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Dr. Dan
Dr. Dan, Bariatric Physician (MD)
Category: Bariatrics
Satisfied Customers: 393
Experience:  ASMBS Centers of Excellence Bariatric Surgeon
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I am a 63 year old female. I am 55 tall and weigh 274 with

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I am a 63 year old female. I am 5'5" tall and weigh 274 with a BMI of 45. I have been
healthy all my life but for the past 20 years have worked to lose weight without success.
I need to weigh 145lbs. I have been treated for high blood pressure 140/80, high cholesterol 210, and prediabetes 104-115 range plus fibromyalgia (mild) and osteoarthritis.
My most recent weight loss effort was using the HCG hormone on a 500 calorie diet and I lost 15 lbs. over a six week period. I tried to continue with it but the lack of energy and boring food made it hard to maintain - that was last May - July and then again Nov - Dec of 2010. I have since gained it all back.

Is it feasible to have bariatric surgery for a lapband at my age? What percentage of
patients have good results? What kinds of problems/risks/rewards should I anticipate?
Hi Joan,

First of all, to answer your question directly, no you are not too old to have weight loss surgery. I have surmised from your your previous weight loss attempts that you are in pretty good health and would likely tolerate Lap Band surgery very well.

How well patients do depends in large part on how much time and effort they put into the program, and how robust the program is in helping to motivate patients towards weight loss. For patients that don't really put much effort into making a lifestyle change, they may lose 30-35% of their excess weight with the Lap Band.

On the other hand, patients that make a lifestyle change, eat every 2-3 hours, get balance in meals (lean protein, brown starch carbs, veggies, and 1-2 servings of fruit per day), and exercise 2-3 times per week will oftentimes lose >90% of their excess weight. In those circumstances, the band is the missing link for them, allowing them to feel full and satisfied, but with less food.

A lot of the patient success comes from a robust aftercare program, usually provided by the bariatric surgeon's office. My office provides comprehensive nutritional and exercise counseling, as well as a robust support group that meets weekly. We have 1800 sq. ft. gyms in both of our offices (with trainers on staff) to help our patients develop a good exercise regimen.

When you choose your bariatric surgeon, look for an office that has a similar aftercare program and is dedicated to helping patients with their long-term goals. There are, unfortunately, a number of programs that are only interested in giving you the operation and not much else. ASMBS Centers of Excellence programs, in general, all have robust aftercare programs that will better assist you with your lifestyle change. If the surgeon does not have this certification (or a similar COE certification from the American College of Surgeons), I would avoid that surgeon.

As far as problems are concerned, band patients sometimes get food stuck in the band if it is too tight or the patient takes too big a bite of food. Most of the time that problem can be avoided completely by eating every 2-3 hours and never letting yourself get ravenously hungry. Hunger makes patients gobble food and eat too fast, so you want to eat before you get too hungry, and can take the time to slow down and chew the food well. Bands can get infected or leak long-term (each about 1% of the time), and very rarely the band can erode into the stomach (0.1% risk). Probably the biggest problem that crops up with band patients long-term is stretching of the pouch and/or esophagus. This comes from chronically using the band inappropriately, when patients wait for the band to tell them to stop eating. Proper band use is to start with a small portion, eat it, and wait and see how long it takes to get hungry. Most patients find that, when using the band this way, they are no longer hungry with much less food than they anticipated.

Good luck with your journey,
Dr Dan
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