With thousands of self-proclaimed biohackers on the Internet making seemingly incessant YouTube videos about supplements and their potential benefits, deciding whether to take one can be daunting. For one, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and therefore, the quality and purity of the item may be questionable. Second, supplements often aren’t researched as part of well-made and controlled studies, so their benefit can be anecdotal rather than based on solid science and data.
On the other hand, supplements can be essential, especially if you have a deficiency. This is not only the case for bariatric patients whose supplement regimen can be the difference between good results and ending up in the hospital, but it goes for just about anyone.
Surgery can be daunting, but with refined techniques and minimally invasive technology, it has never been safer to go under the knife. With that said, patients must follow certain directions before their surgical procedure to ensure that it is as safe as possible and successful as it can be afterward. These tips are meant to help patients improve their health before surgery or give the surgeon the information they need to best perform the procedure.
Depending on the area being treated, patients may believe they are helping their surgeon by shaving any hair that exists there. On the surface, this is an excellent idea as he would think hair could be a contaminating factor, leading to the possibility of infections or other complications. The medical community thought that shaving the surgical area was appropriate until, relatively recently, we began to understand that shaving the surgical site may be counterproductive. To clarify, you must read your pre-surgical instructions, which may include trimming your hair, but we rarely suggest that a close shave with a razor be performed before surgery. Doing so increases the chances of folliculitis or infection of the hair follicles, which can cause a superficial but ultimately problematic infection.
Instead, we will often shave the area in the pre-op area or operating room before performing the procedure. If the patient has a significant amount of hair in the area, we may ask them to use clippers to trim it, but not down to the skin.
The very idea of a hernia sounds pretty painful. After all, it is a hole or defect in the strong lining of the abdomen known as the fascia. How could it not hurt? It may be interesting to know that while most patients believe the defect is painful, this is not the case. Usually, the entrapment of fat or intestinal tissue within the hernia defect causes the pain and discomfort people complain about.
With all the attention that weight loss medications like Wegovy are getting, we must show both sides of the story. In this case, for some patients, Wegovy, which consists of 2.4 mg of Semaglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, has shown genuinely remarkable results, with some patients losing as much as 15% of their body weight. For patients on the lower end of the obesity scale, this is exceptional and may improve or eliminate some of their excess weight-related problems. A recent study showed that the risk for a major cardiovascular event drops significantly with patients taking Wegovy for weight loss. Again, these weight loss drugs can be a lifesaver for the right patient.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, there has been a significant trend in using laxatives among the aging population and even younger people. The movement originated during the worst COVID pandemic when virtually every part of our lives was thrown off kilter. However, there are also easily explained causes for this increase in demand, like a population that is also steadily aging – laxatives tend to become more necessary as we age. However, this phenomenon still doesn’t fully explain why younger people buy and consume laxatives more than ever. Let’s discuss some reasons and what we can do about it.
When it comes to abdominal pain, safe is always better than sorry. Like most aches and pains around our bodies, abdominal pain is usually not much to worry about. However, many vital organs are contained in the abdomen, and if they become diseased or unhealthy, they can begin to cause us pain. This can manifest as dull, deep aches or sharp, stabbing pains. They could last for just a few seconds or several hours. While many abdominal pains require significant diagnostic testing, a few have a very predictable profile and are often readily diagnosed, sometimes even without advanced imaging.
If you are having a general surgical procedure in the abdomen, you might be interested to know that we insufflate or expand the abdominal cavity by pumping in carbon dioxide (CO2). This is essential for better visibility within the abdomen and for giving our instruments room to move and perform the surgery. But with that excellent visibility, do we poke around to see if anything else is wrong with the structures within the abdomen?
Typically, when performing surgery in a particular area, we tend to remain in that space because we are uniquely set up for that surgery. There are times when we can perform combination procedures. For example, if a bariatric procedure is being performed, it is possible to remove the gallbladder should it be symptomatic from gallstones or other gallbladder diseases. We do not remove the gallbladder prophylactically (if you have no symptoms of gallbladder disease). Similarly, most obese patients also have a hiatal hernia, which can be repaired simultaneously as the primary bariatric procedure.
Bile, a yellowish-green enzyme, is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. The gallbladder injects it into the small intestine to assist with the breakdown of food, especially fats. Bile reflux is precisely as it sounds – like its more well-known cousin, acid reflux – and involves the movement of liquid upward through the G.I. tract into the stomach (and sometimes esophagus) when it should be flowing downward instead.
Over the years, mesh hernia repairs have become the gold standard in repairing hernias simply because… mesh works! In the days when we used conventional suture repairs, back before we had the current crop of advanced meshes, the risk of a recurrent hernia (one that reopened) was significant. This recurrence was because of the significant pulling force or tension placed on the tissue to close the hernia defect. This is only exacerbated by intraabdominal pressure caused by excess abdominal fat or activities such as weightlifting, coughing, or even sneezing.
Today, hernia mesh is thinner and more advanced than ever. Along with these advances in technology has come longevity as well. The customized nature of today’s hernia meshes means we can accurately predict the body’s inflammatory response and choose a mesh that best suits the patient. As such, it is common to see the mesh last for the rest of the patient’s life, with less worry of migration or curling. We are closing hernia defects with far fewer complications than ever before.