Reporter: Shannon Samson
St. Mary's Bariatric Center is now offering less invasive laparascopic gastric bypass surgery. As this procedure gets more refined and more popular, a new study shows the benefits from this surgery go far beyond weight loss.
When the weight comes off, secondary medical conditions go away for most patients. So they don't just look better, they feel better too. And now with laparascopic bypass surgery, they're cutting their post-operative discomfort and recovery time in half.
For the last eight months, Angela Clark has been driving from her Wayne City, Illinois home to the St. Mary's Bariatric Center in Evansville to prepare for gastric bypass surgery. The 45-year-old says it's not just vanity that's motivating her to have it.
"In the last three years, I started some health problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and I'm doing this more for my health than anything." And she's one of the first dozen or so patients to have the surgery done laparascopically, where surgeons make a small incision and perform the operation using cameras and tools attached to long scopes.
Dr. Erik Throop says there is a compromise to not having his hand inside the body cavity to feel around, but the scopes do allow him to see better. "We can actually see better and more detailed into deeper holes laparascopically than you can when they're open and so a lot of the things that we do open, we do by feeling simply because we can't see. So the trade-off is either seeing well or feeling well and I think we make adjustments accordingly."
No matter how it's done, it changes most lives for the better. University of Minnesota researchers recently reviewed more than 130 studies that included more 22,000 gastric bypass patients and found that an overwhelming number of them eliminated these obesity-related conditions.
Angela Clark hopes the surgery will be the solution to her medical problems. "I just want to feel better. I don't feel tired all the time. Plus, I don't want to take pills all the time." And chances are very good, she won't have to.