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Gastric Bypass Surgery and Recovery


FistFullaRoux
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I have a close friend who, in desperation, had gastric LapBand surgery as he neared 300 pounds and was suffering numerous health issues.  It is less invasive than the gastric bypass and the Band is tightened periodically to prevent eating much at a time.  Now he can barely eat at all but I doubt that I would attempt this type of weight loss. Doing Weight Watchers because it seems most reasonable.

Hope for your wife's return to good health and strength, FistFullaRoux.

I think the LapBand is the better method. Problem is, there aren't any insurance companies (that I know of) that will cover it. They are happy to do the Roux-en-Y surgery, which has more complications. It boggles the mind.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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I think the LapBand is the better method. Problem is, there aren't any insurance companies (that I know of) that will cover it. They are happy to do the Roux-en-Y surgery, which has more complications. It boggles the mind.

Yes, it is less invasive and is reversible ... but even that is not without issues ... the one weightloss item which is soon to be on the market is a tiny meter ... this is the meter which will be on the market shortly

The Transcend® Implantable Gastric Stimulator (IGS®) is comprised of the IGS, one gastric stimulation lead and an external programmer. The IGS is a programmable, bipolar pulse generator that delivers small bursts of electrical pulses through the lead to the stomach wall.

which is placed in the stomach and indicates to the brain that the wearer is full sooner than the regular digesting of meals....

:sad: About the moronic use or abuse of people's weight loss surgeries and insurance: I know how "penny wise and pound foolish" it is to pay for only the most drastic surgery ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Previous thread here - http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=35979

My wife had gastric bypass in February of 2004. She has lost 179 pounds and until last Friday was healthier and happier than she had been in her whole life.

Last Saturday, she fell down. It looked like she caught her foot on a welcome mat, and we didn't pay much attention to it. The next day, she fell again, after complaining of numbness in her feet and legs. She fell twice on Monday, saw her doctor Tuesday, and was admitted into the hospital Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday, she couldn't get out of bed without assistance, and couldn't even sit up for more than 15 minutes. Thursday, her hands began to go numb

Doing some reasearch on my own into this, I found a study (link here) released in October of last year, saying that up to 16% of gastric bypass patients had developed neuropathy secondary to the gastric bypass surgery. It's due to the malabsorption built into the surgery by the bypassing of 3 feet of small intestine. Since the surgery is not reversable, the options are very limited.

My healthy, happy 37 year old wife is in the hospital now, and will stay for about 3 weeks while they boost her body with nutrients fed in through a central line. She will probably go home with a permanent feeding tube, even though she can eat normal food. Problem is, now she can't eat enough. The surgery is too effective for her.

My wife will have to relearn how to walk, since the nerves in her legs have basically shut down. She has no noticeable muscle tone from the knees down, and can barely move her foot. She walked 70 feet yesterday, with the assistance of 2 physical therapists and a walker. She was dancing 2 weeks ago.

Thank God we saw this early, and it is still fixable at this point. She developed this very quickly, with no warning, and it could have progressed very quickly to paralysis or death. The nerves were not damaged too bad, and thankfully her doctor recognized that something was really wrong.

If you know anyone who has had this surgery, even if they are doing well now, warn them about this side effect. It is only being undestood now, and it is treatable when caught early. Once the nerves have been damaged past a certain point, it is permanent.

It is nothing she did wrong. It is nothing that could have been avoided with extra vitamins. It is the reduced absorption of calories and nutrients that is the root of thins. It's sort of related to Beriberi.

I'm scared shitless. If they are just figuring this out, what else is down the road?

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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My best wishes to you and to your wife for a full and quick recovery.

I'm hoping insurance covers this, as it's a sequellae of received treatment?

Speaking of long-term side effects of this surgery, how is the clotting factor in her blood? Vitamin K, essential in the cascade when a blood clot is needed (after a fall, say, with bruising), is made by the body only in the large intestine. Doesn't gastric bypass remove much of the large intestine?

What comfort food are you making yourself?

