Alabama Bariatrics & Minimally Invasive Surgery

Bariatric Diet Orbera Gastric Band Sleeve Gastrectomy Gastric Bypass

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Huntsville & Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791

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Contact Us

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Huntsville & Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791
EMail: drsuggs@alabariatrics.com

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Patient Compliance and Bariatric Surgery in Huntsville, AL: Part 2

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The ugly truth about caregiving and medical care today is that relationships between doctors and patients are tense at best. With insurance companies, administrative costs rising at unreasonable

rates, little contact between patients and doctors, lawsuits, and outright conspiracy theory levels of suspicion, it is outright infuriating. Especially for doctors who try to convey the importance of

medical compliance. This is especially true when it comes to dangerous procedures like bariatric surgery.

There are horror stories that medical practitioners tell of patients who outright refuse to listen to their doctor. Because either the patient thinks they know better, or they have yet to address

underlying psychological and environmental issues that make the condition worse. No one likes to be given a sermon at about this. In fact, most people are resistant when it comes to doing what they

need to do. However, the consequences of long term damage outweigh the annoyance of someone else speaking up. So, we are going to be looking at what non-patient compliance looks like in the case of weight loss surgery. We will also look at possible reasons why it is there and what they can do to help.

Weight Loss Surgery and Smoking

Smoking, just like obesity is a touchy subject for the people who are going through it. Both of them, along with alcoholism, involves the subject matter of addiction and coping mechanisms. Both of which can be incredibly uncomfortable for patients and doctors to talk about. But, just is there is a lot at stake when it comes to being silent about the dangers of obesity. In fact, there is just as much danger as silence about the dangers of the combination of both obesity and smoking combined.

According to the Bariatric Times, "Tobacco use persists as the leading cause of preventable death worldwide and is prevalent among bariatric surgery candidates. Tobacco use is a well-documented surgical risk factor."  Other studies can confirm that smoking before weight loss surgery doubled the risk of death during or shortly after surgery from 1 to 2%.  Alone, that does not look like a too alarming statistic. However, even with the knowledge of death aside, there are still higher risks that can be found in association with smoking.

Medical Complications from Smoking

For starters, there is an increased risk of post-surgery ulcers.  "Cigarette smoking causes ulcer formation and increases the risk of ulcer complications such as bleeding, stomach obstruction (blockage) and perforation (holes in the pouch). Both can require life-threatening emergency surgery to fix." And this isn't just in the context of a roux-en Y bypass either. This can happen with any procedure.

In addition to ulcers, smokers who undergo weight loss surgery, "Are more likely to have a long hospital stay or to get admission to an intensive care unit. " And this is on top of the already increased risk of surgical complication from obesity alone. Also, it increases the risk of blood clots and pneumonia on top of a slower recovery rate. Smoking naturally reduces the rate of our own cell growth. This is because our cells require oxygen to function. Without it, they will have less energy overall to reproduce or function how they should during the healing process. All of these dangers and more are oftentimes the reason why most surgeons will not perform elective surgery, like weight loss surgery, if they detect any trace of nicotine.

How Long Should I Stop Smoking Before Weight Loss Surgery?

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, "Six weeks is a must to reduce the risk of fatal blood clots and pneumonia. Stopping just a week or two before can even make some risks worse; this is not unique to bariatric surgery."

This can be difficult, especially when you are not used to asking for help with this sort of thing. Thankfully, there are plenty of support groups, medications, and various therapies that can help you get on track.  As long as you are honest with your surgeon about how much you smoke, and how many times you try to quit, chances are that they have a few resources up their sleeves to help with the process of quitting. Don't be afraid to ask questions or admit to asking for help. What you are doing is a huge step and you deserve support.

If you want to know more about weight loss surgery in Huntsville, AL, as well as any possible programs for this sort of issue, contact us at www.alabariatrics.com