Posted by Dr. Rachael Keilin
Over the coming weeks we understand that the musician Carnie Wilson will be speaking out on her experiences with the gastric bypass. Carnie Wilson, the American singer and band member of the duo Wilson-Phillips, underwent gastric-bypass surgery in August of 1999, before the LapBand surgery for weight loss was available in the United States.
Carnie Wilson did very well with her weight loss initially, and reportedly lost about 150 pounds. Unfortunately over the years she reportedly re-gained about 100 pounds back.
In January of 2011 we heard that she got a Lap Band on top of her gastric bypass, sometimes known as Band-over-bypass. In the few months since then she appears to have done quite well, and she is going public with her experience.
So why didn’t the gastric bypass work for Carnie Wilson and why did she regain her lost weight and turn to Lap Band surgery? My opinion is that there are cases in which people think of bariatric surgery as a magic switch, when in reality weight loss surgery is a tool.
Do you have to nail a hammer into a wall? A hammer won’t do the job on its own. You still have to use your arms to lift the hammer, strike the nail, and drive the nail into the wall. Without the hammer, the job might be impossbile, but it still takes work on your part.
Similarly, for most people who are seriously overweight, achieving and maintaining meaningful weight loss will be impossible without weight loss surgery. But to be successful those people must understand that the surgery is only a tool.
So how is the Lap Band different from Gastric Bypass surgery?
I think that the main difference between the Lap Band and the gastric bypass surgery is how the Lap Band appears to work. For most people, once their LapBand is adjusted to the right spot, they lose their hunger for many hours after a small meal. They will tell you that they literally don’t have the urge to snack or overeat because they lose the hunger.
I think that any procedure that doesn’t address your hunger makes it more difficult to keep the weight off for the long term. And that is why I think the Lap Band works so well for so many people. When a LapBand is adjusted appropriately, a person will be able to comfortably eat a small plate of food and feel satisfied for about 4 hours.
When your hunger is controlled, you can focus on eating properly and eating nutritious food to lose weight. But it won’t do all the work for you. It appears to me that unlike the gastric bypass the Lap Band works in a different mechanism to control your hunger and help you make the right choices to lose weight.