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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I am truly saddened to hear this. Best wishes to your wife for a speedy recovery.

Previous thread here - http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=35979

Doing some reasearch on my own into this, I found a study (link here) released in October of last year, saying that up to 16% of gastric bypass patients had developed neuropathy secondary to the gastric bypass surgery. It's due to the malabsorption built into the surgery by the bypassing of 3 feet of small intestine. Since the surgery is not reversable, the options are very limited.

It is nothing she did wrong. It is nothing that could have been avoided with extra vitamins. It is the reduced absorption of calories and nutrients that is the root of thins. It's sort of related to Beriberi.

I am further saddened to note that, while you are admirably clear here and in the previous thread about how carefully you and your wife followed all procedures and recommendations and that this unfortunate result was unavoidable, the article you cite does try its damnedest to imply that the patients who got this side effect were somehow screwing up on their nutrition, followup, and compliance. In other words, I fear the medical community is once again laboring its utmost to whitewash any suggestion that the fault here might lie with them, their methods--and in this case, their headlong rush to make patients thin ASAP and at all costs, even at the risk of health problems far worse than those ascribed to obesity.

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My sympathy and best wishes for your wife and her speedy and ongoing recovery. It is certainly frightening.

Unfortunately there is nothing in life without risk - known or unknown. Make no mistake, this procedure has a lot of risk and has not been around long enough to fully know all of them.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I have some things to add for anyone considering gastric surgery of any kind for weightloss: (a) give some consideration to the less invasive, reversible LapBand procedure and

(b) then read this:

Lap Band surgery

article from CNN

FistFullaRoux, I am sure that your wife will return to good health, and 179 pounds lighter ... you are both in my prayers to give you strength to weather these setbacks, which may well be only temporary.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I truly hope that your wife fully recovers from this. One have my daughters had the surgery about 1 1/2 years ago and, so far, has lost about 170 lbs. with no ill effect. This is truly frightening to me to see that something like this can happen at a later time. Thanks for the info.

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I am truly saddened to hear this. Best wishes to your wife for a speedy recovery.
Previous thread here - http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=35979

Doing some reasearch on my own into this, I found a study (link here) released in October of last year, saying that up to 16% of gastric bypass patients had developed neuropathy secondary to the gastric bypass surgery. It's due to the malabsorption built into the surgery by the bypassing of 3 feet of small intestine. Since the surgery is not reversable, the options are very limited.

It is nothing she did wrong. It is nothing that could have been avoided with extra vitamins. It is the reduced absorption of calories and nutrients that is the root of thins. It's sort of related to Beriberi.

I am further saddened to note that, while you are admirably clear here and in the previous thread about how carefully you and your wife followed all procedures and recommendations and that this unfortunate result was unavoidable, the article you cite does try its damnedest to imply that the patients who got this side effect were somehow screwing up on their nutrition, followup, and compliance. In other words, I fear the medical community is once again laboring its utmost to whitewash any suggestion that the fault here might lie with them, their methods--and in this case, their headlong rush to make patients thin ASAP and at all costs, even at the risk of health problems far worse than those ascribed to obesity.

This is a very strong statement that I don't believe is borne out by the article cited in any way. This is a complicated procedure in many ways and prone to significant risk. What the study found was that 16% of people who had the surgery eventually suffered from significant neuropathy. Those most likely to were those who for whatever reason were without sufficient nutritional support:

“It’s surprising how many of these patients developed peripheral neuropathy,” says Dr. Dyck. “Sixteen percent is a large number. But patients who were part of nutritional programs before and after their weight loss surgery generally didn’t develop these neuropathies, so we believe the nerve damage is largely preventable.”

Dr. Dyck and colleagues identified risk factors in weight-reduction surgery patients who later developed nerve problems: 1) they lost weight at a much faster pace, 2) they received less nutritional supplementation, 3) they experienced prolonged nausea and vomiting, and 4) they failed to attend nutritional clinics.

