Todd Bierman, MD
As the obesity rate climbs, medical providers are challenged to care for and treat the side effects of obesity. Surgeon Todd Bierman, MD, said, “Obesity is a huge concern. With obesity comes high blood pressure, diabetes and joint and back issues.”
Dr. Bierman, who has several years of experience in bariatrics, heads up the bariatric program at Sarah Bush Lincoln, where he performs sleeve surgery – a restrictive procedure that essentially splits the stomach in half. The laparoscopic procedure takes about an hour and requires an overnight hospitalization. People can expect to be sore at the incision site for a few days, but are up and moving immediately after surgery to promote healing.
Dr. Bierman explained that a motivated person in a bariatric program theoretically can be cured of high blood pressure and diabetes just by what he or she eats every day. The key is maintaining a healthy weight.
Obesity is a combination of a couple of issues. It is often caused by an addiction to food. For some, genetics increase people’s chances of becoming obese. And for others, there’s a hormonal component. Hormones in the abdomen impact the sense of fullness people experience. Bariatric surgery reduces those hormones and, thereby, reduces the appetite.
“The surgery is not for everyone. People need to prove to us that they are prepared to make the changes necessary to be successful long term.” He warns that while the sleeve procedure is not reversible, it is as good as other bariatric procedures for people who truly prepare and makes significant lifestyle modifications. “People really have to dedicate themselves to making lifestyle changes,” Dr. Bierman emphasized.
Dr. Bierman added that there is good data about the surgery’s success since it has been performed for years. People will experience a 50 to 70 percent weight reduction during the first two years and maintain it. It could be more or less depending on how overweight and motivated someone is. “This is a full lifestyle modification. Without dedication, a person can stretch out the sleeve and forcefully regain weight. We want this procedure and the preparation to change their lives for the better.
For more information about the SBL Bariatric Program, call the Medical Clinic at the Center for Healthy Living at 217-238-4961.