By Sue Moore
Making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight isn’t so easy for some people who are morbidly obese. Options for those people include bariatric surgery.
Darci Schimp, a Vicksburg High School and Michigan State University graduate, counsels bariatric patients in her work in Bronson Hospital’s Medical and Surgical Weight Management Department.
Her work involves teaching, pre and post-surgery, and counseling for life-changing behavior. She works with a team which includes a dietitian, a psychiatrist and the physician.
Patients have to be followed and cleared well in advance if they are requesting the surgery. They have to work at exercising although some with severe health issues find it hard to meet the exercise requirement, she says.
Still, this is a second chance for some people who have not been able to lose weight any other way, she says, so they have chosen surgery to help battle diabetes, heart disease and other life-threatening weight issues.
Many advances have been made so bariatric surgery is less risky. Today there are four types of procedures available. The first is lap band where a cinch is placed around the stomach. A second procedure reduces the size of the top of the stomach; a third option is a bypass where the intestine gets stapled; and, finally, there’s a procedure where 80 percent of the stomach gets removed.
Some insurance companies will cover bariatric surgery because they realize their expenses will be less costly ten years later when the patient does not develop diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, Schimp says.
“It gives a person a second chance and my job is to make sure they don’t go back to their old eating habits that caused the weight gain in the first place,” she says.