Dr. Nestor de la Cruz-Muñoz is director of bariatric surgery at UHealth, University of Miami Health System. If you have further questions about bariatric surgery or to schedule an appointment, call 305-689-1910.
Briana Rodriguez is a 20-year-old college student and a part-time gymnastics instructor, but there are things she teaches her students at the gym that she can no longer accomplish herself. This frustration, along with other health concerns resulting from her weight, motivated Briana to explore the option of bariatric surgery.
In her late teens, Briana gained more than 60 pounds over a short period of time. It never came off. After trying everything from meal plans to special workout plans, Briana decided to take a bigger leap. At the end of December, she underwent bariatric surgery with Dr. Nestor de la Cruz-Muñoz at UHealth Bariatric Specialists in Doral, Florida.
“I have put all my trust and prayers and faith into this surgery and into the team and Dr. de la Cruz. I think it’s going to be great,” says Briana.
December is a busy time in the operating room because many patients have been preparing for their surgery for months ahead of time, says Dr. de la Cruz-Muñoz. In January, the clinic is busy with new patients who have decided to make a change for better health. “With New Year’s and New Year’s resolutions, there are a lot of people that come out and they say, ‘You know what? This is the year that I’m going to take care of myself and make myself healthier,’” he says.
Briana chose the gastric sleeve procedure, where the stomach is reduced in size by the creation of a small pouch about the size of a banana. Following the procedure, patients are required to overhaul their eating habits in favor of small, frequent meals. During the first six months, patients see the most dramatic weight change as a result of the combination of the surgery and the new eating behaviors.
Six years ago, Briana’s mother lost 100lbs. after bariatric surgery with Dr. de la Cruz-Muñoz. She continues to feel great and maintain her weight loss, and Briana draws inspiration from her mother’s success. “It’s hard going through this surgery but it’s not going to be hard having her by my side,” she says.
Briana is also hoping the gastric sleeve procedure will help alleviate the shortness of breath that results from her asthma and headaches caused by idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a condition causing excess pressure in the brain that could be tied to Briana’s weight.
“We know there are dozens of diseases either caused by or worsened by obesity,” says Dr. de la Cruz-Muñoz. “As a result of the weight loss from the surgeries, we’re seeing improvements in a lot of almost all of the medical issues.”
In the new year, Briana hopes to travel. “I want to go to New York City. To walk blocks and blocks...I’d love to do that without feeling the pressure of my weight.”
From Dr. de la Cruz-Muñoz’s point of view, the life-changing effect of the surgery is what makes it so gratifying. “We’re giving people a new chance at life.”
FOCUSING ON YOU
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