Medical Journal Book Review
by
Arif Ahmad, M.D.

Weight Loss Surgery, Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.  Barbara Thompson, Word Association, 2001.

This timely text fills a much-felt need for a complete guide to obesity surgery for patients by a patient.  This book commences with a description of the important steps in the decision-making by the author, as a patient, to pursue surgical means for weight control, followed by a summary of the criteria used by surgeons to decide if a patient qualifies for bariatric surgery and some of the co-morbidities associated with obesity.  This is followed by a brief overview of bariatric operations and some of the thinking processes used in selecting the type of operation.  A description of how to locate a surgeon and details of insurance coverage are included.

Psychological and emotional issues and interactions with the family are dealt with in a manner possible only by one who has actually undergone the surgery.  The preoperative work-up and the actual experiences during the hospital admission are described in patientsí terms, and patients will find the descriptions easy to relate to.  Possible complications and the experiences after the operation are described in accurate and succinct but patient-understandable terms.

The final chapter, by the patientís husband, lends an important perspective to the effect of the changed body habitus and its psychological implications for family members or significant others.  Useful appendices include a list of suggested readings, relevant Web sites, and a list of bariatric surgeons in the different states.

The medical information is accurate and up to date, having been reviewed and edited  by Ms. Klemm, R.N. and Mr. Gourash, PAC, both individuals closely associated with the bariatric program at the University of Pittsburgh.  I consider the information in this book to be an essential complement to a consultation with a bariatric surgeon and would enthusiastically recommend this book to all patients considering bariatric surgery.

Arif Ahmad, M.D.
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

Journal of Laparoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques, Vol. 11 (5), October 2001

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