to decide when someone’s a candidate for weight-reduction surgery. They have to have a body-mass index over 40 or a BMI of 35 with related health complications. This patient’s BMI was 54. She’s a 44-year-old technical writer for a brokerage firm, and she’s struggled with obesity for decades. She believes that her weight has even had a social impact on her son. She had all the hallmarks of cardiovascular disease related to her obesity: diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. In five or six years, she could have had a heart attack.
We performed a lap-band surgery, which places a ring in the upper part of the stomach. We made a small incision of approximately two centimeters around her belly button. Once we entered the abdomen, we placed the band on the upper part of the stomach, leaving a small pouch the size of a golf ball above the ring. This pouch is the only part of the stomach she’ll be using; because it takes time for food to trickle through the restriction created by the band, the patient will experience fullness after even a small meal.
The whole surgery took less than an hour, and she’s doing fine. She’s lost twelve pounds already. I’ll be seeing her on a monthly basis because we’d like her to lose a third of her current body weight. At one or two pounds a week, that would be a three-year process. Then she’ll be in the same ballpark as the rest of us.