Harvest of Hope
A bumper crop of ways to fight hunger

A Pound of Clay
Tile-making in the Mimbres with Kate Brown

Touch of Evil
Is there a sex offender in your neighborhood?

Oh, the Places You'll Go for Art
Karen Lauseng spearheads the new Arts and Cultural District

Beans and Cornbread
Another winner from our 2009 Writing Contest

Museum People are Exhibitionists
Four fascinating folks at the Silver City Museum

A Work in Progress
The Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park still has growing to do


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Editor's Note
Desert Diary

Wings for the Greatest Generation
Mine That Bird Returns Home
Tumbleweeds Top 10

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Continental Divide

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Body, Mind & Spirit
Negative Relationships
Medicine for the Earth
Lap-Band System

Red or Green
Red Barn
Dining Guide
Table Talk

About the cover

  D e s e r t   E x p o s u r e   October 2009


A Simpler Stomach Solution

Silver City surgeon Dr. Roland Snure is the first in New Mexico to offer a less-invasive weight-loss procedure.

With obesity rates more than doubling in the US from 1976 to 2004 and nearly a third of adult Americans now classified as obese, many are giving up on the standard diet-and-exercise prescription to lose weight. According to a recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services, from 1998 to 2004 the total number of bariatric surgeries performed in the US increased nine-fold, from 13,386 to 121,055.

The most common such surgical procedure is gastric bypass, which can provide long-term, consistent weight loss if accompanied with ongoing behavior changes. But the Mayo Clinic cautions that gastric bypass isn't for everyone with obesity: "It's a major procedure that poses significant risks and side effects and requires permanent changes in your lifestyle. Before deciding to go forward with the surgery, it's important to understand what's involved and what lifestyle changes you must make."

An alternative, much less invasive procedure that's gaining in popularity is the "Lap-Band System," the first FDA-approved adjustable gastric band for use in weight reduction. The first New Mexico surgeon to employ the Lap-Band System is not in Albuquerque or even Las Cruces, as you might expect, but in Silver City — Roland Snure, MD.

"Obesity continues to affect a growing number of people in the United States, and many don't know that for the severely obese, there are safer alternatives to gastric bypass surgery, such as the Lap-Band System," says Dr. Snure. He adds, "Patients need to work with their doctors and bariatric surgeons to determine the weight-loss treatment options that are most appropriate for them."

Dr. Snure is an Allergan Certified surgeon who says he enjoys general surgery because of its role in solving specific problems with tangible results. While his skills are applied to a wide range of ailments and injuries, his two special interests are breast cancer and obesity. Breast cancer, which affects one in eight women in the US, is manageable and curable when detected early through mammogram screening, Dr. Snure points out, adding that obesity places women at increased risk for breast cancer. Obesity also leads to diabetes, hypertension and cardiopulmonary disease — chronic conditions that can often be improved by weight loss.

The Lap-Band System was approved for use for severely obese adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more; "obesity" is defined as a BMI of 30 or more. The system is also approved for adults with a BMI of at least 35 plus at least one severe obesity-related health condition, such as type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma. The system is restricted to sale by or on the order of a physician.

Used in more than 300,000 procedures worldwide, the simple reversible surgically implanted device has safely helped many severely obese adult patients achieve and maintain long-term weight loss. Using laparoscopic surgical techniques, the device can be placed around the top portion of a patient's stomach, creating a small pouch.

By reducing stomach capacity, the Lap-Band System can help patients achieve long-term weight loss by creating an earlier feeling of satiety or fullness while maintaining a healthy diet. The inflatable band is adjustable, and can be tightened or loosened to help the patient achieve a level of satiety while maintaining a healthy diet. It is also reversible and can be removed at any time.

The Lap-Band System is considered safer and less invasive than gastric bypass surgery. Unlike gastric bypass, it does not involve stomach cutting, stapling or intestinal re-routing. This offers the advantages of reduced pain, length of hospital stay and recovery period. In many cases, the band procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis and the patient can return home the next day.

According to Dr. Snure, the Lap-Band System procedure may be right for you if:

  • You are at least 18 years old.
  • Your BMI is 40 or higher or you weigh at least twice your ideal weight or you weigh at least 100 pounds more than your ideal weight. If you do not meet the BMI or weight criteria, you still may be considered for surgery if your BMI is at least 35 and you are suffering from serious health problems related to obesity.
  • You have been overweight for more than five years.
  • Your serious attempts to lose weight have had only short-term success.
  • You do not have any other disease that may have caused your obesity.
  • You are prepared to make substantial changes in your eating habits and lifestyle.
  • You are willing to continue being monitored by the specialist who is treating you.
  • You do not drink alcohol in excess.

The procedure is not appropriate, he cautions, for patients with conditions that don't make them good candidates for surgery or for those with gastrointestinal abnormalities or problems such as ulcers, severe esophagitis, Crohn's disease or high potential for gastrointestinal bleeding. Other conditions that would rule out the procedure include infection, portal hypertension, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, pregnancy, addiction to alcohol or drugs, autoimmune connective tissue disease, and long-term steroid treatment.

It's also important, Dr. Snure adds, that a patient be committed to following the dietary rules that come with the procedure.

Dr. Snure's New Mexico Lap-Band hosts a patient seminar on the first Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. and a patient support group on the first Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Snure's office is located at 2600 N. Silver St. in Silver City.



For more information, visit www.newmexicolapband.com or call 388-3175.

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