Gastric Bypass and Lap-Band: Solutions for the Morbidly Obese
It has only been in the last couple of decades that surgical solutions have been created for the treatment of morbid obesity which are safe enough to make it common practice. The two most common procedures are laparoscopic gastric bypass and the lap-band procedure. Both procedures have pros and cons, and Donna weighed her options carefully before deciding to have the gastric bypass surgery.
Donna Lambert is a 31 year old school teacher living in Columbus, OH. All her life she had struggled with weight, and her life for the past ten years had revolved around the daily struggle. "I would try some new program or diet, lose 5 or 10 pounds during a month, then watch them come back with maybe an extra 2 or 3 as a bonus." Donna was one of the approximately 9 million adult Americans who are morbidly obese (bmi of 40 or higher). If all of these were placed in one state, it would be the 12th most populous in the country. It affected every area of her life, and like many others she spent a fortune giving to the thriving (and for the most part useless) weight-loss industry.
It has only been in the last couple of decades that surgical solutions have been created for the treatment of morbid obesity which are safe enough to make it common practice. The two most common procedures are laparoscopic gastric bypass and the lap-band procedure. Both procedures have pros and cons, and Donna weighed her options carefully before deciding to have the gastric bypass surgery. "I knew the risks were a lot higher and that it would take longer for me to get back to work, but the success rate is a lot higher and I didnít want to have to keep going back under the knife for readjustments." Indeed, the average weight lost in the two years after gastric bypass is 75% to 80% of excess weight, versus 50% in the lap-band procedure. After consulting with her doctor over her best options, Donna had the gastric bypass surgery in June of 2005. She spent two day in the hospital following surgery for observation and by the beginning of the next school year was back in front of her elementary class.
There will probably be more than 150,000 gastric bypass surgeries and nearly as many lap-band procedures done in the U.S. this year. It is a last resort, and can only be done when the patientís bmi (body/mass index) is about 40, which qualifies as morbidly obese. For people like Donna, it is a solution she is thankful for when all else has failed. "Weight is no longer a consuming issue in my life. It is no longer the first thing someone notices about me, and is no longer a wall between me and a life. I have never regretted having the surgery, and will always be thankful it was there."
For many weighing their options between the two procedures, the deciding factor is insurance coverage. Most health insurance plans will now cover gastric bypass when it is a factor in other health problems. This is usually the case with morbid obesity, which is a known cause of such problems as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The lap-band procedure, however, is rarely covered by health insurance companies. It is a reversible procedure, and its success rate is a little lower.
A year or two down the road of weight-loss another concern often pops up after having gastric bypass surgery. Due to the rapid weight-loss, the recipient of surgery is often left with excessive loose skin and often desires cosmetic surgery in order to correct this. This is the case with Donna Lambert, who has nearly arrived at her target weight of 129. " I am looking at $14,000 to $25,000 worth of cosmetic surgery. It will be well worth the money, though." Donna has had no major complications since her surgery, and is living a healthy, happy life in Columbus.
More information and a support forum can be found at http://www.weightloss-surgerysupport.com.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael and Crystal Watson live in Arlington, TX. Among their websites is http://www.weightloss-surgerysupport.com, a support forum for those who have had or are considering weight-loss surgery.