Monday, March 03, 2008
Would you get weight-loss surgery?
By A. Chris Gajilan
Senior Medical Producer

A few weeks ago, a good friend told me that she'd be getting a Lap-Band procedure done.

She told me about her upcoming weight-loss surgery over a sushi lunch and very excitedly explained all aspects of the procedure. It would be minor surgery -- minimally invasive, take about an hour, no major side effects, covered by insurance for a mere co-pay of $20.

She wouldn't need to stay overnight in the hospital, she told me, but her doctor liked to be safe. "I have the same doctor as Al Roker for when he had it done," she added.

To be honest, I was stunned, when I know I shouldn't have been. After all, we do weight-loss stories of all kinds as part of the Fit Nation series. Lap-Bands, which restrict the size of the stomach, really do work for a lot of people. In fact, in a January issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, one small study found that 75 percent of people who got Lap-Band surgery experienced a remission of their type 2 diabetes -- possibly because of fewer calories being consumed. In the group that just tried diet and exercise, only about 14 percent experienced remission.

But my friend hasn't been diagnosed with any major disease. While she may have a family history of health problems, she lives a very healthy lifestyle. No diabetes, no heart disease, no high blood pressure. She works out three to four times a week. In fact, while I'm not as heavy in weight or body mass index, she's far fitter than I am. Even so, her body mass index is over 40 -- well into the category considered obese.

According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 200,000 Americans had bariatric surgery last year. (The two most popular procedures are gastric bypass and the Lap-Band.) The latest numbers say that four out of every 1,000 patients who have gastric surgery die, either at the hospital or at home. The ideal candidate is someone who has a body mass index of 40 or more -- which equates to about 100 pounds over your ideal body weight. Someone considering weight-loss surgery must pass extensive psychological and medical exams to be approved for the surgery.

While I was concerned about safety, she assuaged my fears by telling me that Lap-Band is much safer than gastric bypass. A previous CNN.com story (Full Story), described the procedure: "A small adjustable band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to restrict the amount of food the stomach will hold. The band creates a small pouch opening to the stomach. The amount of food your stomach will hold is controlled by injecting or removing fluid from the band."

While I know my friend is the ideal candidate, I can't help but feel some reservations about it. I can't help but wonder if I would do the same if I were in the same position.

Would you get weight-loss surgery? What would you tell a friend considering it?

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I have lost over a hundred pounds this year, but not with surgery, although it was suggested by a doctor. I have done it with eating and walking on a treadmill.

Part of me has thought that I wished I would have had it because it might have been easier or at least there's no chance of relapse, but now I know that's not true.

People who have this can become ill, and really, I haven't met anyone yet who has had it and is in stellar health, they all have seemed ill. Certainly they can't sustain a lot of exercise and they can still get fat again.

I think that we will find down the road that there is a metabolic syndrome that this surgery exposes people to and it's not always a wonderful glowing picture.

There is always the risk that I will blow it and get fat again, but I think that with what I have learned about my body, I am on right path.
Hi Chris
I did have weight loss surgery (gastric bypass), and I'm glad I did. I hope it prolongs my life and gives me better health, but I do worry about things like stomach ulcers. Gastric bypass is not as light of a surgery as the lap band is, but I was told it is reversible, when I got the surgery. Although I have never been diagnosis with an ulcer, I know the surgery has made my acid reflux disease worse. Before I had the surgery, I gained most of my weight during my pregnancies, but I've struggled with weight all my live. I still struggle with it, even though I've had gastric bypass. I can still gain weight anytime I want to, I even gained about 10 lbs from my lowest weight since the time of the surgery, and I very much still have to watch what I eat. I lost about 7 lbs in the last 2 and half months, click here and you can see pictures of me and my family at church yesterday. You can tell I’ve lost about 7 lbs since these pictures were taken during Thanksgiving and Christmas time.

