A great new book to help you on your weight loss journey

Written by Ali Zarrouk on .

Your Complete Guide To Nutrition For Weightloss SurgeryYour Complete Guide to Nutrition for Weight Loss Surgery is a great new book full of great tips and more than 100 nutritious and tasty recipes for the different dietary stages before and after weight loss surgery. It is written by Sally Johnston, an Australian dietitian, for Australian patients. The book is an excellent aid to patients in addition to the expert advice by our two dietitians Angela and Michael. In fact we were so impressed by this book and find it useful that we give it for free to all our new weight loss surgery patients.

Dr Ali Zarrouk
June 29 2015

Use Your Sleeve Gastrectomy Weight Loss Momentum to Change Your Life

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Use Your Sleeve Gastrectomy Success To Change Your Life

Sleeve Gastrectomy can rapidly change your life. Most patients see a 60% reduction in excess body weight within six months 1* (* Results may vary from person to person). Weight-related conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and sleep apnoea significantly improve or disappear altogether. Everyday you'll feel lighter, be able to do more than you could before, and stay active for longer periods of time.

After six months that rapid weight loss slows as your body adjusts to your new caloric intake. By nine months it's almost stopped. That's why it's so important to act quickly and take advantage of the positive energy and momentum now.

What You Can Do to Maintain that Weight Loss Momentum?

Habits That Can Sabotage The Success Of Sleeve Gastrectomy

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Habits That Sabotage Success of Sleeve Gastrectomy

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy has become one of the most popular weight loss operations in recent years. You will be able to eat a normal diet and feel satisfied after a quarter of what you used to eat. The operation also reduce your hunger by removing the Ghrelin hormone.
Like all weight loss operation, the sleeve gastrectomy should be a viewed a tool that you need to use properly in order to maintain your weight loss long term. Adapting a new healthy lifestyle will ensure your long term success.
There are certain habits that you must avoid in order to achieve long term success.

1. Grazing

Constant grazing or snaking between meals is the worst thing you can do after sleeve gastrectomy. Eating chips or crackers slowly one after the other will defeat the tightest sleeve gastrectomy that I can perform. It leads to unnecessary calorie pileup and can impede weight loss. If required, choose healthy snacks such as fruits or proteins.

It is the gastric band that fails the patient rather than the patient fails the band

Written by Ali Zarrouk on .

gastric band fails patients

The Gastric Band has emerged as a popular weight loss operation during the late nineties and early 2000s, however, over the last 10 years or so its popularity has decreased due to high failure rates, food intolerance and late complications associated with the procedure.
Quite often, the patient is blamed for failing to lose weight or maintain the weight loss. The patient's friends, family and even doctors believe that the patient has stopped following the recommended diet resulting in inadequate weight loss or even weight gain. Even many patients start to drown themselves in self-blame. In my view, this is incorrect.
The gastric band works by creating an area of fixed narrowing in the upper part of the stomach that limits food intake. Because of this area of obstruction, healthy food items such as red meat, chicken, and fruit and vegetables tend to get stuck resulting in frequent vomiting and regurgitation of food. Vomiting or bring up of food becomes part of the patients' daily routine that patients do not even report to their doctors. On top of this, the band does not address the hunger most patients experience with eating less and for losing weight. After few trials patients quickly change their diet from the healthy food that get stuck to diet consisting mostly of smooth, sloppy, calorie-dense food such as smoothies, ice cream and chocolate. These food items go through the band without restriction and without discomfort. In effect the band punishes patient for eating healthy food and rewards patients for cheating.
We cannot blame the patient for failing the band. It is the gastric band itself that fails the patient.

New Weight Loss Surgery Seminar Dates for 2015

Written by Ali Zarrouk on .

Our last seminar for 2014 is going to be on December 10th. The seminars have been very popular with patients considering obesity surgery as well as their friends and families. There will be a break over the the Christmas and the new year period. Our first seminar for 2015 will be on Wednesday 21 January. 

Merry Christmas and Happy a New Year to everyone. 

Hibernation Syndrome

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Hibernation Sydrome

One of the challenges some patients face after weight loss surgery is a condition described as the hibernation syndrome. This is a group of symptoms that include feeling fatigued, depressed and lack of motivation to do any physical activity. Patients often feel upset and become plagued by thoughts that the surgery was as mistake.. This can be quite alarming to patients recovering from the surgery and recognizing the signs assist in getting over this stage in recovery.

Hibernation syndrome is common in the first few weeks after the surgery. It is caused by the low number of calories being consumed and the reduced activity associated with this time of healing. The body perceives that it is starving and triggers an evolutionary response that has helped humans survive famines. The main aim of the response is to slow us down to conserve energy and thus resulting in; tiredness, need for sleep, lack of motivation and depression. It is important to understand that these symptoms are normal and will pass with time.

Most patients notice improvement in their symptoms around 4-6 weeks after the operation and the improvement is brought by increasing protein in the diet, taking the multivitamin tablets, increasing the metabolic rate with exercise and return to work and the encouragement patients get as they shed the extra weight. A supportive family member or friend is a great help during this time.

Strangulated Femoral Hernia

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An elderly lady presented acutely with a 24 hour history of abdominal pain and vomiting together with a painful lump in the right groin. Last year I repaired a recurrent incisional hernia in the upper abdomen with mesh. She did not have any other hernias elsewhere at that time but she is on steroid long term. 

This time her CT scan confirmed the presence of a large femoral hernia containing small bowel loops and causing small  bowel obstruction. I took her to theatre for urgent repair. At surgery she had a loop of small bowel strangulated inside the femoral hernia. A segment of the small intestine stuck in the hernia had died and she had to have that segment resected and bowel joined back again.  Strangulated Femoral Hernia

The hernia defect itself was of moderate size and I closed it with sutures only. 

After surgery she did well and was discharged home after 6 days. 


Although femoral hernias are less common than inguinal hernias, they are more prone to cause serious complications like bowel obstruction and strangulation. Once the bowel gets stuck in the hernia strangulation of the bowel can occur within about 6 hours. Urgent repair is needed before the loop of bowel dies inside the hernia (as in this patient). 

Most often the patient would be aware of the hernia before the bowel get stuck in it however, this is not the case here. This may be related to the long term use of steroids which are known to weaken tissue and cause hernias. Elective repair is better to prevent bowel strangulation, the repair can be done laparoscopically and mesh would be used. Laparoscopic repair is not an option if there is a chance of bowel strangulation.  I do not use mesh to repair hernias if I had to do bowel resection as the chance of mesh infection would be otherwise too high. So for femoral hernias operation is always needed even if not causing symptoms and the sooner the better. 

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