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January 10, 2022

Weight Loss Expert Describes ‘Health Gain’ That Often Accompanies Weight Loss

When you think about weight loss surgery, your first thought may be focused on fitting into your old clothes or feeling more confident about your appearance. While these may be important goals when committing to weight loss surgery, improvements in one’s overall health can often go much further.

Most patients do lose significant weight during the first year after weight loss surgery. But improvements in health can go far beyond weight loss.

“While most patients lose weight, patients’ health often can improve in many other ways after surgery,” says Matthew LeMaitre, MD, director of metabolic and bariatric surgery at Saint Anne’s Hospital.  “Often, patients experience major improvement in other conditions linked to body weight. In other words, as you experience weight loss, you often also undergo a ‘health gain.’”

For example, symptoms of GERD, such as heartburn, chest pain, or difficulty swallowing, decrease for many patients one year after surgery. In addition, patients often report improvements in sleep apnea symptoms, which include snoring, gasping for air when sleeping, waking with a headache, and feeling tired throughout the day.

“In many instances, patients are able to come off their CPAP machine,” Dr. LeMaitre says.

Weight loss surgery can even reduce the incidence of diabetes, as well as hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) and hyperlipidemia (also known as high cholesterol).

“The results show that we’ve really put a focus on creating a unique patient experience that fosters success,” Dr. LeMaitre says. “We want our patients to feel how vested we are in their health.”

“Our patients show tremendous commitment not just to themselves, but also to each other,” Dr. LeMaitre says. “We’ve even had a group of post-surgery patients take it upon themselves to start a walking group that meets weekly.” Dr. LeMaitre joins them—even through the cold winter months—to encourage their newfound healthy lifestyles.

“Support from our staff and from others who have undergone weight loss surgery truly makes a tremendous difference—not just for their effort to lose weight, but to help patients improve their overall health and live longer.”

Learn more about weight loss surgery at Saint Anne’s Hospital.