Weight loss surgery helped me and helped many people I know including some of my family members, but it doesn't help everybody. Some people don't lose the weight or gain it right back after a few years. I now take care of patients who come out of the gastric bypass surgery. It helps that I have gone though the surgery myself and I understand what the patients are going though. I plan to delicate my time to many of the surgery patients and find out how it's working for them. I'm so interested in the long term effects and if there is any weight loss benefits after the initial 5 years. I am almost 4 years out after I have had my surgery and I got the surgery because my blood pressure was sky rocketing during my pregnancies and it never went away after I gave birth. I was on bed rest and had toxemia for about 6 months during the pregnancy with my twins, but we all made it. We're all healthy and still alive, and I hope we all stay that way. I wish all people who battle with their weight the best in luck at better health. Surgery can help, but it's not always the best answer. So far for me it's been a big help, and I believe it can help others who need it. I want to part of that. Thanks for info CNN.

Goodluck at fighting the fat fight.

Ann Stewart
Nashville TN.
I alread had the surgery. I chose the vertical gastrectomy (reduction of stomach). I had a BMI of 40.1 and no serious comorbidities. It was the only practical solution for me. I'd of spent another dozen years (if I lived that long) dieting unsuccessfully like 99% of dieters so I chose medical intervention. I've lose 100 lbs since surgery a year ago and feel great with no complications. There were some risks of course, but they were far and away less risky that me staying 100-120 lbs overweight. This is one happy middle aged guy!
JP in San Francisco
No I wouldn't consider getting weight loss surgery nor would I tell a friend to. I am 150lbs overweight and I am now taking steps to lose weight which include eating right and working out with a trainer. I didn't gain this weight overnight therefore I don't expect to lose it overnight. I consider surgery of any kind the lazy way to weight loss. Most people end up with an excessive amount of loose skin and like Al Roker and Star Jones, they look sickly. I'll pass.
Absolutely, I'd get it done. We know from numerous studies that the reason it is so difficult to keep weight off is that your body re-adjusts its metabolism after weight loss to put weight back on. Also, your body floods with you with chemicals that make you hungrier than you normally are. Between those two factors - slower metabolism and increased hunger - keeping weight off is very difficult. Most studies find that fewer than 5% of all dieters using diet and exercise manage to successfully keep the majority of the weight off for more than two years. What lap band surgery does is allow your body to readjust its set point - the weight which your body easily maintains. Even with the lap band, you still have to diet and exercise, but once you're done, you're far more able to keep it off. In Australia, where they have been performing the surgery for years now, they find that over 60% of lap band patients keep over 80% of their excess weight off over five years.
I have looked into this procedure. If it was covered by my insurance I would definately undergo this procedure. Partially this is from not loosing weight despite a significant reduction of calories and an increase in activity.

In the research I have done through medical professionals I do believe that this method is safer although I would personally worry about the "fast food" approach to the procedure. I would not feel safe if a doctor did NOT want to monitor me after a procedure for at least 12-24 hours. Despite it all, it is surgery.
I did have weight-loss surgery two years ago, a gastric bypass, which enabled me to lose over 150 lbs. I originally scheduled the surgery only to lose enough weight to satisfy my orthopedic surgeon, who had told me that the only relief possible for my barely functioning knees was double replacements, but he would not operate until I lost at least 100 lbs. I knew I was "heavy," but had had no real incentive to push through all the failed diet attempts because I had low blood pressure and cholesterol, no blood sugar issues, and felt healthy in every way, except for the ability to walk without pain. The life change that occurred for me, after surgery and weight loss, was finding out how much of a victim of prejudice I had been. It happened that I changed jobs and was relocated to a new city, so that my current work and social life is with people who never knew me as a fat person. I am still amazed daily by the friendly treatment in the office, stores, restaurants, and general public gatherings that I never experienced before. I don't know how being 150 lbs. overweight in this society can make someone invisible, but it does. For making me visible, the surgery was the best thing I've ever done for myself. The knees? The weight loss has improved them so much, I've put off the replacement surgery for a while longer.
Yes, I'd probably consider it and support a friend's decision to have it too, because you'd need to weigh the long-terms effects of obesity into the equation, at some point, BUT ONLY if the surgery were being done for potential health reasons and not so they could fit into size 6 jeans.

All morbidly obese people started out as regularly-obese people. So if I was obese or morbodly obese, even if I was healthy and fit, as is your friend, I'd feel like I had a time bomb ticking away inside of me. Actually, millions of them, called fat cells.

