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Project: Ramona Blog


Project Ramona: Christie's surgery vs. My surgery

I am not a doctor. I am not a doctor.  I am not a doctor... just need to make that perfectly clear.

When people heard that NJ governor Chris Christie opted for the lap band and not the gastric bypass I chose I got plenty of questions.  Which surgery is better?  Why didn't YOU go for the lap band? Why didn't HE have gastric bypass?  Why didn't either of you get the gastric sleeve?

Most facilities, including Catawba Valley Medical Center, offer more than one type of bariatric surgery and if you don't know which one would work for you, you need to attend a seminar.  CVMC's surgical weight management program holds free seminars every month.  Click here for seminar dates and times:

The seminars usually last about two hours and you'll learn everything you ever wanted to know about what should happen before, during and after your weight loss surgery. They'll walk you through the qualification process, tackle insurance coverage and you'll find out how much time you'd need to take off from work.  Christie was in and out in a day.  I stayed in the hospital overnight.  You'll need those details and info about post-surgery lifestyle changes  so that you can make an informed decision about whether to undergo bariatric surgery.  You need to talk to your doctor to make an informed decision about which weight loss surgery will help YOU accomplish YOUR goals.

I am not a doctor. I am not a doctor. I am not a doctor... just needed to remind you.

During the sleeve gastrectomy the surgeon removes about 85% of your stomach.  Gastric bypass cuts the stomach too, but the surgeon will create a new smaller pouch (I call it my tiny tummy), about the size of an egg, which is then  attached to part of your small intestine. As part of the lap band procedure, a band containing an inflatable balloon is placed around the upper part of the stomach. The surgeon puts a port under your skin and a tube connects that port to your band.  The balloon is then inflated or deflated with fluid to adjust the size of the band so it restricts the amount of food your stomach can hold. 

From what I've read, Sleevies (my made up word for folks who've had sleeve gastrectomy) absorb nutrients better than GBs (people like me who've had roux-en-Y gastric bypass). But the reason why my doctor and I felt gastric bypass was best for me was that for many patients it leads to better weight loss and greater success in resolving Type 2 diabetes (70-80%) and high blood pressure (50%).  The most recent data reveals that after about a year Sleevies lose 50-60% of their excess body weight.  GBs 65-70% and Banders (laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding) 45-50%.

Since my prayers were mainly focused on putting my diabetes in remission, Dr. Cox thought it was best that I had gastric bypass.  Your surgeon will take a look at your medical history and consider your lifestyle issues before recommending a procedure for you.  Remember, no matter which one you choose, your life will change and its imperative that you know what you're signing up for.  It's not cosmetic surgery, these are serious medical procedures that can help people who've already tried to lose weight on their own.  There is risk involved, but the way I see it... the risk of living with type 2 diabetes and morbid obesity were far greater.

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