Pearland - Friendswood Edition | January 2022

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What are the health benefits of weight loss surgery? Dr. Cowling: Weight loss surgery is intended to address the adverse metabolic consequences of obesity. Many patients are able to cure their highbloodpressure and cholesterol, significantly improve or cure their diabetes and resolve their sleep apnea. They also often have less chronic back and joint pain and

Have you considered weight loss surgery but didn’t know where to start? The new year is an excellent time to take stock of your health and explore ways to improve it. Bariatric surgeon JohnCowling, MD, assistant professor atMcGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston answers frequently asked questions. Dr. Cowling is affiliated with NewStart™, Memorial Hermann’s surgical weight loss program at Dr. Cowling: Weight affects almost every aspect of a person’s health and nearly all the major organ systems. It can contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea, arthritis and joint problems. And being significantly overweight increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and many types of cancer. Does being overweight put me at greater risk of COVID-19? Dr. Cowling: While being overweight doesn’t increase the risk of contracting COVID-19, it is a known risk factor for more severe illness, hospitalization and death if a person does contract the virus. Why have dieting and exercise not worked for me? Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital. How does weight affect my health? Dr. Cowling: With our busy and hectic lives, it’s often very difficult to stick to a strict diet or regular exercise regimen long enough to lose and maintain a significant amount of weight. Medications, medical conditions, genetics and

metabolismcan also inhibit weight loss. I encourage patients to focus not on a short-term diet but on a long-term plan that involves healthful food choices and regular physical activity. How do I get started losing weight? Dr. Cowling: Patients can start by discussing weight loss surgery with their primary care physicians. Oftentimes, patients do not need a referral to see a bariatric surgeon and canmake an appointment directly with the surgeon’s office. When should I consider weight loss surgery? Dr. Cowling: Weight loss surgery targets individuals whose weight categorizes them as morbidly obese—those with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher with medical conditions that are caused or exacerbated by the weight, or individuals with a BMI of 40 or higher with or without related medical conditions. How does weight loss surgery work? Dr. Cowling: Weight loss surgery works by altering the gastrointestinal tract to reduce the amount of food that can be consumed and to affect the metabolism of food. Which weight loss surgery is right for me? Dr. Cowling: There are several surgical weight loss operations, each with its own set of pros and cons, risks and benefits. I get to know the patient, including their medical conditions and individual goals, then try to match them to the operation that will best help them achieve the desired outcome.

John Cowling, MD General and Bariatric Surgeon

feel moremobile. Many patients describe havingmore energy and a better overall quality of life, and becomingmore active. What is the process for weight loss surgery? Dr. Cowling: During an initial consultation, I learn about each patient’s medical and surgical histories then help them choose the best option for them. Most insurance companies have preoperative requirements which generally involve some period of attempted nonsurgical weight loss and some nutritional counseling to prepare the patient for the dietary

changes that occur after surgery. When will I see results?

Dr. Cowling: Patients see immediate weight loss, in even the first few weeks after surgery. Most lose the majority of their weight in the first 6 to 9 months after surgery, and some continue to lose additional weight up until a year after surgery.

For more information about weight loss surgery, or for a free, no-obligation insurance verification, visit

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