For morbidly obese (obese) people, their excess pounds are by no means just an aesthetic problem. For a strong overweight favors the development of serious comorbidities such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, lipid metabolism disorders, stroke and cancers at an early age. Countless failed attempts to reduce their weight with diets and exercise make those affected desperate.
Permanent reduction of extreme overweight
Surgical procedures are an effective alternative to conservative methods: If indicated, gastric banding or gastric bypass surgery reduces at least 50 percent of overweight in nearly all patients treated. And these successes are not only long-term, but even lead to the improvement or cure of comorbidities. "Our patients often weigh more than 200 kilos, and they can not even ride a bicycle, let alone ride it, " comments Prof. Dr. med. Rudolf Weiner, Chief Physician of the Surgical Clinic at the Sachsenhausen Hospital, Frankfurt / Main, often prejudiced that overweight people should "just move" more.
Also Sascha Oliver Herold, chairman of the bariatric surgery self-help Germany e. V., knows such advice: "With diets and exercise, you can certainly lose a few pounds, but usually only for a short time and in the end you are often heavier than before." Conservative measures such as nutritional or behavioral therapy seldom bring significant results in strongly obese patients (BMI *> 35 and above). "At best, we can achieve a weight reduction of 10 percent - with a starting weight of 200 kilos that's not much, " confirms the Frankfurt surgeon.
By short cut to the fat reserves
When Sascha Oliver Herold first applied for a bariatric surgery, he weighed 145 pounds. The health insurance company refused on the grounds that not all conservative alternatives had been exhausted. Six years later, a gastric bypass surgery was granted. "But then with 209 kilos and a handful of comorbidities, " recalls the 28-year-old herald. "During gastric bypass surgery, " says Prof. Weiner, "we use a staple to separate the stomach into a small fore- and one residual stomach." At the forestomach we cling to a loop of small intestine that virtually bypasses the rest of the stomach and duodenum. " By shortening the digestive tract less nutrients are absorbed. This leads to a reduced calorie intake, the body resorts to its fat reserves and the patient decreases. Sascha Oliver Herold lost with the gastric bypass within 2 years 100 kilos.
Small intervention with great effect
Another very effective method is the gastric band. "We can perform this procedure very gently with the 'keyhole technique', " explains Prof. Weiner, "without major abdominal surgery, only with small cuts for the instruments". During the procedure, the doctor wraps a silicone band just below the esophagus around the stomach like a belt. It forms a small forestomach, which holds only about 20-30 ml content (normal are about 2 liters).
Even the smallest amounts of food are sufficient to make the patient feel full - he eats less, but more often. The band is connected via a tube to a reservoir that is sutured close to the abdominal wall and can easily be reached through the skin with a syringe. This allows fluid to pass into a flexible sleeve on the inside of the band and narrow or narrow the passage to the rest of the stomach without the need for further intervention.
Sustainable gain for the health
In Germany, less than one percent of obese patients have received surgical treatment. In the process, obesity and its consequences burden the healthcare system by millions every year. Since obesity is not sufficiently recognized as a disease, health insurance companies reimburse the operating costs only in individual cases. Recent studies point to the long-term savings potential of obesity surgery: along with the weight loss improve in most patients their serious comorbidities.
In many cases, these illnesses, which would otherwise require lifelong drug treatment and often lead to premature retirement or premature death, even disappear altogether. Sascha Oliver Herold has taken supplements since his surgery to compensate for nutrients that his body does not absorb in sufficient quantities. He no longer needs medication that he used to take regularly for his comorbidities.