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Spectrum Health Bariatric Surgery assists people like Jim on their weight loss journey

Jim lost over 100 pounds since 2018.
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Spectrum Health Bariatric Surgery helped Jim jump start his weight loss journey
Posted at 10:48 AM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 10:48:46-04

With more than one-third of adults in the U.S. considered obese, more and more Americans are heading to a surgeon's office seeking weight-loss surgery to help them drop pounds and achieve better health.

Bariatric surgery can be a lifesaver for some people. For Jim Root, a patient at Spectrum Health, it was his only means to qualify for the open-heart surgery he desperately needed. Jim, and his doctor, Dr. Jon Schram, join the Fox 17 Morning Mix to discuss weight loss and Jim’s story.

Jim grew up active but traveling for his job took a back seat on his health. Eventually, he reached 390 pounds, but pounds weren't the only thing he gained. He also gained health problems like high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and difficulty breathing.

From 2014 to 2016, he was treated by several cardiologists for atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular and often rapid heart rate and also advanced heart failure. But because he was 390 pounds, it was determined too risky to undergo open-heart surgery to correct the condition.

After trying various diets and exercise plans, but still being unable to lose the weight, Jim made the decision to look into bariatric surgery.

Through bariatric surgery, weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach through the removal of a portion of the stomach or by resecting and re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch.

However, not all bariatric procedures are the same. There are two different types to choose from to determine which procedure best suits a patient's needs and goals: gastric sleeve and gastric bypass.

Those who qualify for bariatric surgery are people who are seeking a lifestyle change, have a BMI above 35 with serious medical issues, and want to improve conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and GERD.

Advantages of weight loss surgery include:

· Patients can experience a significant decrease in weight-related illnesses, such as hypertension, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and non-insulin-dependent (Type 2) diabetes.

· Patients who have weight loss surgery are able to lose—and keep off, on average—around 50 to 70 percent of their excess body weight.

· Added energy to participate in daily life.

· More years to be with friends and family.

· Improved self-image and confidence.

· Enhanced physical conditioning and endurance for sports and other activities.

Spectrum Health has one of the largest and most established bariatric surgery programs in West Michigan, with locations throughout the region. Their program consistently ranked in the top ten percent of health care organizations in the country.

More than 95 percent of the surgeries performed are laparoscopic. Bariatric surgeons are able to use small incisions, tiny tools, and flexible video equipment to avoid making a large incision in the abdomen. Laparoscopic operations carry the same risk as an open operation, but the benefits include less discomfort, shorter hospital stay, earlier return to work, and reduced scarring.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with bariatric surgery, including bleeding, infection, blood clots, or death. However the safety of bariatric surgery improves each year, and Spectrum Health bariatric surgeons have an excellent record of quality and successful operations.

To learn more about bariatric surgery or to attend a seminar, call (616)-267-7400 or visit spectrumhealth.org/bariatrics.