Saturday, March 14, 2015

UK teen wants gastric band but seems unaware of what she will face post surgery

A 238 lb UK teen is desperate (she writes) for a gastric band weight loss surgery because she says she's been taunted and bullied about her weight and she wants to "live a normal life" as a teenager which she apparently thinks she will be able to do after the weight loss surgery. Brook is 15 years old and says that she gained the weight eating junk food as a younger child and that her attempts at making healthy food choices have failed.

I have some concerns about this (and apparently the UK NHS has also because they have not yet, approved her for surgery).

First of all, if she gained the weight eating junk food, it's kind of a no brainer that junk food is the first thing she should give up and will have to give up if any sort of surgery or program is going to work.

Secondly, the comment that she thinks having a lap band will enable her to "live a normal life" kind of bothered me because it appears she doesn't have a concept of what weight loss surgery is and what it isn't. 

For example the release form for weight loss surgery used by several surgeons in our area includes the phrase, "you are NEVER NORMAL".

The reason her statement worries me is because the only chance she has of having success with weight loss surgery, is realizing that it is a big life change - a change in how and what she will eat and so forth. She may "look normal size" (if she abides strictly, by her surgeon's rules) but she will have restrictions and more for the rest of her life - for example, I have a hunch eating a piece of pizza with a lap band is next to impossible without the chance of it getting stuck on the way down (which is extremely painful for a couple of hours until it dissolves and/or the person is "scoped")

Pre ops should be shown exactly how life will be after surgery so that they are prepared for the fact that without dieting and exercise, their surgery will not be effective. Also, they should be made aware of the restrictions involved with any change to the digestive tract. 

As a weight loss surgery surgeon friend of mine says "Measure twice, eat once and vomit - never!"