If diet and exercise don't work, yea, I'd rather the person get it done BEFORE illness struck. Sounds like a strange sort of preventative therapy, but really, is it any stranger than having a mastectomy if you're in a high-risk situation to get breast cancer? Well, that's my outlook on it.
The best decision I ever made in my life was to have the duodenal switch weightloss surgery. I can now eat like a normal person and be thin. My only regret was not doing it decades earlier.

I bought in to the diet mentality and lost and gained the same hundred lbs over and over. And hated myself for not being able to keep it off. Those days are long gone. No more diets for me! No more misery and self hatred.

Now I can run 10 miles, rappel down cliffs, and kayak the Amazon.

In my opinion, the lapband is just another diet with a choke chain. That minimally invasive stuff just doesn't seem to hold true for the long haul. People have them removed because they get holes in their stomachs or the band grows into another organ. Like the liver. And the band is the least effective surgery out there. You can expect to lose 1/2 of your excess weight and that's about it. That's not good enough for me to risk surgery. If I'm going to be sliced and diced, I want it all.

If my friends or relatives decide to have surgery; I say good for you and don't let anyone stand in your way!
I had a lapband and while it's completely safe, it's still not for everyone, it still requires a complete lifestyle change. I am all on board for that. My Endocronologist told me he "hoped" it would work for me as I'm a VERY complient patient by nature, unfortunately I have a severely insulin resistant body, with a diagonosed dead metabolism. Severe caloric restriction on mildly worked for me. So although I lost 70ish pounds my body stubbornly has stopped at this body weight (just like it did on Weight Watchers after 2-1/2 years on not cheating).

I think for some people this would be ideal (those who feel hungry all the time), but for those who binge and can't control what they put in their mouths, will only have mildly good success.
The women in my family have struggled with obesity for more than four generations. we were obese before the word became so popular. I sturggle daily with calorie intake and excercise. I have no health problems other than osteo arthritis. My daughter showed the same pattern of obesity as a young child. She was physically fit, active and avoided junk food, and still the weight came. We decided to try the lap band when she turned 18 since it was completely reversible. She is now a normal weight, soemthing she has not seen since she was 5. She has no side effects and is leading a healthy, pysically active life.
I highly recommend getting the surgery. I had roux-en-y gastric by-pass in August 2003. I had a BMI of 48.5 but no major comorbidities, but my blood pressure was gradually going up and I had hereditary cholesterol. It was one of the best things I ever did. In the first year I lost 130 pounds, I have since gained 20 back due to a year of inactivity following a car accident, so you still have to be careful what you eat and do some sort of regular exercise. My knees don't hurt as much, my bloods pressure is 110/70, my cholesterol is high but my good cholesterol is through the roof, my energy level increased, being able to buy clothes almost anywhere is a big plus (I actually hate shopping), and as one of the other commentators stated "I'm no longer invisible."
Like your friend, I was active, worked out 4 times a week, didn't (yet) have any co-morbidities AND I was morbidly obese. My BMI was 42, I was 34 years old and had been dieting my way UP the scale since I was 18. I had gastric bypass (RNY) in June of '06, lost down to my goal weight in 6 months and I've been below that goal weight (within 10 lbs) ever since. I am now extremely fit, eat well in small portions and feel strong.

A caveat... It is not a simple thing to have this surgery or any weight loss surgery. For at least the first year and beyond you must be dedicated to taking extremely good care of yourself. It is a hard thing for women (esp mothers) to spend so much time and energy on themselves, but it is a necessary part of the process. You need to learn to eat in a whole new way, you must exercise, ongoing therapy is highly advised as the journey will mess with your head. Trust me going from a size 24 to a size 2 in less than a year is not easy to get used to!

I wish your friend well. www.obesityhelp.com is a great place for information
No, I would not have WLS even though I am eligible to have it.

I want to weep over what the anonymous poster who didn't realize how much prejudice there is against fat people until he or she became thin. Has our society really devolved to the point where people must mutilate healthy internal organs to be treated nicely by others? Maybe instead of constantly fighting to change ourselves, it's society's scornful prejudice toward fat people that needs to change.

I AM NOT SAYING THAT PEOPLE SHOULDN'T WORK TO CHANGE UNHEALTHY HABITS.

Sorry to shout, but I don't want to come back and see people saying that I'm just looking to justify an unhealthy lifestyle. I'm not saying that at all.

