Stomach Stapling Last Option

Stomach stapling is becoming increasingly popular as a surgical solution to treating obesity. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 stomachs will be stapled in the US this year. And there are dramatic success stories. All one has to do is to turn on the Today Show to be impressed by the appearance of the thinner, elegantly dressed Al Roker after his stomach stapling surgery.

But the general public is warned again and again that stomach stapling should not be considered a cosmetic procedure. And it should only be a last option if a person is morbidly obese and after diet and exercise have failed. Morbidly obese patients are vulnerable to pneumonia, infection and pulmonary embolism during surgery. Gastric bypass surgery also carries the risk of torn sutures and stomach staple disruption in morbidly obese patients.

Comment: "Morbidly obese" is currently defined as 100 pounds overweight but less overweight patients may have the stomach stapling surgery if their weight is causing a "life-threatening problem." This makes the demand for stomach stapling surgery a more subjective decision because being less than 100 pounds overweight can still be associated with a life-threatening condition. Another consideration is whether stomach stapling surgery is appropriate treatment for overweight adolescents.

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