Sunday, April 09, 2017

The Dark Side of the Gastric Sleeve

There are apparently several famous people who got gastric sleeve or sleeve gastrectomy. It looks good. It's not a gastric bypass, so other than undermining protein and fat digestion in the stomach (some surgeons remove 90% of the stomach and put delicately, "send it to pathology"... in other words, discard it), the duodenum which is one of the main digestive organs is left in tact and after all, sleeve gastrectomy is or seems a less risky surgery than gastric bypass et al.

But the gastric sleeve appears to have a darker side. The stomach which is now, about as big as your thumb and twice as long as your thumb, doesn't hold much of anything...for example, patients describe difficulty in drinking liquids and some have observed brown urine from dehydration etc.

Mama June Shannon, mother of the cute little girl who starred on "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" TV Show, was quite overweight although likely not, the 450 lbs she claimed, had the gastric sleeve.

She said it was an, a lot more painful process than she expected as she also had a couple of skin removal surgeries but on tonight's show, "Mama June, From Not to Hot", she was able to strut her stuff at her ex hubby's "Sugar Bear's" wedding. June was never married to Sugar Bear as she was likely still married to the father of one of her other kids but they made a commitment ceremony last season on Honey Boo Boo's show.

On tonight's show, Mama June, apparently healed from her multiple surgeries, thin and blond, went to her ex's wedding and after, had a fun burning of her old large clothing.  Since June and her daughters have moved into a new rather nice home (TV pays well!), she and friends went out to the middle of the woods for the burning ceremony. However, when she went back home afterward, she suddenly, got very sick. They rushed her to the ER, complaining of severe abdominal pain.  She lived and they promise that next week's show, will feature the entire story of what happened to her. She was in enough pain that she couldn't stand up.

One thing I've seen happen with the sleeve, is a staple line leakage. A patient I know, had to go through multiple surgeries to fix that and included in the dark side of the sleeve, is the fact that unlike the gastric bypass, there is no way to reverse it.

Bottom line, none of these surgeries are really effective because we now know the appetite centers are in the brain...thus surgery or no surgery, we can only lose weight and keep it off by reconfiguring our thinking processes and living in a jungle of high fat, high calorie food, this is never an easy process.  Even Dr Now of the TV show, "My 600 lb Life", admits that surgery is only effective IF the patient diets and exercises...which is, of course, effective without surgery.

So why do they still do weight loss surgery? Because it's a cash cow. The average weight loss surgery surgeon makes $1.5 million bucks a year. People have done strange things for much less than that!

I felt bad for Mama June...she was a happy, reasonably healthy, overweight person and now, she has all sorts of issues with her mutilated digestive tract. 

It's a vicious circle. Providers generally don't follow post ops and complications from all surgeries, are handled by emergency medicine. Overweight people, desperate to lose weight, tend to not do the research they should do, relying on their providers to inform them but without following up on post ops, the providers may not know much more of the long term repercussions than do the patients.

Buyer, very careful in surgically removing or mutilating the stomach.  That our digestive systems work, wasn't the reason we gained weight and disabling it, is likely to cause more problems than we bargained for.


Mamab73 said...

The surgery is 37% of losing weight the rest is the patient. If you can commit to a new life style don t do it. If you are committed then it's the best decision you'll make for yourself. Not everyone has issues after. It's rare.

Sue Joan said...

Actually, according to Weight Loss surgery surgeon, Dr Terry Simpson, the surgery is only 10% of the weight loss and 90% of the weight loss is the patient's effort, so as you can see, since surgery can cause repercussions for years after surgery and diet and diet work fine without surgery, surgery is likely not a good choice for most people.

Val said...

Nice blog, Sue - I’m pleased to have found it. At one point I contemplated lap-band surgery (my cousin’s wife, an RN, underwent this procedure 7-8 yrs ago & ALMOST had me convinced!) but although she initially lost 60 lbs (she qualified due to her “comorbidities”, borderline hypertension & high triglycerides) unfortunately she has gained at least half back.
It’s possible this has occurred after band removal but I haven’t had an opportunity to ask her... Not exactly polite dinner-table conversation is it? “M why are you fat again??”
Another friend had VSG 2 yrs ago (again not morbidly obese, in my opinion pretty much a vanity procedure although undoubtedly she must have had some “comorbidities” to qualify for partial insurance coverage) - she lost about 50, regained 30. Struggling to lose again by dieting.
I told her of my success in peeling off 30+ stubborn lbs with my limited-carb regimen (far from perfect & not ultra low-carb, but vast improvement on how inconsistent & imbalanced my diet was in my younger years)... but she had convinced herself that WLS was the Holy Grail.
I wonder if she’ll express regrets in a candid moment when I have a chance to catch up with her.