But I think there needs to be recognition that eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are not going to make most fat people thin. And also, we should remember that you simply cannot tell from looking at a person whether he ate a Big Mac, fries and a milkshake or a salad with grilled chicken and no dressing and a diet soda for lunch. You just can't. You can make assumptions about that, but you know what you do when you assume ...

Human beings are not bunsen burners and there's a wide variation in the number of calories our bodies require to maintain or lose weight. I was on doctor-monitored very low calorie diets (VLCDs) three times. By the end of the 12 week supplemented fast, during which I was consuming 400 calories a day, my weight loss slowed to a pound or less a week, even though the "laws of thermodynamics" indicate that I should have lost 2 - 3 pounds a week at that calorie level. How little should people reasonably be expected to eat and how many hours of exercise should they be expected to engage in to achieve a body weight that "entitles" them to "friendly treatment"?

Finally, with respect to the "remission" of diabetes following WLS: I find it somewhat frightening that researchers do not know what physical changes cause this effect. The reduction in blood sugar levels occurs within days or weeks after surgery, far sooner than can be explained by weight loss. Some patients have experienced uncontrollably low blood sugar as a result of WLS, which causes other problems. Until researchers understand why this happens, and can control it when the effect goes too far, having WLS to "cure" diabetes seems dangerous.

At the end of the day, having WLS is a very personal decision. If you've had it and feel it has helped you, that's great. I'm glad you're feeling better, both physically and emotionally.

But I worry that too many people hear only about positive experiences, and are unprepared for the adverse side effects that can occur. Maybe I'm overly sensitive. My dad died of complications caused by a medical procedure (not WLS), and I remember reading that "death" was one of the possible outcomes and thinking how silly it was. Then he died. Seemed a lot less silly then.
Unfortunately, as many obese people can attest, it's more about what's going on in your head than what's going into your stomach.

Weight loss surgery can change the size of your stomach and make overeating painful or impossible, but until you address the issues that are causing you to overeat in the first place, you're at risk for transfer addiction: substance abuse, compulsive gambling, acting out sexually, etc.

I've lost almost 100 lbs in the last year and a half by eating more healthfully (no restrictive fad diets, just common-sense nutrition) and exercising moderately. It CAN be done; you have to make your health a priority and deal with the issues which are leading you to self-medicate with food.

Sue, San Diego, CA
I had the gastric bypass July 2003 with a BMI of 52. 2 of my sisters have had the surgery and my mother and 2 other sisters will be having the surgery this year. I have lost 130 lbs and have kept the weight off. For us, it is worth the risk. Yes, we have to continue dieting. Yes, we have to continue exercising. Yes, it is a life style change. But it was impossible to lose the necessary weight when I weighed over 300 lbs and was exhausted just walking across a room and could diet all month and only lose a pound or two. It was discouraging and I needed this boost! I did not want to end up like my grandmother, bedridden for 15 years because of my size or health. Now I can go for long walks and ride a bike and I look and feel like a "normal" person! I would take the risk again, it was well worth it for me.
Choosing to have weight loss surgery versus losing weight the traditional way should be an easy choice. Having surgery is a dangerous proposition. As a bariatric (weight loss) surgeon, I can attest to the fact that surgery should always be a choice of last resort. Having said this, please understand that losing weight is a small hill, keeping it off for many years is a big mountain. A recent study from New England Journal of Medicine (August 2007) showed that of 9949 patients having gastric bypass and 9628 who didn't, the risk of death from any cause decreased by 40% after having the surgery. In addition,the risk of dying from heart disease (reduced by 56%), diabetes (reduced by 92%) and cancer (reduced by 60%) were all lower after surgery. Even though it may seem self serving for a bariatric surgeon to boast about the benefits of weight loss surgery, I see the good, the bad and the ugly associated with the surgery as well as taking care of morbidly obese patients that NEVER had the surgery but present to the emergency room due to heart attacks, strokes and severe wound infections. Good luck to all the people who are making a decision to live a healthier life, no matter which road you choose.
With a BMI of 44, I had gastric bypass in 2005. I've lost 135 lb, my total cholesterol is now 115, my blood pressure hovers around the 100/60 mark, and I have more energy than ever before. I had a total body lift in 2006, and nobody who's met me since knows I have a history of obesity. I no longer stand out in a crowd; I can buy trendy clothes; I can hold a conversation while climbing stairs; I can cross my legs.

