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“We are excited to support and partner with Drs. Denison and Goodwin in advancing weight loss options,” said John G. Anderson, President and CEO of Anderson Regional Health System. “The gastric sleeve procedure will have a positive impact on many lives, enabling individuals to do things they haven’t been able to do in years.”

During a sleeve gastrectomy, also known as gastric sleeve surgery, the stomach is reduced to about 25 percent of its original size by surgical removal of a large portion of the stomach along the greater curvature. The result is a sleeve or tube-like structure. The decrease in stomach size causes patients to feel full sooner and lowers the production of hunger-inducing hormones, leading to significant long-term weight loss and health improvement.

“Most patients can expect to lose 50 to 80 percent of excess body weight in the first 12 months,” Dr. Denison said. “With good success rates and lower risk, gastric sleeve surgery has become the preferred weight loss surgery over gastric bypass and gastric binding.”

“Because you are eating a small amount it’s really important to make protein a priority,” Goodwin said. “We want to make sure the patient stays extremely well-nourished. Every meal that patient sits down to for the rest of their life, we teach them the first priority is to eat your protein, then green vegetables, and if you want some fruit, you can eat that.

“We also teach the patient the difference in stomach and brain hunger, that feeling after you eat and 30 minutes later you are wanting to eat again. Your stomach isn’t hungry at all, it’s just your brain saying I want some of that. If the patient is going to be successful they have to learn techniques to do that.”

In most cases, the operation is performed laparoscopically through several small abdominal incisions, utilizing a tiny light and camera that sends pictures to a nearby computer monitor. The surgery lasts about an hour, and patients usually stay in the hospital for two to three days after the surgery, sometimes less, Denison said.

“Most patients have stayed overnight and went home the next day,” Denison said. “I do the surgery through minimally-invasive techniques to minimize the pain, by taking a little extra time to put a lot of extra numbing medicine up and down the abdomen. I think that makes a big difference.”

“It has good results, is an easier operation, and the risk profile is good for surgery,” Denison said. “The bariatric surgeons I trained under say they don’t plan on ever doing another lap band surgery. It has been tried and the success is not as good.

“Also, with gastric sleeve we remove the portion of the stomach that has a hunger hormone called ghrelin. It helps a lot of people with the constant hunger they may be having. It doesn’t fix that 100 percent of the time, but I do think a majority of the time they don’t have that hunger going forward.”

“That includes a cardiology and psychology evaluation, blood work, and I usually get a swallow study to look at the anatomy,” Denison said. “Some people may have a hernia, and if they do, I will fix that at the same time. Probably one of the things we fear the most, but luckily it happens very infrequently, would be a leak from the stomach, but there are a lot of options to treat it. There is a low chance of that happening, less than 2 percent. When I do the surgical procedure, I reinforce the stable line with suture to minimize that from occurring.”

Denison said, “You are looking at potentially minimizing heart attacks, knee and hip replacements, and chronic medication for all these other problems. “There is more benefit than just losing weight and looking great, a real medical benefit from having this done.”

“I have always been up and down with my weight, and recently found out I was on my way to being pre-diabetic,” Boykin said. “I have three children, a husband, and a disabled father-in-law that I need to take care of, and I need to be healthy for them.”

“I am off any medication I was taking, I’m walking everyday and have so much more energy,” Boykin said. “It’s a really good surgery, and I was back at work within a week. The surgery is a tool, it’s not a magic pill, or magic fix, nor an easy way out, but it’s a tool that is working.”

“I drink protein water all day long, but when I get to work I usually have a protein shake,” Boykin said. “Lunch is usually a small soft protein, and a vegetable and dinner is usually the same thing. Later at night I might have a sugar free popsicle. The portions are very small, two to four ounces at the most. I do good to get that small portion in, because I am full and satisfied.”

“I don’t need to be that hot girl anymore, wearing a bikini,” Boykin said. “I just want to be able to keep up with my kids, and chase them without being out of breath, or my knees hurting. If I was 20 again, maybe, but self-esteem-wise, I am fine. It’s more about my health now, and teaching yourself entirely new habits.”

“The support here is wonderful, we have support group meetings and I also talk with the other two people that had the surgery the same month I did,” Boykin said. “We talk constantly, share recipes and ideas, and talk about how we are doing since the surgery. Being able to have the surgery right here in Meridian makes a huge difference, and Dr. Goodwin is so wonderful with the after care. It just makes you more secure to have it right here at home.”

“Studies show that a person that has bariatric surgery in order to keep that weight off, and have a really good outcome has to exercise at least one hour a day,” Goodwin said. “So, if we want them to have a good outcome we have to help them to get to that goal. We also, have to make sure they are eating right and stick to that plan. The follow up afterwards is really the key.”