Worried About Permanently Altering My Body

by Worried
(in Dallas)



I have been considering getting weight loss surgery for a while now, but I’ve been straddling the fence on the decision.

I had a friend who underwent the gastric sleeve surgery and ended up having major regrets about permanently altering her body. I wasn’t too worried about that until I talked to her and now I’m kinda worried about it.

After talking to her I was pretty much leaning no on the whole bariatric surgery thing, BUT then I saw one of my favorite characters, Kate, on my favorite new show (BTW, it’s called “This is Us”, if you haven’t seen it check it out, it’s great!) decided to undergo the gastric bypass surgery.

I did a little digging and it looks like the bypass also permanently alters your body :/

It seems like if Kate’s getting it on the show this procedure is pretty legit then? I’m not sure, I don’t know what to do.

So, I guess I was hoping I could get a professional opinion on a permanent surgery.

How much would getting the bypass, or the sleeve for that matter, permanently change my life? Is it a crazy commitment? What can I do to make sure I stay on track if I do decide to get these surgeries?

Any help would be amazing! Thanks!

– Worried in Dallas

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Surgeon Response to "Worried About Permanently Altering My Body"

by: John Rabkin, M.D., Pacific Laparoscopy

Dear "Worried in Dallas,"

Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) can provide tremendous improvement to the health and well-being of patients who suffer from morbid obesity. However, to realize the benefits, these 'tools' must be used properly and any patient who chooses to undergo WLS must be committed to comply with the necessary regimens that accompany the various procedures, the specifics of which depend on which WLS procedure is done.

All of the WLS procedures in some way or another permanently alter your body. Of the four standard accepted WLS procedures, the Adjustable Gastric Band (AGB: "LapBand" and "Realize Band") alters your body the least and can potentially be removed, almost entirely reversing the "permanent" alteration of your body. Unfortunately, the AGB is the least effective of the accepted WLS procedures and has generally fallen into disfavor with fewer of these procedures being performed today because of that as well as associated complications.

The Verticle Sleeve Gastrectomy (VG) has become the most commonly performed WLS procedure. It is a very straightforward procedure which is limited to turning your stomach into a 2.5 to 3-ounce capacity tube by surgically removing the "greater curvature" (stretchy portion) of your stomach. Although not surgically reversible, over time the stomach will stretch and your capacity to eat more food will increase. In a way, the operation partially 'reverses itself' over time. Unfortunately, this is both a blessing and a curse: if your stomach stretches to the point where you eat more calories in a day to feel satiated than you 'burn off', you'll suffer from weight regain.

The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RNY) and the Duodenal Switch (DS) are the most 'altering' of the procedures but are also the most effective as well. This includes the anticipated weight loss, the durability of the weight loss as well as the reversal of the obesity-related medical conditions many obese patients suffer from such as diabetes mellitus, obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension, etc. These two procedures can be partially reversed if necessary, but are more complex and involve significant risk in doing so. Consequently, no patient should pursue WLS without a full commitment to having the procedure intact for the remainder of their lives, which, as a direct benefit of having undergone the procedure in the first place, may be considerably longer than had they not had the WLS!

John Rabkin, M.D.
Pacific Laparoscopy


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DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

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