July Physician Focus: Weight-Loss Surgery

Obesity continues to be prevalent throughout America, with 36 percent of adults and 17 percent of children and adolescents now considered obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This epidemic has fueled an increasing patient demand for weight-loss surgery; about 220,000 operations now occur each year, and the number is likely to rise.

While this kind of surgery has been successful in shedding excess pounds, as well as reducing such accompanying conditions as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea, it is far from a quick fix for being excessively overweight. Indeed, according to physicians Rick Buckley Jr., M.D. (center, photo) and Mitchell Gitkind, M.D. (right, photo), weight-loss surgery is just one tool physicians have to treat excessive obesity and one step in a lifelong process for patients.

Dr. Buckley, former chief of bariatric surgery at North Shore Medical Center, and Dr. Gitkind, medical director of the UMass Memorial Weight Center, join program host Bruce Karlin, M.D.  (left, photo) in the July edition of Physician Focus – Weight-Loss Surgery: Myths and Realities – to outline the basic facts and fallacies of this fast-growing surgical treatment.

The program serves as a primer on the topic, discussing who is eligible for this surgery, the three most common kinds of surgery, the multi-disciplinary approach taken to weight loss through surgery, what is expected of the patient before and after surgery to maintain the best outcome, and the rewards the patient can realize with surgery and subsequent lifestyle changes.

Physician Focus is available on public access stations throughout Massachusetts, online at www.massmed.org/physicianfocus , www.physicianfocus.org, and www.massmed.org/itunes.


  1. As pointed out in the article, in spite of its benefits, surgery is not a quick fix solution for weight loss. While no method will offer a quick fix solution, people will be inclined to believe that a surgery will give immediate results.

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