It is not my interpretation that blame is ascribed to anyone. It is simple description of the likely risk factors. In some cases blame may be because the patient failed to follow the full prescription adequately. In others, causes may be elsewhere, including possibly inadequate care. Anything is possible.

As for the medical establishment pushing this procedure, I disagree, even though there may be individual physicians doing so. This surgery is relatively recent and a response to a demand. While morbid obesity does incur significant long-term and in some cases short term medical risk, the short term risks of this procedure are clearly significant and the long-term risks apparently so as well. Of course society as a whole puts additional pressure on people considering the surgery. Discussion of these pressures are well beyond the scope of this post.

I could not begin to speculate as to why this happened to FistFullaRoux's wife. The important and unfortunate thing is that it happened. I just wish them the best in getting through this difficult time

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I herniated a disk at L5 S1 in March which landed me in the hospital and caused my left leg to atrophy. I am still in physical therapy trying to get my leg back. I have a small bit of understanding and tons of empathy for your wife. It is very scary and very frustrating. My thoughts are with you and your family as you fight through this.

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I have some things to add for anyone considering gastric surgery of any kind for weightloss: (a)  give some consideration to the less invasive, reversible LapBand procedure and

(b) then read this:

Lap Band surgery

article from CNN

FistFullaRoux, I am sure that your wife will return to good health, and 179 pounds lighter ... you are both in my prayers to give you strength to weather these setbacks, which may well be only temporary.

I was scheduled for lap-band surgery at the end of May. A few months prior to that, I joined a mailing list and the majority of people on the list had the surgery at the center where I was scheduled. I read such horror stories. Women having food stuck and a phenomenon known as PB's( productive burps). The more I read, the more scared I became. I also learned that so many foods they could eat before were off limits. Bread and any carbonated beverage. . I changed my mind a month before the surgery and Im so glad. In a post to the list I said I was a "foodie" and I was worried about not being able to eat certain things. I dont think anyone really understood what I was trying to say.

Anyway, Im glad I didnt do it. I think exercise and potion control are the ways to go for me.

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My best friend Stacy is an example of what can happen, will. She had complications from her surgery which have been very hard on her. She has had to have four more surgeries to fix things which were horribly wrong. As a result, she's now got one scar, in particular, that goes from her arm pit to her hips, and has a colostomy bag, as well. For those who want the surgery, I would certainly suggest to do as CaliPoutine did, and speak to others who've had it, and weigh very carefully before acting.

Thank the powers that be that FistFullaRoux's wife's doctor acted promptly.

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Both you and your wife will be in my thoughts in the weeks to come. You've got a long road ahead of you but you will make it!

Ditto.

From looking at the previous thread, it's clear you've been incredibly conscientious. That's why you caught this problem in time. Keep it up! All best to both of you.

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I changed my mind a month before the surgery and Im so glad.  In a post to the list I said I was a "foodie" and I was worried about not being able to eat certain things.  I dont think anyone really understood what I was trying to say.

The only reason I have mentioned the use of the Lap Band surgery and program is that my closest friend had reached 300+ pounds and had numerous health problems which were very serious. This surgery was his last hope. His son-in-law is a bariatric surgeon and recommended someone 90 miles away to do the surgery. At this point, some 2 months into the treatment, he is eating very little and obeys the 'rules' with more self discipline than he ever showed before. He was a huge eater and I am shocked at how well he is doing with the numerous restrictions required. A real diehard foodie who loves cooking ... will be interested to see his progress ... me? Weight Watchers works best for me ... :wink:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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FFR:

My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your wife. I wish her a speedy and uneventful recovery. Please keep us posted on her progress.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I think the Lap Band is the better option overall, as far as side effects and complications. However, I have not been able to locate an insurance company that will cover this version. They are more than happy to pay for the more dangerous one.

Regarding the medical community not pushing the surgery, I have to disagree with Docsconz. http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/diet.fitnes...reut/index.html

The link above is froma recent CNN story. What it boils down to is that obesity by itself is not now a criteria for surgery. Right now there needs to be co-morbidities like diabetes, sleep apnea, or musculoskeletal problems. Just being fat is not enough to get the surgery, you have to be sick too. This article states that the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, along with manufacturers of some of the equipment used in the surgery, are trying to make obesity alone be considered the main reason for the surgery.