It's a personal decision that requires a lot of introspection and research beforehand and self-discipline afterward. I would never pressure someone to do it, but I would certainly let someone know it's an option that has the potential to dramatically improve his/her health and quality of life.
I had wls 4 years ago. I originally lost 100 lbs..I have since gone up and down within 10-15 lbs...It was the BEST thing I have ever done. and my only regret is I didn't do it sooner. (I was 39) at the time. That is my biggest regret, I missed out on too many things while I was 100 lbs over weight. Now I can focus on eating healthy and working out, like a normal person.
I had a duodenal switch in February of 2005 and it is the best thing I've ever done for myself. Many people are strong enough to diet and exercise, but after years of trying and failing, I knew that my weight problem was bigger than something I could fix myself. I was very sick and probably would have been dead within a year.

Now, I weigh a normal weight and I eat like a normal person. I don't have dumping syndrome, I don't have any complications from my surgery. I just live a normal life. Losing the weight helped me deal with a lot of mental issues!

It's ignorant to think that everyone can diet and exercise their way thin. Some people have insurmountable mental and hormonal issues. Without weight loss surgery, many of us wouldn't have a chance. Are we weak? I don't think so, but hey, if you think so, that's your own deal. I've finally got my life back.
I received my Lap Band on May 1, 2006 and I have lost just under 100 pounds. It is the best thing I could have done with my life. I was only 21 when I had the surgery performed I had no health problems but I had a BMI of 40 and a family history of heart diesease, diabetes, and many other issues I decided to have it done.

To all of those people that think that having weighloss surgery is the easy way out, it is not. I work my butt off everyday in the gym to acheive my goals. Most people don't realize how hard it is having a Lap Band, if I don't chew my food in to complete mush I'm in the bathroom bringing it back up beacuse it got stuck, not very fun, or you decide to go out to eat and your waitress sends the manager over because you only ate a few bites of food and they think you didn't like it, thats embarassing.

Weightloss surgery is not for everyone and it does not work for everyone, both of my parents had the Lap Band also, my father has lost 125 pounds and has been successful, my mother on the other hand has lost nothing, but she is off almost all of her blood pressure medication and takes very little insulin for her diabetes, so it has helped her in that way.

To anyone who is thinking about having it done, just remeber it still takes alot of hard work to achieve your weightloss goals and it is not an easy way out.
I always find it interesting when we hear people justify lap band as minimally invasive. What part of leaving spare silicone parts is minimally invasive? Also, lapband is not what we would consider a permanent fix to a permanent problem.

I did, indeed, have gastric bypass and so did my husband and my father and I actually have a book being published (8/08 MacGraw-Hill The Weight Loss Surgery Connection) for gastric bypass patients. Between the three of us we lost and have maintained that loss of over 420 lbs. Our gastric bypass took approximately 40 minutes and we were up and walking around within 3 hours of surgery. We don't have to have adjustments and we don't have any spare parts that can corrode or become damaged. While we know gastric bypass isn't for everyone, we feel this constant use of "minimally invasive" is deceiving when it comes to lap band.

By the way, gastric bypass has a higher long term success rate and also has a higher rate of diabetes cure than lap band as well (referring to that article you mentioned).

We wish your friend the best in her choice and her journey ahead! Just want to make sure she's getting all of the info though.
YES!! I received the Lap-Band just short of 2 months ago and I have already lost 25 pounds. This is much more than I ever lost with diets. I won't lie - it's been a journey. You really have to work with your Lap Band to make it work, unlike Gastric Bypass where it's much easier to lose the weight b/c you can't eat sugar.

I would do it again in a heartbeat. I would say that you should ask your friend the tough questions because she needs to be sure she's really ready for the adjustment, both on a mental and emot'l level. You're being a good friend by being a little hesitant. Just be there for her, but like I said, it's okay to play devil's advocate because it is a big deal!
Your assertion that "four out of every 1,000 patients who have gastric surgery die" is misleading because you lump together all types of gastric surgery.

The gastric band mortality rate is 0.5 per 1,000, whereas gastric bypass is 5 per 1,000.

