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Unread 12-28-2010, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
1,946 posts, read 3,493,751 times
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Default Weight Loss Surgery - Gastric Sleevectomy

I want to share a story with you all considering or even just wanting to know more about weight loss surgery. I had a gastric sleevectomy. This is similar to the bypass, but no moving of any intestines, no malabsorption problems, etc. Its basically just cutting the excess stomach off. I almost died due to complications. I developed a leak. My surgery was laproscopic, and the stiches didn't hold and I became septic as a result. I spent over a month in ICU. I was listed in patient information as "critical but failing" for a week and then bumped up to "critical" for a few more weeks. And I did not have some other complications that I am told usually happen with leaks, like needing to be put on on a ventilator or have a chest tube, although I was close to both. I was finally sent home with a PIC line in my arm because I could not take in anything orally, and when that got infected I had to have a stent put in my esophogus. That was painful, and I could barely function. My surgery was in the beginning of July, the stent came out in the middle of October. I would like to think that if I had understood that if this one particular thing happens I would PROBABLY die, I would have tried something different.

Each weight loss surgery has significant complications, and everyone considering should know what the complications are, how often they happen, and what the outcomes are. It turns out that with the sleeve, if you develop a leak the result is USUALLY death. Even though I knew that complications could occur, I did not know the severity. It was definately not put to me in a manner that I really had to think about it. In fact, it was more passed over, because my surgeon had performed this surgery 90 times before and had never had a leak, so I just thought that since we was a top notch surgeon it just doesn't happen. I knew that with the bypass leaks are more common, but for some reason the severity of the complication seems to be worse with the sleeve. I would think that if my doctor said "if you do have a leak, you will most likely die" I probably wouldn't have gone through with it.

So if you or anyone you know is considering having any type of weight loss surgery please be sure to find out all the information possible. From the track records of the surgeons and hospitals, to what the outcomes are of even the most rare complications.
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Unread 12-29-2010, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Rural Western TN
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this is why i belive anyone considering weight loss surgery needs to have a very good surgical team...
my drs and nurses all made it very clear from day one that deat was a possible side effect of the surgery (i had gastic bypass). when i started the journey i did more reserch into the drs/facility than into the surgery itself, and choose to go with a center of excelence and one of the top rated centers for bariatrics in the country and would reccomend the team to anyone looking in the northeast!

the fact that your drs didnt make you aware that there was an incresed risk with the sleave of death if a leakage occured is scary to say the least

im so sorry you whent through that and hope your now on your way to full recovery!
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Unread 12-30-2010, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
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Thank you very much. And yes, I am recovering fully now. I'm just still a little weak from all the muscle loss. But I get stronger each day. I hope soon my hair starts getting stronger too!

I did tons of research too. I had the best surgeon and a great hospital and the bariatric center was also, like yours, a center of excellence. In fact...my surgeon is the one who fixes all the other surgeons mistakes....I know he's a fantastic surgeon. But like you said - the problem was that he didn't explain the increased risk with what seems to be the best alternative to bypass. The leak did not occur due to any fault of the doctor or staff...its just a complication that occurs...we checked that all out. The bypass scared me. All the cutting and moving of things, and then there's the life long malabsorption etc.....so when he told me about the sleeve I was all on board. I just wish I had been more prepared for the obstacles of a complication with this surgery. And he did mention it...but that was it ...it was a mention...."complications like leaks can be very serious, but I've never had one with the sleeve" That was all he said. So I thought it was great. That is why I wrote the post.

Thank you foxywench, I really appreciate your feedback. Good luck to you and Happy New Year!
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Unread 12-30-2010, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Rural Western TN
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try adding biotin to help the hair and nails...
my surgeon suggested it to me and ive had very minimal hair loss and its good for nails too!
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Unread 12-30-2010, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
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Great! Thanks for the tip! I haven't had as much loss as some people but since I've been malnourished for so long its sticking around a little longer. The doctor and nutritionist said it could take 6 mos - 1 year to get back normal growth. I have very thick hair, and a lot of it...so it doesn't look bad, thank goodness. I will definately try that. Thanks again!
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Unread 01-03-2011, 07:28 AM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
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nic, since you're in southern NJ, I'm curious where you had your surgery.

