Gastric bypass surgery is life-changing for Richmond woman
Maintaining a healthy weight has always been a struggle for Tyresa Ricks and, like many, she tried a variety of diets over the years without finding long-term success. In 2020, her blood pressure began to fluctuate. She was borderline diabetic, and her knees and hips were so painful that she took anti-inflammatory medication several times a day. She had always resisted the idea of surgical intervention. But when her weight began to have adverse effects on her overall health and she could no longer walk more than a few steps without becoming short of breath, Tyresa knew it was time to reconsider her options.
The first step
Following a visit to her primary care physician, Tyresa was referred to Dr. Matthew Brengman, a board-certified bariatric surgeon (also known as weight loss surgeon) with Advanced Surgical Partners of Virginia located in Richmond. Specializing in minimally-invasive, robotic surgery and weight loss management for obese adults, Dr. Brengman takes a personalized approach with his patients. “Weight loss surgery is not one-size-fits-all,” says Dr. Brengman. “For people who are more than 75 pounds overweight, it is important to understand how they envision their life after weight loss surgery in order to determine the best type of procedure to have.”
After extensively interviewing Tyresa about her end goals and risk tolerance for different weight loss surgery options, Dr. Brengman recommended Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. The gastric bypass procedure creates a small pouch within the existing stomach that is connected directly to the small intestine. The pouch restricts the amount of food it holds to two or three ounces, as opposed to more than a liter in the regular stomach, resulting in patients feeling satisfied faster. In addition, because food bypasses part of the small intestine, fewer calories and nutrients are absorbed by the body. Most patients can expect to lose 65 to 70 percent of their excess weight in the first year following gastric bypass.
Pre- and post-gastric bypass surgery
Prior to her surgery, Tyresa met with an on-staff nutritionist and psychiatrist to help begin the transition from a mindset of weight loss to weight maintenance. She committed to eating a similar diet and making the lifestyle changes that she would continue after surgery and lost several pounds off her 354-pound starting point, even before having her procedure. On January 11, 2021, with the encouragement of family and friends, Tyresa underwent gastric bypass surgery. Dr. Brengman made a few small incisions in the abdomen and remotely controlled a robotic camera and precise surgical instruments to create a small pouch within Tyresa’s stomach. After staying overnight at Parham Doctors’ Hospital, she went home the next day and returned to work one week later.
The first several weeks after surgery, Tyresa slowly built up to eating solid foods again. And for the next year, she continued to have regular follow-up appointments with Dr. Brengman and his team. There have been other adjustments to how she eats, including taking daily vitamins, learning to measure portion sizes, and being aware of the amount of sugar, carbohydrates, and calories she consumes. “It took some getting used to, but this is the new normal for me,” Tyresa explains.
Over the nine to 12 months immediately following her gastric bypass procedure, Tyresa lost more than 165 pounds and has a new outlook on life. She no longer needs anti-inflammatory medicine, and her hip and knee pain have vanished. In fact, Tyresa regularly participates in Zumba®, line dancing, and step aerobics—activities she would not have considered doing before her significant weight loss.
A new outlook
Tyresa considers her gastric bypass surgery one of the best decisions she ever made. “In the beginning, it was sometimes difficult to accept that this new body was mine,” she remembers. “But with the support of my friends, family, Dr. Brengman, and his staff, I couldn’t be happier now.”
Her advice to others thinking about weight loss surgery? “Don’t deprive yourself, stay motivated, and stick to your end game. You won’t regret it.”
Take the first step toward a healthier life. Watch our free online video seminar about weight loss procedures offered at Advanced Surgical Partners of Virginia.
Learn more about Dr. Brengman and his expertise in weight loss surgery.
For more information or to have your questions answered, call Advanced Surgical Partners of Virginia at (804) 360-0600.