Weight-loss surgery options help improve patients’ health


Physician Article

Weight-loss surgery options help improve patients’ health


When Shelby A. saw her husband’s health improve after weight-loss surgery, she was inspired to take control of her own wellbeing.

“Before James had his gastric sleeve procedure, he couldn’t walk in the plant where he works without taking a break because his back hurt so badly,” said Shelby, whose husband, James, lost 105 pounds. “He also had developed high blood pressure, sleep apnea and diabetes. “

With a history of hypothyroidism and family history of obesity, Shelby decided to have a consultation with James’s bariatric surgeon, Dr. Wes Turton, at West Georgia Surgery & Bariatrics.  

“Seeing James feel so much better was a turning point for me,” she said. “Not only had it become a health issue, but being overweight was affecting my job. Since I work for the post office and deliver mail, it had become harder and harder for me to get in an out of my vehicle. “

Shelby lost 95 pounds after having gastric sleeve surgery, the same procedure James had.

“It feels great to be the healthy self I used to be,” she said.

Dr. Turton has helped more than 600 patients through weight-loss surgery, with 200 of those surgeries performed over the past year.

“We’ve talked with many people who have tried to lose weight without success,” Dr. Turton said. “Not everyone we talk to is a candidate for bariatric surgery, but for those who are, we help them determine which surgical option may be the right one for them.”

Surgical options include sleeve gastrectomy surgery, gastric bypass surgery, and the gastric band. All are done laproscopically, which means they are minimally invasive procedures without as much discomfort and recovery time as previous methods.

Dr. Turton also performs a surgical procedure known as gastric band revision, which involves removing, repositioning or replacing gastric bands with a more effective method.

“Through the years the profession has seen that gastric bypasses and sleeve gastrectomies offer more successful weight-loss outcomes and eliminate Type II diabetes about 70 to 75 percent of the time,” he said.  “Gastric banding has decreased in usage due to less-than-desired weight-loss outcomes. Bands also can slip and erode. “

Dr. Turton also serves as medical director for West Georgia Health’s weight-loss surgery program. Because the program is accredited through the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, is an Optum Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, and most recently achieved the status of a 2015 Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery, surgeries performed through this program are covered by Medicaid, Medicare and many insurance companies.

“Bariatric surgery benefits patients in so many ways,” he said. “Sleep apnea almost always goes away afterwards, and the surgery reduces the effects of asthma and the risk of heart disease. Patients see improvements in urinary incontinence, joint pain, back pain, mobility, diabetes and high blood pressure.”

West Georgia Surgery & Bariatrics offers online and in-person seminars regularly to provide the community with bariatric surgery options. For upcoming seminars and more information, visit wgbariatics.com or call (706) 880-7318.