Author: Cecilia Snyder, MS, RD
The Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) is a facility that operates under the Northern Light Health network, an integrated health care system that provides care for patients across the entire state of Maine. The Northern Light Health network offers a variety of different services–everything from primary care, to emergency care, and even a number of surgical procedures. One of the surgical procedures performed at the EMMC is bariatric surgery. Although bariatric surgery often pops up in conversations about weight loss, it can be tricky to understand since there are a few different procedures that fall under the bariatric surgery umbrella.
Let’s explore exactly what bariatric surgery entails and who is typically eligible for the procedures offered through Northern Light Health and the EMMC. And just in case you decide in the end that bariatric surgery is not right for you, I’ll go ahead and tell you about a more sustainable approach to weight loss that uses a combination of nutrition and psychology to help participants stop dieting and lose weight for good.
Bariatric Surgery 101: What is it and who does it work best for?
Bariatric surgery is a blanket term used to encompass a number of different surgical procedures each designed to encourage weight loss. Most procedures use a combination of gastric restriction and malabsorption. Gastric restriction is used to limit the amount of food that the stomach can physically hold, while malabsorption procedures force food to bypass certain parts of the digestive system. Basically, fewer nutrients absorbed means fewer calories absorbed. Here is a quick overview of some of the most common types of bariatric surgery…
- Gastric Bypass: This procedure is considered the “gold standard” when it comes to bariatric surgery. A small 1 oz portion of the stomach is separated from the rest of the stomach and then connected directly to the small intestine. The newly created 1 oz stomach pouch fills up much faster than a full-size stomach, while the rest of the stomach is bypassed, so this procedure typically results in less calories consumed.
- Sleeve Gastrectomy: A sleeve gastrectomy results in as much as 80% of the stomach being removed. This procedure is similar to gastric bypass, except that the remaining portion of the stomach is already connected to the small intestine, so a new connection does not have to be made. It’s important to note that this procedure can’t be reversed.
- Adjustable Gastric Band: An adjustable gastric band is exactly what it sounds like–a small inflatable band that is placed around a small portion of the top part of the stomach. Once food enters the banded off portion of the stomach, feelings of fullness are likely to kick in sooner, which again results in a lower calorie intake. Some of the main benefits of a gastric band are that this surgery is typically completed in an outpatient setting and that the band can be adjusted, and even reversed completely, in the future.
At EMMC, the surgical team is equipped to perform all three types of bariatric surgeries described above. Their team has been operating a surgical weight loss program since 2002, and they are currently accredited as a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Which is a good thing! Considering how risky bariatric surgery can be, seeking out a surgical center that has been accredited by a credible agency is a must. Overall, EMMC and the Northern Light Health team seem to offer a quality set of bariatric services. If you were to decide to move forward with a procedure at EMMC, you could expect personalized guidance from their team of practitioners, information sessions to prepare you for the process, and opportunities to join in free weight loss support groups both pre and post-surgery.
Now that we’ve got a better idea of what exactly bariatric surgery is, let’s investigate who these types of procedures are right for. In order to be eligible for a bariatric procedure at EMMC, you must meet the following criteria:
- Between the ages of 18 and 65
- 100 pounds or more overweight with a BMI ≥ 40 OR
- 75 pounds overweight with a BMI between 35 and 35.9
- Suffer from obesity-related health problems
- Avoid nicotine and marijuana products
- Willing to lead your weight loss efforts through lifestyle, diet, and exercise
So what if you don’t meet these criteria listed above? Maybe you are only looking to lose 50 pounds, 25 pounds, or even just 10. Maybe your BMI is currently in a healthy range, but you’ve got other health and fitness-related goals that you want to work on. And what if you don’t live anywhere near the EMMC medical facility in Maine? This is where a more comprehensive weight loss program like Noom comes in to play. We’ll talk more about Noom here shortly, but before we move on, let’s make sure you know exactly what you are risking with bariatric surgery.
Are the risks associated with the EMMC Weight Loss Program worth the rewards?
When it comes to bariatric surgery, it’s tempting to think of it as a quick fix. But in reality, that could not be further from the truth. Bariatric surgery is most successful when patients make meaningful lifestyle changes following their procedure. Without adhering to the dietary recommendations that accompany these procedures, it’s unlikely that your weight loss will last long-term. And you should also know that making such drastic changes to your digestive system does not come without a cost. Depending on the type of insurance you have (or don’t have), you could be looking at anywhere between $20,000 and $25,000 in fees. Plus, some bariatric procedures tend to result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies as a result of the malabsorption that leads to weight loss. So you’ll also want to factor in the cost of the supplements you might need to take for the rest of your life in order to make sure you don’t begin to suffer from nutrient deficiencies.
Let Noom guide you down a different path to losing weight for good!
Bariatric surgery is often framed as an option for people that need to lose at least 100 pounds or more in order to lower their risk of chronic disease, and as a last-resort option for people that have tried losing weight before in the past with no success. But is going under the knife, permanently altering your digestive system, and even risking death really worth it? Not when there are other options like Noom out there. And especially not when you’ve got to make the same type of lifestyle changes with bariatric surgery that you would be making with Noom in the first place. Why not save yourself stress and uncertainty of going under the knife?
You might be wondering if it’s possible to lose as much weight with Noom as you can with bariatric surgery. Well, one of our Noomers Brandy was certainly able to do it! With the help of Noom, Brandy was able to lose over 100 pounds and change her life completely in just one year. Sure, Brandy worked hard day in and day out for over a year, while bariatric surgery only takes a few hours to perform. But just think of how proud Brandy must’ve felt at the end of that one year knowing that she had lost all of this weight on her own. Plus, when you lose weight with Noom, you don’t have to worry about the side effects of surgery or any complications popping up in the future. Except for the fact that you might end up missing the #NoomNerds more than you had anticipated. Interested in learning more? Come on over to Noom and get started on your weight loss journey today.