Just over a year ago, Patricia Miller, a Bristol wife and mother of two, tipped the scales at 270 pounds, but now she weighs less than half that, because of weight loss surgery.
The weight built up over the years and sometimes limited what she could do.
“You don’t realize when you’re that large that your body is almost like a prison and you can’t wear what you want. You can’t go where you want,” Miller said.
Patricia knew she was overweight, but she did not realize what she really looked like until she saw herself on television when she was honored for her hard work as a mother on NBC’s “Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda.”
“It was the first time I saw myself through everyone else’s eyes and I said, ‘Oh my God,’ I didn’t realize that was exactly how I looked and I said, ‘That’s why I always feel so terrible too, why I’m always so tired,’” Miller revealed.
Having a sister who died from diabetes, Patricia realized it was time to take action not just for her appearance but also for her health and signed up for an informational session on Bariatric Surgery at Bristol Hospital.
There, she met Dr. Makram Gedeon, the first bariatric surgeon in Connecticut to perform a single-incision bariatric procedure, which requires only an opening inside the belly button.
Miller chose to have gastric bypass surgery, which offers the most weight loss.
“Typical numbers can be 50 to 65 percent if it is combined with good behavioral modification postoperatively, including diet and exercise,” Dr. Gedeon said.
In that surgery, the stomach is bypassed, reducing the absorption of calories. You can see animation of the procedure on YouTube.
Fourteen months after undergoing the surgery, Miller now weights 125 pounds and her children and her husband like the change.
“They’re just really excited. My son is like ‘I can wrap my arms around you.’ My daughter is like ‘Mommy you’re not fluffy anymore, you’re flat.’”
Two other popular procedures include the LAP Band, where a device is wrapped around the top of the stomach, then inflated, giving the patient a fuller feeling from consuming less food, Dr. Gedeon said.
Another bariatric procedure is the Sleeve Gastrectomy, which involves removing a large portion of the stomach. An animation of this procedure is also posted on YouTube.
Last year, the requirements to qualify for the LAP Band procedure were altered, so less obese people would qualify.
Doctors look at what is called the Body Mass Index, or BMI, a calculation that involves height and weight.
The minimum B.M.I is now 30, down from 35. You can calculate your own B.M.I. using the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Web site.
Doctors at Bristol Hospital hope to see the minimums lowered for the other procedures as well someday because they have seen dangerous behavior from some people trying to qualify for the surgery.
“There were individuals who felt they had to gain weight in order to have the surgery. They were people right on the cusp of the prior guidelines,” Olakunle Oluwole, a bariatric surgeon at Bristol Hospital, said.
One extensive study done on obese people in Sweden followed three groups over 10 years.
One group underwent bariatric surgery, another dieted and exercised and a third did nothing to control their weight. The results showed that those who chose surgery kept the weight off the longest.
Visit us at Denver Bariatrics to learn more about weight loss and surgical weight loss options.