Thursday, February 11, 2016

More Weight Loss Surgery ads on TV disguised as shows

Filmed in High Def and artistic cinematography and certainly scripted (as all "reality TV" is), the show, "My 600 lb life" is certainly watched by many and the producer who is the son of a Houston weight loss surgery surgeon, is definitely going to the bank.  A great improvement on earlier shows like the old series "Big Medicine", artistically speaking, one can be certain these shows have the same effect on the TV audience as the earlier offerings.  After every show on weight loss surgery, more than one weight loss surgery clinic remarked that their phones were "ringing off the hook" with prospective buyers.

  People featured on "My 600 lb life" i.e. the patients, not only do not get compensated for their appearance on the shows, but they also, have to pay for their weight loss surgery and/or skin removal surgeries.  There has been some speculation that the patients get a bit of a discount on the procedures but a couple of thousand bucks off on surgeries which can cost from $15,000.00 and up, isn't much of a financial aid.

This season, a new show has been added.   They call it, "Skin Tight" and is ostensibly about the plastic surgery that weight loss surgery patients (who lose the weight too fast for the skin to respond) often need.  Truly (and as the show portrays), many weight loss surgery patients have so much loose skin that they feel their bodies are more uncomfortable than they were when they were at their starting weight. 

The photography in "Skin Tight" is interesting.  The so called "skin surgeries" are long and very painful, a fact which is (of course) omitted from the show. Most patients I've talked to, describe it as more painful than the original weight loss surgery.  The skin surgeries involve long incisions and long hours under anesthesia and long healing.  But of course, the patients seen on "Skin Tight" all smilingly say it was totally, worth it because they "look so good" now.

However, if you watch the cinematography closely, you will notice that the patients who have undergone "skin surgeries" (most of them, have multiple procedures), are photographed from the front in the before photos and from the side or even covered up in  clothing in the after photos.  So even though the smiling patient says (according to the script) how wonderful life is, I wonder if the long scars and months of pain are really so wonderful.

It bothers me a lot how much of a business, the medical field has become.  Often, more expensive procedures are sold when a less expensive procedure (or no procedure) would do fine.  And often, despite the glowing reports we see on TV, the end result is fraught with problems and/or repercussions. 

There is no doubt in my mind that the public wants these surgical procedures because being of size in our society is considered worse than anything else.  But it seems that surgeons face a rather interesting dilemma.  Either they do invasive surgeries like the gastric bypass  which, albeit causes a large weight loss quickly (mostly muscle - good tissue you don't want to lose), can, in the long run, cause patients,  to suffer, many complications and can even shorten lifespan because of the malnutrition of fats and proteins and the lack of some 100 micro-nutrients a day which no longer can be digested.  Or they do the safer weight loss surgeries like the lap band or the gastric sleeve which do not offer the desired quick weight loss but also do not cause the complications of the more invasive surgeries.  

Surgeons who do the latter, often have to offer their patients diet plans including shakes etc.  But the truth of the matter is, that all weight loss surgery patients will not lose the weight unless they diet and exercise - these two things which, of course, cause a weight loss without surgery.

Best to remember the Buddy Valasco ("Cake Boss") statement, "It's TV, Baby!"

Or to recall a testimony by one of the major TV networks in the 1950's when they were caught cheating on the quiz shows.  Said one of the CEO's, "Well, the people were entertained, we made money and no one was hurt!"  

Unfortunately with today's shows, featuring weight loss surgeries, although the public is entertained, many people are hurt.  A sad thing to sacrifice a human's quality of life and longevity, for entertainment.


bigcooke said...

Sue, you are correct -- many are in for the money, those are the ones that scare me. There are those that do care about their patients and do look out for their well being.

Laura said...

I had no idea that the producer of that show was the surgeon's son. Basically, it's just an infomercial.