Remember that this is an elective procedure. It does have it's place. Lots of people have gotten tremendous benefit from it. What I'm talking about in this thread is a "new" complication. It's always been a potential problem, but the sheer number of patients having this serious side effect is rather startling.

Once again, I think my wife will end up happier, even with a feeding tube, than she was at 320+ pounds. This is one more thing to look out for, especiall since it strikes with so little warning, and mimics other minor problems at first.

Edited to add: OK, maybe not the medical community as a whole, but the people who are in business to do the surgery are the ones pushing for new criteria. Which is scarier than the entire medical community doing it. This makes it look like pure profiteering. Not that there is anything wrong with making a buck, mind you. But changing the point of having the surgery, or making it available for those who don't truly need it reeks of plastic surgery. Which is ironic since many insurance carriers will not pay for the plastic surgery after the weight loss. My wife has 20 pounds of extra skin hanging off of her, and we would have to foot the bill to have the "apron" removed.

Edited by FistFullaRoux (log)
Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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And thanks for all of the good thoughts and prayers. We need them. I know we have Catholic, Southern Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, and Wicca covered just by the people we know... Kinda wish we knew a Druid so we could cover all of the bases

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Regarding the medical community not pushing the surgery, I have to disagree with Docsconz. http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/diet.fitnes...reut/index.html

The link above is froma recent CNN story. What it boils down to is that obesity by itself is not now a criteria for surgery. Right now there needs to be co-morbidities like diabetes, sleep apnea, or musculoskeletal problems. Just being fat is not enough to get the surgery, you have to be sick too. This article states that the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, along with manufacturers of some of the equipment used in the surgery, are trying to make obesity alone be considered the main reason for the surgery.

Remember that this is an elective procedure. It does have it's place. Lots of people have gotten tremendous benefit from it. What I'm talking about in this thread is a "new" complication. It's always been a potential problem, but the sheer number of patients having this serious side effect is rather startling.

Once again, I think my wife will end up happier, even with a feeding tube, than she was at 320+ pounds. This is one more thing to look out for, especiall since it strikes with so little warning, and mimics other minor problems at first.

Edited to add: OK, maybe not the medical community as a whole, but the people who are in business to do the surgery are the ones pushing for new criteria. Which is scarier than the entire medical community doing it. This makes it look like pure profiteering. Not that there is anything wrong with making a buck, mind you. But changing the point of having the surgery, or making it available for those who don't truly need it reeks of plastic surgery. Which is ironic since many insurance carriers will not pay for the plastic surgery after the weight loss. My wife has 20 pounds of extra skin hanging off of her, and we would have to foot the bill to have the "apron" removed.

We want no part of this surgery at my hospital. Surgeons have applied for privileges to do it and have been turned down. The risks are not low. At some point in the future, the situation may change.

Everyone should remember though, that this is a new procedure and that it is evolving. The risks will continue to remain high during this evolution. Unfortunately, it is by identifying the problems and potential complications as they arise that the evolution can continue. There is a lot of potential benefit with this procedure and for some, the choice may be an easy or even necessary one. IMO the surgery should only be done by a surgeon who does it a lot and at a center that specializes in the procedure.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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And thanks for all of the good thoughts and prayers. We need them. I know we have Catholic, Southern Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, and Wicca covered just by the people we know... Kinda wish we knew a Druid so we could cover all of the bases

You can also add a Jew formerly from Anniston, AL.

My heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery from the Land of Israel.

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You can also add a Jew formerly from Anniston, AL

and, actually, a few other eGullet Jews who already appear in this thread ...

It is our prayer that your wife make a full, complete recovery, FFR, and that you take care of yourself as well, both emotionally and physically as you support her through this period.

May G-d grant you both strength to bring you through these tough times.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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