Patient Stories Weight Management

Bariatric Surgery Success

April 2, 2012

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Bariatric Surgery Success

There isn’t anything Jodi Johnson wouldn’t do for her boys. At 11 and 12, Kobe and Caden are pretty active. Mom is, too, but that wasn’t always the case.

“I didn’t want to do anything,” she says. “I came home and put my comfy pants on. I didn’t want to leave the house.”

Believe it or not, Jodi used to be almost 100 pounds heavier. She has the vacation photos – and memories – to prove it. On a zip-lining excursion, Jodi was embarrassed to find herself in need of a larger-than-normal harness.

Everyone in her family had come to accept her size. No one saw her as overweight. No one, that is, except Jodi.

“It was something I knew I needed to change for myself,” she says.

After trying all the diets, Jodi decided on another option – weight loss surgery. She scheduled a lap band procedure with Thomas White, M.D., medical director for CHI Health Weight Management.

“The one thing they drilled into my head is this doesn’t solve everything,” Jodi recalls. “This is just a tool that really helps you.”

“Portion control is the key to the lap band,” Dr. White explains. “Basically, we restrict how many calories we can take in in a day. By restricting the number of calories, you are going to lose weight.”

So how does the surgery work?

It’s a relatively quick operation – lasting about 30-45 minutes. Dr. White places a band or plastic ring around the upper portion of the stomach that now holds an inflatable balloon. He then secures the band by sewing the stomach over the top.

Most patients can go home the same day. From then on, Dr. White can monitor progress and adjust the size of the balloon to help the patient feel full.

“Typically what I tell patients is you didn’t get to this overnight, so you’re not going to lose the weight overnight,” Dr. White says. His patients with the best track record are those who figure out the right type of food to eat as well as the right portions for their goals.

Any man or woman who is 100 pounds or more over their ideal body weight is a candidate for the lap band procedure. Another qualifier is if a patient’s body mass index is 35 to 40. Again, though, Dr. White cautions this isn’t a quick fix.

“If it was that easy, there wouldn’t be the epidemic we have in the United States.”

But lap band can still be an effective tool in the weight loss toolkit.

“70 to 75 percent of people keep the majority of weight off five to ten years down the road,” Dr. White says. “The nice thing about the lap band is if you start to gain weight back, the band is adjustable.”

As for Jodi, she knows she has a full life ahead of her – but already she’s a success story. She tells everyone about where she’s been and the changes she’s made to get here.

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