Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Avera provides comprehensive approach to weight loss surgery

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We introduced you to a husband and wife team on Thursday’s Avera Medical Minute who both had weight loss surgery. But their journey started well before that.

Dave and Rachel Farrell had to lose five to 10% of their body weight before they could have surgery, but they weren’t left to tackle this on their own. They had an entire team devoted to helping them, including health educator Becky Hanzen and Dr. Dawn Flickema with Integrative Medicine at Avera.

“It’s important to able to walk with them and see what works better for them,” said Hanzen.

“We have a role preoperatively with patients and then also postoperatively,” said Dr. Flickema.

“Before you even get to surgery, your mind is where it needs to be. That’s what their goal is. That’s why you take six months to get to where you need to be because they prepare you for what you’re going to do. Because if you’re not prepared when you come out of surgery for what’s going to happen, you’d be a mess,” said Dave.

Dave credits the Integrative Medicine team for providing him and his wife the tools they need to be successful and healthy.

“She would give us recipes. She would give us advice on how to do things, on portions -- on everything. I could call her and ask her ‘hey, do you think I should drink this or do I eat this?’ I’d text her the label and she’d say ‘yeah it’s okay, just don’t do a lot of it.’ She was there any time we needed her,” said Dave.

“There has to be a number of carbs, and fats and proteins. We break that up for them. We teach them how to journal. With that, we see how they feel. Because if they’re satisfied and not hungry, then we know we’re on the right path and if they’re losing weight,” said Hanzen.

“From a physician standpoint, I’m overseeing the health coaches and their interactions with the patients, and then also physically evaluating the patients and looking at that nutrition status trying to optimize vitamin levels and things before going to surgery,” said Dr. Flickema.

Dr. Flickema says having patients lose weight before surgery not only gives them more confidence, but it also makes surgery safer.

“First of all, it helps with taking fat out of the liver which is your detoxifying organ. So it allows the liver to work more efficiently detoxifying meds, and anesthesia and such around surgery. But then also, surgeons come back saying that they’re having to spend less time in surgery. So less time in surgery always equates with decreased post-op complication rates as well,” said Dr. Flickema.

“Integrative Medicine has to be there because if not, you’re not going to do very well,” said Dave.

Before weight loss surgery, Dave lost 85 pounds and Rachel lost 40. In total, Dave has lost 117 pounds and Rachel 85 pounds since last February.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.