A University of Iowa doctor who was a pioneers in the use of stomach surgery to help people lose weight says he’s concerned about the way the surgery has evolved. Dr. Edward Mason says the original surgery involved a simple procedure to make the stomach smaller. Mason says the procedure has gone from making the stomach smaller to also bypassing part of the intestines.He says he would encourage surgeons and patients to use the simpler operation instead of the bypass operation, which he says has become common practice. Mason says he’s concerned the bypass can lead to complications that create more health problems. He says bypassing the first part of the intestine interferes with normal absorption of critical nutrients and causes complications related to metabolic bone disease from a calcium and vitamin D deficiency. Mason began using surgery for weight loss in 1966 after the surgery was originally used as a treatment for patients with stomach cancer. He the weight of Americans began to balloon in the 1980s to the point where almost two-thirds of adults are obese. Mason says a more sedentary lifestyle is likely the reason for overweight Americans.He says we don’t really know for sure what causes overweight people, although its likely to be a lifestyle issue, he says genes could also be involved. Whatever the reason, Mason says there’s a big race to get everyone back to their ideal weight using surgery. He says he’s worried about situations where surgeons limit the options for patients. He says in those cases surgeons offer only the bypass, and patients have no other alternatives. Mason says he’d like to see surgeons use the simpler procedure of reducing the size of a patient’s stomach, and then work on other factors involved in losing weight if that doesn’t work.
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