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Lapband Or Gastric Bypass

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Today I finally saw a pain management doctor at the va for my back problems. A lot of the threatment she is suggesting is nothing new. Specifically, the medications Gabapentin, and amitriptyline which she has prescribed off label. Electronic pain solution, other than tens or inplant. Physical therapy ( which just seems to make maters worse), and diet, which I have been doing for ages with yoyo results. She indicated I need to attend a class concerning back exercises and see a dietition. She even suggest either lapband or gastric. I need to lose at least 90lbs , but I am really over weight by 130 lbs.

Has anyone taken the drastic measure of surgey to lose weight and if so what was your result, and did you have any complications? My understanding is the va does do either surgery. If not I know medicare and tricare will conver it if I decide to do it.

At this point, I am willing to try anything to alleviate the pain, but I am not totally convinced that my back pain has much to do with my weight, since i have only been overweight 7 years, and injuried my back 36 years ago. In additon I have thyroid problems and use synthroid for it as well as using steriods for my lungs....

Anyway I am at my witts end with the pain...

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I had the Lapband. At first it worked, but not for long. Eating is my drug. At my last PTSD C&P exam the Doctor clearly linked my PTSD with my eating. I had the band put in about 5 years ago, and weigh about what I did 5 years ago. Now, please remember this, the Lap Band can be removed. The Gastric one can not, and some people do have issues with it. Please do not judge your decision based upon what I'm telling you here, as I know there have been people who have been very successful at dropping pounds with the Lap Band. Do you eat to live, or live to eat?


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I do not recommend gastric bypass. My wife had one about 8 years ago. She did lose 140 pounds and kept it off. So why dont I recommend it? Her, and everyone else I know got a divorce after the surgery. She is now my ex wife.

While gastric bypass does cause you to lose weight, by doing it surgurically without the effort of diet and exercise, you have to put up with the associated complications.

Complication 1. You can no longer absorb food as well. This means you often have nutrition problems, sometimes just exacerbating the ones that caused you to get fat in the beginning. The fat guy on "Lost" was an example. He lost weight with bypass surgery, but did not solve the problem and gained the weight back.

Complication 2. Often food addictions are some unresolved type of social or mental issue. Bypass surgery does nothing to solve that problem. You need to solve the problem not reduce the amount of food absorbed. It would be about like adding alcohol to PTSD problem. It does not solve the problem, but now you have 2 problems to deal with and each is more difficult with the other.

Complication 3. Personality change. Women, especially, get their self esteem with their perceived appearance. Often they still think of themselves as "fat" and think other (males) are weird when they show interest in them.

Complication 4. Excess skin. Many have to have surgurey AGAIN to lose excess skin after weight loss.

Complication 5. I call it lottery winners remorse. You get the surgery, then feel guilty that your friends did not and they are still obese. Sou you advise them to have it. Some people dont want to have it and are offended by your suggestion, again, especially women. Others razz you..."gee, Id be skinning too, if I could afford 20,000 for obestiy surgery". Oh, you got it from the VA for free? Gee, I wish I could overeat and get VA disability....things like this. Some people will be jealous of you being angry they are still fat while you are skinny. While that is "stinky thinking", remember that obese people are often depressed about it, and dont always act rationally.

My son lost 150 pounds with lifestyle changes. One simple lifestyle change is switching from sugary soda to water. No, diet soda does not work, it gives you a taste for sweets so you eat more calories. If you are not willing to make lifestyle changes to lose weight, IMHO surgery wont help you. Insanity is doing things the way you have always done them and expect a different result.

Many people want a "quick fix". For most people, they gained their weight over 10 years or more, but expect to be able to take it all off in 4 weeks, while changing nothing. This is unrealistic. Go to VA's "MOVE" program..your PCP will have to refer you, but that should not be a problem if you are obese. By the way, I qualify as "obese", and I have lost 20 pounds from 252 to 232. While it took me months, I changed my lifestyle so what else do I have to do? Im not switching back, so it does not matter how long it takes.

Yes, gastric bypass seems like the "easy out", but it is not.

Edited by broncovet
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My wife had the banding prior to her eligibility for champva. She lost 110 pounds. She is happy with the results. No complications so far 2 years post surgery. Problem is she has to drink ensure 3 times per day to maintain her now 125 pound weight or she continues to loose more then recommended. She can only eat a couple of table spoon of food at each meal. She does have nausea and vomits if she eats to much at once. She does have intermittent indigestion and heart burn however she had that problem before the surgery. Now the good news is when we go out to dinner she eats a little off my plate and does not order a meal for herself, so I save a few bucks on dinning out. However it just is not much fun to go out to a nice meal and have her set there and watch me eat for 20 minutes when she is done in 2 minutes. Now for the bad news. Our medical insurance would not pay for the procedure. It cost $ 15,000.00 dollars up front and $ 250.00 ever time she has to have the band adjusted, which is about 6 times the first year and 4 times per year after that. So far we have spent about $ 20,000.00 out of pocket on this. Now that she gets champva, which her doctor does not accept, champva reimburses me a whopping $18.00 on my $250.00 charge for the band adjustment. The other thing is she has a addiction to candy and that has not changed, she just can not eat as much now. Was it worth it? For her yes. For me, hell no, the doctors driving my new truck.

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Also, check the internet for diarrhea after gastric bypass. I mean the PERMANENT kind, 15 times a day or more. I didn't have by pass, but had 2 colon resections. I HAVE READ TIME AFTER TIME ON THE INTERNET ABOUT POST BY PASS PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHRONIC DIARREHA AND CAN;T GET RID OF IT. Good luck.

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I appreciate all the replys... thanks

Broncovet, you assume too much in your reply...... not all people are overweight because they overeat. As I mentioned, I have a serious back injury, lungs that require steriods and oxygen, and a thryoid problem that requires medication. All of these medical issues have contributed to my weight problem, untill 2004 I was at my normal weight of 205 @ 6'2". I gained the weight almost overnight, and you would too if the doctors pumped you full of steriods.

Edited by Teac
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There is a lot of good advice here regarding weight loss surgery, but the one key thing missing is support groups. Continuing to attend support groups after surgery makes a significant difference in whether you will continue to succeed in keeping your weight under control.

"If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid."
- From Murphy's Laws of Combat

Disclaimer: I am not a legal expert, so use at own risk and/or consult a qualified professional representative. Please refer to existing VA laws, regulations, and policies for the most up to date information.


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