Shrinking America: One Surgery at a Time Essay

This essay has a total of 1098 words and 5 pages.

Shrinking America: One Surgery at a Time

Kellie received bariatric surgery a year and a half ago, at age 26, and lost over half her
weight—160 pounds (St. Vincent 1). Over one million morbidly obese people in the United
States have already received gastric bypass surgery. Since obesity has reached such
epidemic proportions, everyone in America is looking for a cure. Gastric bypass surgery
has rapidly become a solution for severely obese persons. Being obese causes emotional and
physical distress and suffering, which increases a person's desire to become thin. Several
thousands of people are taking control of their lives and health by having bariatric
surgery. Gastric bypass surgery has been performed with minor variations since 1968 (How
it Works 3). The procedure has grown rapidly over the past few years and numerous
hospitals have added the surgery. Success rate/recovery, society's influence, and health
factors all play a significant role as causes for a person to decide if this
life-altering, sometimes dangerous, surgery is right for them.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most popular of three surgeries for the morbidly obese. In
this procedure, surgical staples are used to create a small pouch in the stomach connected
to the bowel by a piece of the small intestine, bypassing the majority of the

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stomach. This form of surgery accounts for almost 90% of the procedures performed in the
United States (USA Today 2). Generally gastric bypass remains strictly for patients who
are morbidly obese by 100 pounds or more over his or her healthy weight. When people have
this surgery, they will not only lose a significant amount of weight, but also see
obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea greatly diminish
or even vanish (Hochstrasser 98). Most patients will lose 50-70% of their excess body
weight; some patients will lose even more (Hochstrasser 53). The operation limits the
amount of food a person takes in, decreases the amount of calories consumed, and makes it
so eating less will still be satisfying. By exercising and eating healthy foods, the
weight-loss can be considerably enhanced. Though the surgery rarely gets people to their
ideal body weight, most patients get within 30-40 pounds (Woodward 67). Weight loss begins
immediately after the operation. The majority of people will continue to lose weight for
approximately twelve months. The amount of weight a patient will lose every month will
fluctuate depending upon the height and weight prior to surgery (Woodward 57). In general,
the weight loss is complete within twelve months. The vast majority of patients are
admitted the morning of surgery and will be released three days after the day of their
surgery. Recovery time is generally 4 to 6 weeks. After being dismissed from the hospital
the patient can generally expect to have a follow up visit in approximately 10 days
(McGowan 47).

The widespread acceptance of this procedure has increased because of the promotion and
actions of celebrities. Doctor Karl Byrne attributes the recent influence of mass media
attention and interest in the procedure to celebrities undergoing the surgery

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