Statistics show success of procedure for severely overweight


     A study published in the October 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) pointed to biliopancreatic diversion with the duodenal switch (BPD/DS) as the most effective type of surgery for morbidly obese patients.

     To the doctors and staff at the Bariatric Surgery Center at Wood County Hospital, the JAMA findings reinforced what they already knew, because that is the procedure they have used for years.

     “It is gratifying to have a study in America’s leading medical journal validate the work we have been doing in Bowling Green for the past decade,” said Richard Oakley, M.D., principal surgeon at the Bariatric Center. “Independently and simultaneously, their findings and ours show that the patients we treat with this procedure are benefiting from the preferred treatment method for their condition.”

     Many Americans wrestle with health issues stemming from being overweight, and they wage their battle of the belt with exercise, medications and a seemingly endless array of diets.  However, about five to seven percent of America’s population is termed morbidly obese, meaning they are more than 100 pounds overweight.

     “These individuals face extreme health risks,” Dr. Oakley said. “Morbid obesity has been directly linked to serious physical and psychological health problems, including a dramatically increased death rate. For these people facing life-threatening risks, traditional weight loss programs do not work. Surgery is the best, most effective course of treatment.”

     Most surgical solutions produce some successful results, often for about one year. But the biliopancreatic diversion with the duodenal switch procedure has an unparalleled track record of documented success over a 10-year period.

     The JAMA article noted that gastric bypass surgery, perhaps the most popular form of surgical treatment for the morbidly obese, resulted in an average loss of 61.6% of the patient’s excess weight. But the article noted that biliopancreatic diversion with the duodenal switch (BPD/DS) procedure resulted in an average loss of 70.1% of the excess weight.

      A recently completed ten year study of patients at the Bariatric Surgery Center at Wood County Hospital also shows both an excellent long-term weight loss record and patient satisfaction.

     Dr. Oakley works with Dr. Douglas Hess, who developed the bariatric surgical treatment program at Wood County Hospital over the past 16 years, and personally created the BPD/DS procedure.

    In addition to the personal stories of happy patients resulting from this procedure, unbiased evidence of its success was gathered through a study of 120 patients who had the procedure performed at least ten years earlier. Of the patients who could be tracked, 94% were in the satisfactory category, having lost 50% or more of their excess weight. The average excess weight loss at the ten year mark was 76%.

     Furthermore, looking at all 1,300+ patients treated at the Center, the  94.6% had results in the satisfactory range (including 44% excellent, 32% good and 18% fair), while the results of only 5.4% fell into the unsatisfactory range (poor or failure).

     Earlier this year Dr. Hess presented these results, by invitation, at the prestigious 2004 conference of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

     Dr. Oakley believes candidates for this procedure need to carefully analyze the results of any bariatric treatment center’s previous patients.

     “If you don’t count a significant number of patients, you don’t know if the surgery you perform is successful,” he said. 

     In addition to the expected weight loss, the BPD/DS procedure produces other health improving results.

      “Type II diabetics have a 98% cure as a result,” Dr. Oakley said. “Hypertension is cured in many cases and the medication is reduced in most patients. Sleep apnea is cured, and marginal ulcers are reduced from 3% in gastric bypasses to 0.3%. Other conditions which increase the risk of disability and a premature death are also corrected or improved.”

     Not only are the results tremendous and documented, but the procedure is remarkably safe.

     “We have performed over 1,300 cases, including 155 operations on patients with failed gastroplasties and gastric bypass surgeries. Gastric leaks occurred in less than 1% of the cases, reversals were performed in just over half of one percent, and the death rate was less than half of one percent, even though most of these patients were already very high risks to begin with,” Dr. Oakley said.

     “The BPD/DS procedure is the fastest growing new bariatric surgery in the United States, with at least 10,000 cases performed by 2003. This procedure gives the morbidly obese patient the golden opportunity to have the best bariatric surgery possible, a procedure that will hopefully last a lifetime,” Dr. Oakley said. “And with the recent statistics published in JAMA, patients should feel even more confident that they are receiving the best possible treatment approach for their condition.”

     A referral from a personal physician is typically not needed for a consultation with the Bariatric Surgery Center . For more information about the BPD/DS procedure, attend a free seminar on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at Wood County Hospital, 950 West Wooster Street, Bowling Green. For more information call, 419/352-1452.