Thursday, March 27, 2008

Carnie Wilson - failed WLS? I don't think so...

I watched a video this morning, of an interview with Carnie where even with a body suit she admitted to wearing (full length girdle) she looks like she's regained quite a bit of weight. The video introduces her as a "failed gastric bypass". The interesting thing is it was put up by Provider who does - gastric bypass - (but a version of the older form) which like all the other WLS's LIKELY, has the same failure rate (about 34 percent of those with starting BMI of over 50, regain significant amounts of weight according to a 2006 study which followed patients for 10 years) cite: Annals of Surgery. 244(5):734-740, November 2006.Christou, Nicolas V. MD, PhD; Look, Didier MD; MacLean, Lloyd D. MD, PhD Abstract: Objective: To complete a long-term (>10 years) follow-up of patients undergoing isolated roux-en-Y gastric bypass for severe obesity.

However, we are not sure if Carnie would be counted as "failed" because she lost from 299 to 154 so that's a loss of 145 lbs. If she's regained 50 percent of that loss which is approx 73 lbs she would STILL be considered a success, weighing in at 227, which is probably pretty close to what she weighs.

Thus, she may NOT BE a failed gastric bypass. She may be, in fact, in the 70 percent who have and are expected to have, a rebound weight gain of up to 50 percent of what they originally lost.

So then, when in all the medical papers, they state that a 50 percent rebound gain after gastric bypass is EXPECTED and happens in MOST people, why do they call Carnie, failed?

First, most folks can keep off 50 percent of their excess weight WITHOUT surgery and WITHOUT taking the risks associated with gastric bypass especially if they work as hard as Carnie does.

And second, there seems a push among some providers to "discard" healthy gastric bypass patients who are in the 70 percent who have a rebound gain and sometimes in favor of ill patients who had "kept it all off".

For example, a few years back, the now defunct BARIX clinics ran an ad which talked glowingly about an individual's new life. The reality was, according to her own messages before she was picked for the ad, that she had reactive hypoglycemia and was more and more disabled by it and filing for disability. "I find it more and more difficult to talk up this surgery, " she commented in a message shortly before BARIX picked her as a poster kid. The ad suggesting she was slim and healthy appeared in several magazines like "Woman's Circle" and the like.

I also remember a lady who started out over 520 lbs, lost down to 170 and then regained up to 270 or so. She was STILL keeping off over 240 lbs which is way more than 50 percent of what she initially lost, making her a super success story, but she was dismissed from the provider's office in which she worked and told her weight gain was giving prospective patients the wrong message. Last I heard, she was seeking revision which is highly risky and not particularly effective.

Thus, bottom line, Carnie who is more like the AVERAGE gastric bypass patient, may be considered bad publicity for those selling this surgery as something after which, you "will be normal" and "will keep all your weight off" and will " suddenly look like a model with not much work" and will "suddenly be normal and be able to eat what you want without a regain".

A gastric bypass is, we are told done for HEALTH. Carnie was healthy before but she had some fat issues including sleep apnea, all of which, she has told us, have gone away. The only issue she has now is a hernia (she's had that for a while and apparently doesn't want to or hasn't gotten a chance to, get it fixed). She can keep off about 60 to 70 lbs which she never could do previously.

Carnie is NOT a failure, she is a SUCCESS and I feel that pressuring her like that could be endangering her life if she goes for revisions etc.

Gastric bypass is NOT cosmetic surgery. It will not make you thin if you are MOST people. It only makes 7 percent of patients slim and some of those have gotten very ill and cannot eat and others just work hard and never weighed that much to begin with.
It's really important when making this decision to realize that.

I am glad to see this video up on YOUTUBE - not because Carnie's surgery failed but because it can show patients a REALISTIC picture of what can be expected (in MOST patients) from a gastric bypass (of any variety).

Here's the video:


Unknown said...

Why have you not been commented on yet!?!

I love this post, thank you for putting it here. I have a few friends that have had Bariatric Surgery who have died from complications and a few that had the initial drastic weight loss and then gained some of the weight back - who then start hating themselves because they're not model thin like the ads and the doctors make them feel they should be.

I've been telling people that this/these surgeries are not the end all to fatness and results such as the ones in the commercials are more then certainly not typical. Patients need this realistic picture of how it will really be.

BTW - I would like to add you to my blogroll on my site Let me know if you would prefer that I don't and I'll remove you. :-)

Have a wonderful day!


PARIAH said...

Very good perspective with sound reasoning. I'm considering VSG surgery myself and have no illusions that it will be easy to lose/keep the weight off. The surgery is just a tool.

Sue Joan said...

Hi Pariah, The thing which bothers me with the VSG is that since they remove as much as 90% of the stomach, it's basically not reversible so if you do develop an ulcer (which is more common than they admit to) it can make you very ill. The thing to keep in mind is that however one loses and keeps off the weight, requires the same thing - as Dr Terry Simpson put it "Measure twice, eat once and vomit never". That is what many WLS patients have discovered (sadly, after surgery) is that the WLS, while causing a quick weight loss, did not help them keep off the weight. As a GERD patient, who has mild difficulty in swallowing etc, I can attest to the fact that even with that, I managed to gain 60 lbs easily and it's very much of a pain, fighting one's digestive tract 3-5 times a day. People whose digestive tract work well, cannot conceive of what it's like to deal with lifelong digestive problems. For example, the quality of life index for a patient with GERD on a scale of 1 to 10 is a 2! And since the bottom line is the same i.e. journaling food, measuring and portion control, it makes more sense to avoid the surgeries all together and use a non surgical tool like Weight Watchers to do the job. I tried for a lifetime to do it in alternative ways but finally, followed WW and have kept off 112 lbs for over a year now. i.e. consider pretending you had the surgery and consider, instead making the lifestyle changes. I can give you several references of people who discovered after surgery that their tool was not really working for them except to give them vitamin deficiencies and other health issues... again good luck on your journey and thanks for writing!