I had my Gastric Bypass 'Roux-en-Y' procedure just 2 weeks ago today. No complications. I was in the hospital for 3 nights, and since I've been home resting comfortably but doing a lot of walking (like a mile a day) to prevent blood clots. My procedure was done at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center ... and while I'm in no position to appraise how good a hospital is, it has been rated by US News & World Report as one of the 10 best up there with Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic and Barnes Jewish.
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Unread 01-03-2011, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
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I had my surgery in Freehold, NJ which is in Monmouth County. I had the sleeve, not the bypass. But that is not the point of my post. I'll try to make this clear...my complications were not at the fault of my surgeon or his team or the hospital. I made sure I had the best as well. My surgeon fixes all the other surgeons mistakes, etc. My leak occured at no fault of anyone involved....I'd love to be able to pass blame on someone ...believe me - but the fact of the matter is that anyone considering this surgery needs to be completely aware of the risks. That's all I'm saying. I am alive today because of an exceptional team.

It seems that (according to the research I have done) for some reason, and no one can seem to say why, leaks are less likely with the sleeve vs. the bypass, but the complications are more severe and mortality rate is higher when it does occur. That should have been expained to me more clearly instead of passed over. That is the only blame I can pass....

The point of my post was to implore anyone looking to have any kind of weight loss surgery to make sure they completely understand all the risks...even if their surgeon - the best of surgeons - doesn't put enough emphasis on something. To understand that IF a complication does occur - what the percentage rates are or what the recovery time and other complications that will or may occur as a result. Believe it or not - the outcome I had after a leak was the best anyone could hope for. Thankfully to a good doctor and team. I wouldn't be here today if it were not for them. And, maybe since my surgeon had never had a leak with sleeve before I would have had the surgery anyway - but I should have been warned of the situation I faced. So while I'd love to blame the hospital or the surgeon for the leak - I cannot. The only complaint I can really pass on is that I was not informed of the severity of the complication of a leak. I did my research on the surgeon, the hospital, and the surgery itself....tons of it....but thought this was the best surgery for me. What I am saying is I MIGHT have reconsidered if I truly understood. And I may have gone through with it anyway. Because out of all the suregies - this one still has the best results, the least amount of cuts, and the least complications, and I wanted to be healthy. But it didn't work out for me that way, and I just wanted to share with anyone considering.

I'm glad you are doing well and I wish you all the best of luck on your journey Clark!
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Unread 01-03-2011, 06:15 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
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nic, thanks for the explanation. Yes there are risks and I would suggest that anyone considering this type of surgery think long and hard and not take it lightly. I underwent the procedure because of my health - cosmetic changes were last on my mind - as my diabetes (type 2) was beginning to worsen and I wanted to take a bold step to address it before any complications like neuropathy, blood circulation problems, kidney damage, retinopathy, etc. set in. It was recommended by my general doctor, my endocrinologist, the cardiologist and all the professionals I got opinions from. I have no regrets.
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Unread 01-03-2011, 07:02 PM
 
Location: In a state of denial
1,290 posts, read 1,256,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Park View Post
nic, thanks for the explanation. Yes there are risks and I would suggest that anyone considering this type of surgery think long and hard and not take it lightly. I underwent the procedure because of my health - cosmetic changes were last on my mind - as my diabetes (type 2) was beginning to worsen and I wanted to take a bold step to address it before any complications like neuropathy, blood circulation problems, kidney damage, retinopathy, etc. set in. It was recommended by my general doctor, my endocrinologist, the cardiologist and all the professionals I got opinions from. I have no regrets.
I, too, had the same health problems and chose gastric bypass.

Previously, I had been reading about the great success of the sleeve and was actually wishing I'd had that procedure instead, but now I'm glad I didn't.

To date, I've lost 215 pounds and have had no problems from the gastric bypass.

Now the cosmetic surgery for the hanging skin was another story. I know you've read about it.

One has to weigh (no pun intended) the outcomes vs. bad consequences for any surgery, but I think the OP's doctors were remiss in not letting them know about the risks. It's really good that this thread was made in order to warn others.
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Unread 01-04-2011, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
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Thank you both for commenting. And congratulations to you both as well on successful surgeries, and of course, best wishes on your road to healthy living. So far I have lost almost 100 lbs. Its more slow going for me than most, because of my complications. I was on TPN for a very long time which is very high in sugar and calories. Then, once I started eating again, I was sticking to things like soup, toast, and crackers. My biggest weight loss has been just since about the beginning of October, or maybe the middle of September.

I don't know if any one surgery is better than the other, they all work if you have the long term commitment. Its all a matter of personal preference, what you want to gain (or lose, hehe) out of it, etc. For me, not having the malabsorption issues, and the necessity taking of vitamins etc for the rest of my life was a big factor in my decision. Others may not like that with the sleeve you can take in a little more food than with the bypass. I considered the lapband since it can be removed and is much less invasive, and discussed it with my surgeon, but because I needed to lose more than 100 lbs. we decided it was not my best option. Lapband has some pretty severe complications of its own, and the people I have spoken to seem to have a harder adjustment period. So they all have their ups and downs.
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