Robotic Surgery Helps Shed Major Pounds


SAN ANTONIO, TX. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Robotic sleeve gastrectomy is the latest in bypass weight loss surgery. The surgery is performed using cutting-edge robotic technology to minimize trauma to the patient, meaning a faster recovery and less pain. And for one woman, who’s already lost nearly 80 pounds, it was just what the doctor ordered.

Teresina Francis is a busy, hard-working mom, but at 295 pounds, she found that it was all she could do, to get through the days.

“I was always tired. I was always looking for a reason to not do something. The tipping point for me was that I finally saw myself as a morbidly obese person in the mirror.” Francis shared.

Frustrated, she turned to laparoscopic gastric surgery, using groundbreaking robotic technology.

David Thomas, MD, a Bariatric Surgeon at Baptist Health System said, “The robotic technology allows me to sit at a console. It allows me to operate the hands of the robot, which ideally doesn’t cause as much trauma to the patient.” (Read Full Interview)

The robotic system provides the doctor with vision that is three-dimensional and magnified by ten.  During the procedure, the doctor uses the robot to divide the stomach and remove a large portion of it, leaving a long tube-shaped pouch in place. It can hold up to ten ounces.

“I didn’t have a lot of pain. I didn’t have a lot of nausea. It went really well,” Francis said.

“It’s an amazing thing to see in person.  It really does help the patient recover a lot faster,” Dr. Thomas stated.

“The surgery for me was a huge game changer. This isn’t the easy way out.  I’ve put in a lot of hard work to get to this point. We are outdoors more and we are constantly going and I can keep up instead of falling behind,” Francis told Ivanhoe.

Francis says she has lost 79 pounds so far, and still has a few to go. This surgery makes the patient feel full faster, they don’t absorb food quite as well, and the part of the stomach that is removed eliminates the hormone ghrelin, which causes people to feel hungry.

Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Field Producer; Bruce Maniscalco, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.


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REPORT:        MB #4442


BACKGROUND: Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries are major, life-changing procedures. While weight-loss surgery can help reduce the risk of weight-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and sleep apnea, it can also pose major risks and complications. In general, gastric bypass or another weight-loss surgery could be an option if: efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise have been unsuccessful, the body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher, or the BMI is 35 or more and there is a serious weight-related health problem, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or severe sleep apnea.



SLEEVE GASTRECTOMY: During a sleeve gastrectomy (also called gastric sleeve, vertical gastrectomy, restrictive vertical gastroplasty, or vertical sleeve gastrectomy) the stomach is divided vertically with a line of staples and a large portion of it is removed. This is usually done using minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery. The remaining stomach is a long tube shaped like a very slender banana. It can hold between 1 and 5 ounces. The surgery helps you lose weight by restricting the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. The part of the stomach that is removed secretes a hormone called ghrelin which is partly responsible for appetite and hunger. Due to the decreased amount of ghrelin, sleeve gastrectomy patients experience a loss or reduction in appetite. This loss of appetite induced by sleeve gastrectomy surgery helps them achieve weight loss.



NEW TECHNOLOGY: David Thomas, MD, Bariatric Surgeon, who practices at Baptist Health System said,Sleeve gastrectomy does not change the way the body absorbs food. Only the quantity a person can eat, and also their appetite by decreasing ghrelin (because we remove the part of the stomach that makes that hormone during sleeve gastrectomy.)  Alternatively, a gastric bypass does alter the amount people can eat and makes it so they do not absorb food as well. But, the ghrelin part of the stomach stays within the body and is not removed. So, sleeve causes people to lose weight differently than a gastric bypass.” The vision is much better than typical laparoscopic surgery.

(Source: David Thomas, MD)



Natalie Gutierrez, Baptist PR


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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for David Thomas, MD

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