"My most beautiful years were after the Gastric Sleeve surgery"

Alina's story is a simple one. It starts well and ends even better. But if we were to go a little deeper into things, we would discover the radical change that brought energy, tonus, a lot of self-confidence and a healthy, much better life.

Bariatrics was not in the plan

"I had come to terms with my excessive kilograms. However, I was very affected because of stomach problems and discomfort caused by irritable colon", says Alina.

The patient decided to address the Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery at Ponderas Academic Hospital, and Dr. Simona Filip, Surgeon of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, helped her make the decision to undergo bariatric surgery to regain her health and life.

When she was 33 years old, Alina had over 35 excessive kilograms. Diets didn’t help her, and every kilogram lost returned multiplied. Youth gave her energy and a sense of well-being, but she was aware that things were not good at all. She clearly had a tendency to avoid seeing her body, she was getting tired quickly, the back and ankle pains were constant and she couldn’t ignore the inability to rest well. Specifically, Alina was suffering from first-degree obesity: she weighed 87 kilograms, at a height of 160 centimeters, and had a body mass index of 34 kg/m2.

"I also used the body mass calculators and I saw that I was only two kilograms away from being diagnosed with second-degree obesity. I knew what the effects were, and what the risks were, but I always told myself that somehow I would manage to lose weight. Don't ask me if I was actually doing something for it, because I couldn't follow any diet. I knew that I lacked the will to follow a strict diet, I knew that after a diet I would gain weight", confesses Alina.

The gastric pain pushed her to the doctor for a series of investigations, diagnosis, and treatment. This was the moment when she met Dr. Simona Filip. After the analyses, it was found that excessive weight is the main cause of the ailments and that there are also digestive ailments that need treatment. Moreover, Dr. Simona Filip urged her to lose weight.

"I was very honest because a bond was created between me and the doctor and I felt the care she had for me as a patient. I confessed to her that I don't have the ability to follow a diet, but also that I will gain weight quickly, on the spot, if I manage to lose weight. That's when she told me about the stomach reduction surgery, as a treatment option", says Alina.

"I could only think about the surgery"

Alina solved her gastric problems, but the idea of an intervention to get rid of the excessive kilograms forever never left her mind. That's why she came to Dr. Simona Filip again, this time as a potential bariatric patient.

"I found out everything about the surgery: from the benefits to the risks, from the procedure itself to the types of bariatric surgeries. I knew it was the right one for me and I was informed in detail both about the surgery and about the period after the surgery", continues Alina.

In December 2013, Alina made an appointment for pre-operative investigations, and analyses required for the assessment of the general health status.

Depending on the results, the multidisciplinary team of the Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery recommends the type of surgery that suits each patient and decides, together with them, what the treatment plan is.

The pre-operative assessment is performed in the multidisciplinary team and includes laboratory analyses, cardiological and pre-anesthetic checkups, endoscopy with sedation, barium enema, and, last but not least, surgical checkups. All these investigations take place during one day, and at the end of investigations, the patient meets with the surgeon and they establish the customized treatment plan for each patient.

Alina decided, together with Dr. Simona Filip, that the best treatment solution for her is the Gastric Sleeve.

The procedure causes a loss of more than 80% of the excessive weight in the first year after the surgery, but the results depend a lot on the patient's involvement. In Alina’s case, for example, things evolved towards the ideal weight, very quickly. The gastric sleeve surgery is minimally invasive and laparoscopic, and the procedure requires 4-5 small incisions, up to 1 cm in length, in the abdomen, and the post-operative recovery is very quick, and easy, with minimal post-operative pain. In addition, the patient can mobilize a few hours after the surgery, activity is recommended after the surgery.

"Weight loss can vary and depends on how each patient participates in the process that follows the surgery. The surgery is not the end, but the beginning of the process of losing excessive kilograms. As a rule, during the first three months approximately 30% of excessive weight is lost, and within 6 months approximately 50% of the surplus", says Dr. Simona Filip.

The right moment

"I passed very easily both through the surgery itself and through the post-surgical stage. I stayed in the hospital for only three days and from the first moment I felt very well. I easily adapted to the new lifestyle, the proof being the fact that I lost a lot of weight and very quickly, without any problems", says Alina.

The decision to have this surgery is made after a long process, in which all the implications of the surgery are analyzed. It is very important for the patient to understand the entire process and to have a team of competent doctors with them throughout the entire process, from pre-operative investigations to long-term monitoring.

"There is no ideal time to consider a bariatric surgery. The patient decides which is the optimal context to do something that will definitely bring an improvement in life. When the lack of energy, appearance, and associated complications lead them to the conclusion that they can no longer do it alone, and that they need help, then it is the right time for bariatric surgery. A metabolic surgery brings major benefits on all levels, even more, when it is performed on young patients. It is the solution that can prevent the onset of severe chronic diseases, both metabolic diseases, such as dyslipidemia and diabetes, but also cardiac and vascular diseases, and if these diseases already exist, bariatric surgery can substantially improve and even cure them", explained Dr. Simona Filip, General Surgery Primary Doctor, doctor in medical sciences, Surgeon of Excellence in Obesity Surgery.

A new life after the gastric sleeve

Alina recovered very quickly, both her age and the fact that she didn’t yet have other diseases associated with obesity contributed to her quick recovery. At the end of February 2014, just two months after the surgery, she lost 24 kilograms, and after 6 months, she lost 33 kilograms. Later, she stabilized at 52 kilograms and she became a normal weight and healthy person.

"It's been 9 years since the surgery. I continue to follow the diet and come for annual post-operative checkups. I eat little, varied, and at regular times. A meal means a bowl of soup or an egg and a tomato or a fruit. I maintained my weight, with small variations, and now, looking back, I can say that the period after the surgery was the most beautiful of my life", concludes Alina.

Long-term weight maintenance requires lifestyle changes and personal responsibility. This is one of the most important tips that the patient, who has gone through a bariatric surgery, regardless of its type, receives from doctors. Surgery is only one step in the whole process, it helps you lose weight and alleviate or cure associated conditions if they are installed, but to maintain yourself in the long term, it is important that the patient respects the recommendations of the multidisciplinary team.

"After the surgery, the rules are easier to follow because the feeling of hunger disappears, satiety appears very quickly after a small consumption of food, the cravings for sweets or other foods disappear, and the appetite is extremely easy to control", explains Dr. Simona Filip.   

Over 13,000 patients were treated at the Center of Excellence in Obesity Surgery at Ponderas Academic Hospital.

We were the first center dedicated to bariatric surgery and we have a multidisciplinary team dedicated to metabolic patients, prepared for the complete treatment of obesity and its associated problems, while ensuring the entire route of complex pre-operative investigations, the actual surgical treatment, and the post-operative monitoring program.

Consultant: Dr. Simona Filip, Surgeon of Excellence in Obesity Surgery at Ponderas Academic Hospital