(Brethauer, S., Chand, B., Schauer, P. "Risks and benefits of bariatric surgery: current evidence". Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, Vol. 73, No. 1. 2006)
I'll pass. Not interested. They were nagging me about it at my health plan so I told them when I hit 50, I'll consider it, but not until then. Most of my weight came from medications THEY put me on (prednisone, beta blockers) and now they want to "fix" me with surgery? I don't think so. I eat a healthy diet, I exercise, and I have lost 30 pounds without actual "dieting" yet. As long as I can stay off prednisone, I should be able to lose another 60 pounds this year and get back into a range where they'll stop nagging me for a while. :)
I don't know what the mortality rate is for gastric bypass. Maybe 4 out of 1000. Maybe 5 out of 1000. Whatever it is, if it seems high to you, look at it from another perspective. Remember that people who have gastric bypass are MORBIDLY obese. They often have coMORBIDITIES. MORBID means "diseased". People don't have gastric bypass because they're fit and healthy. Most gastric bypass patients already have compromised health. When you consider how many patients go into surgery with decades of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure behind them, then put their bodies through the rapid weight loss that follows surgery, it's amazing that only 4 or 5 out of 1000 die. I certainly don't mean to make light of those deaths that do occur, but consider the 995 out of 1000 whose lives are forever changed for the better before you condemn gastric bypass.
I had vertical banded RNY open over 6 years ago. I have lost over 285 pounds to date with only 40 remaining to lose. I started out at a weight of 485 pounds and was told that I had less than 5 years to live without surgery or some drastic measure. I had tried diet after diet..I lost up to 150 pounds once and gained back 200. I did phen phen, Atkins, Weight Watchers...name it, I tried it.
I hated my life...I hated the cruelty of people who barked and moo'd and oinked at me. I hated feeling handicapped and debilitated by my own physical limitations.
I have had some complications with my surgery..internal hernias, and some repeated surgical procedures. This being said, I am grateful every single day for a skilled surgeon who gave me my life back. This surgery is in no way "the easy way out" It is life changing and there are always issues with it...but it is life saving and for someone like me..it was the only way to save my life.
I've been seriously considering the LapBand. My girlfriend just had the gastric bypass, but she was scheduled to have the LapBand but changed her mind. I need it so badly because I have hypertension and diabetes, back problems, feet hurt, I'm so tired. I'm 46 years old. My son is 15 and is obese and hypertensive and diabetic too! My heart hurts so bad for him. We've honestly tried everything for him and for me. Currently, we're attending Weight Watchers and just hoping and praying something works. I care about myself but I want my son to have a life being "thin" and healthy, along with all the girl problems and car problems the rest of his friends. I'm worried about him more than me. I'm afraid of the gastric bypass for me. I've had blood clots in my lungs before when I gave birth to him. It's no picnic. I worry about that! I'm so confused.
I had weight loss surgery 5 yrs ago. I am happy I did. I have also maintained my weight which I was never able to do pre-surgery. I fell great. I know it is not for everyone, but I have no regrets.
Seven years ago, on March 2nd, 2001 I had laparoscopic gastric bypass at Centennial, it was the first day of the rest of my life.

I was always the fat kid in school, from first grade on. Actually, the first day of first grade I was greeted by a little boy who said, "Good morning, chub chub", he continued to greet me that way for the next 12 years. As a teen, I was in size 16s - 18s. After having two children in my 20s, I was in size 22s-24s. I used to go into Lane Bryant and wonder who on earth let themselves go to the point of having to wear a size 28. In my 30s, I found the answer - me. I had to leave Lane Bryant and go to fit. That day in the Avenue dressing room came right on the heels of having to wear a heart monitor for three days because I had been feeling like I was having palpitations at 35 years old.

My highest weight was 330. At the time of surgery I was on two medications for high blood pressure, but it still ran 168/96, I was on medication for reflux and my knees and ankles hurt so bad that I rarely went upstairs in my home. At one month after surgery, I lost 30 pounds, at three months 75 pounds, at just over six months 100 pounds, by 15 months I had lost 160 pounds (down to 170). I have been off all of those medications since six months after surgery and my weight today hovers around 175.

