Sunday, August 16, 2009

Surgery continues...

I'm half way through my general surgery rotation and counting down the days for it to end. I'm really not loving it and I'm not sure what is wrong with me. The hours are insane and the residents and surgeons are some of the most self-centered, unfriendly people I have ever worked with. If this rotation is a true glimpse into the life of a general surgeon-then count me out!!

I am currently working with a bariatric surgeon. I see lots of gastric bypass surgeries and a lot of complications from previous lap band surgeries. Almost all of the patients I have been working with are morbidly obese and the doctor I work with treats obesity strictly as a disease rather than a result of lifestyle. This perspective has been interesting, but not one I fully embrace. I do believe that certain people are more prone to weight gain than others, but to call it a disease seems strange to me.

Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide and is viewed as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century. A lot of health problems are directly associated with weight: particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. People eliminate a number of health problems simply from losing weight. I was reading about obesity as a disease and came across "treatments" for this disease. The primary treatment for obesity is dieting and physical exercise. If this fails, anti-obesity drugs may be taken to reduce appetite or inhibit fat absorption. In severe cases, surgery is performed or a lap band is placed to reduce stomach volume and or bowel length, leading to earlier satiation and reduced ability to absorb nutrients from food.

These seem more like weight management options than disease treatments. In my opinion people have chronic diseases because of weight and not the other way around.

Seeing the surgery side to losing weight has left me disappointed. Surgery isn't the best solution in my opinion. I have seen far too many complications from bypass surgery, eventual weight gain after initial weight loss, and chronic problems from these surgeries. I feel like people choose to undergo surgery before they have exhausted other resources. I saw a surgery performed on a 21 year old! The doctor I'm working with feels like he is curing obesity by doing these surgeries. I think it is wonderful for people who use the surgery to lose weight, get off diabetes and blood pressure medications, and make a complete life style change. However, I have seen too many people who don't do these things and end up worse than they were before surgery.

These two people are heroes around here, and have proven that weight loss is possible without surgery. Mike and Ron from the biggest loser visit Toledo, Ohio!! Click Here!

1 comment:

  1. Very well stated. I see the results of poor lifestyle choices every time I work and it's so sad. Everyone needs to take responsibility for themselves and not rely on medication or surgery if there is a better way.

    We are very fortunate to have some really NICE, down to earth cardiovascular surgeons to work with. Hope you have a better experience in your next rotation.