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HEALTHBEAT 4: Weight loss surgery

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DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. (KTIV) -- Weight loss is top of mind for many people with the New Year right around the corner.

But the typical ways like exercising and dieting don't always work for everyone. That's why when patients reach a certain weight, surgery becomes an option.

"We know there is a relationship between medical problems and morbid obesity," said William Rizk, Midlands Surgeon.

Reaching a healthy weight is the goal doctors have for their weight loss patients at Midlands clinic.

"Once people reach a certain weight that we call morbid obesity, and that's really a relationship of their height and weight, and body mass index of a certain number, they become candidates for surgery," said Dr. Rizk.

Dr. Rizk said many times these patients have tried other weight loss options such as diets, exercise programs, hypnosis, counseling, or even prescription medications.

"And many times when someone reaches a certain weight, even trying all those different methods doesn't work and that's when surgery becomes an option," said Dr. Rizk.

Then patients have two options. The first: a laparoscopic gastric bypass.
Here doctors begin with the stomach the size of a football. At the very top they create a new stomach the size of a golfball.

"We then bring the intestine up and we attach it to the golf ball," said Rizk. "So the food goes into the golfball then travels through the intestine and does not go through the normal digestive pathway."

The other option is a sleeve gastrectomy.

"Start with the stomach the size of a football and we create a new stomach the size of a banana," said Dr. Rizk. "That banana is a long and skinny stomach. Kind of like the long sleeve of your shirt."

But, the work doesn't stop here for patients.

"Many people wonder if it is the easy way out," said Dr. Rizk. "But, at the end of the day, patients do have to go through a significant surgery, and they do have to change their lifestyle if they want the surgery to be successful."

That can include exercise, adequate nutrition, and vitamins with patients reaching a healthy weight within a year.

Dr. Rizk said patients typically lose about one-third of their weight with either surgery. But, you will need to get a pre-surgery education before they will perform them.

Michaela Feldmann

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