I would like to briefly respond to those who believe any form of weight loss surgery is the easy way out. The criteria you have to meet before your insurance will even approve surgery can be extremely prohibiting, frequently requiring 6 months or more of medically supervised weight loss attempts - which have a 95 - 98% failure rate in the morbidly obese population. Having weight loss surgery at a Center of Excellence includes nutritional counseling, exercise counseling, psychological evaluation and support. To achieve optimal weight loss safely and to maintain that weight loss long term requires committment from the person having surgery - committment to making the lifelong lifestyle changes required, this is not easy, that is why there is so much support provided.
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts this morning-

Pam Davis, RN, CBN, CCM

Bariatric Clinical Manager

Centennial Center for the Treatment of Obesity
I am currently setting up my LapBand surgery date. I have horrible acid reflux that has caused laryngitis, hypertension, fatigue, and chronic low back pain. I am also very aware that obesity and diabetes runs heavily in my family. I have tried many diet/weight management programs for over the past 15 years(since age 13) and have successfully lost the weight just to eventually gain it back. I have also tried very unhealthy fad diets to lose the weight and have been very unsuccessful from them. I know I need help to get healthy and am ready to live an active lifestyle with my energetic daughter.

I know WLS is not for everyone and I would suggest that before anybody has surgery to do the research. I work in the health care field and have seen both unsucessful weight loss surgeries as well has successful ones. I also suggest talking to people who have had WLS and get their opinions and ask them questions.
After reading all the previously posted comments, I see one clear point. The Duodenal Switch is the gold standard in weight loss surgery. While there are two more common procedures available in every bariatric center, I highly recommend that anyone needing to lose 125lbs with comorbid conditions and 150lbs w/o find you nearest Duodenal Switch surgeon. I had my surgery in February 2005, to date, I have lost 190 lbs. I don't care what anyone says my life is forever transformed. With the DS, I can eat whatever I want but I don't overeat. My life was given back to me by this surgery. I would do it again again and again.
I had Gastric Bypass done 3 yrs ago, and just celebrated my re-birthday on the 15th of March, and for me, it was THE BEST thing I have ever done for myself and my health. Someone said it was the "lazy way" to lose weight, and without trying to be rude, you could not be more wrong!
There is NOTHING lazy about having to watch everything you put in your mouth for the rest of your life, not to mention the supplements you have to take every day, excercising, yearly dr appts for check up's, etc etc.
This is a lifelong lifestyle change, not something that is a quick fix. I have lost 124 lbs and have kept it off for 2 yrs. It is a struggle sometimes, but I would not change my decision for anything.
I grew up as an overweight child and was an overweight adult my whole life. I had no self esteem. Now I have my health, a much healthier body, as well as a much healthier spirit. Energy is great, I love shopping at "normal" stores, and my family and husband respect me for changing my life since I will be here longer for them. I had uncontrolled high blood pressure for over 10 years AND was taking meds that did not work, tried every diet under the sun as well as excercise programs. The weight comes back in abundance.
Before anyone decides this is the lazy quick fix, all I ask is that you educate yourself first.
I would love to have the surgery but I'm to afraid. My biggest fear is if I don't lose some of the weight it will kill me. My mother died at 35 years old from a heart attack that scared me also. I'm 36 now and have alot of medical problem which most of them stem from the weight issue, I have horrible acid reflux, hypertension, a sleep disorder, ulcers,high cholestrol, my knees and back hurt all the time. My battle with weight gain started, like most women, when I started having children. I was a size 1 before my first child and now after my second i'm a size 18. I think it really starting to sink in when a couple of years ago when I had cervical cancer and after they did the first surgery on the report from the hospital it labeled me obese. I never really thought of myself as obese, I mean I knew I was a big girl but obese, it never crossed my mind. I think if it will prolong your life and make you feel better about yourself then you should do it.. Let face it in todays society if we can fix the problem why shouldn't we...
I had the surgery 5 years ago. I lost 150 lbs, and have kept off 140. I too tried diet and exercise. I had no health problems as a result, and I certainly believe I am in stellar health.

The only people I know who have had health problems after surgery didn't follow the rules. They didn't eat enough protein, take their vitamins, or make wise food choices.

I know I can get fat again. Hopefully it won't happen because I am no longer constantly hungry and I am extremely active.

I put my time in on 'healthy lifestyle changes'and it didn;t work for me. Since the surgery, I am able to enjoy my life, instead of obsessing about how many calories I'm consuming and burning.
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