Misconceptions About Weight-Loss Surgery


I have taken to watching the “House” re-run marathon on ION TV on Saturday nights while Paul is at work. I love “House”… the show that is…. the character…. an ass, albeit a lovable ass. If Dr. Gregory House M.D. were my Doctor, he would have me in a puddle of tears. He would get the job done, but I would be a mess! A recent episode perked my interest (re-run as the show ended its run on its own accord a few years ago). My husband and I watched the show in its first run but were ‘late bloomers’ and entered the show in either its third or fourth season. I missed this episode the first time around. I would have remembered this episode vividly because it had its facts so off base. The final, end of the show, when the ‘House’s lights come on’ and he gets his final epiphany moment; the patient has a rare but treatable disorder. Her liver ‘needs’ extra fat and carbohydrates. I refuse to quote House both the character and the script because it is both insulting to heavy people and is a misrepresentation. I was there, I know. I won’t use those words now or ever. I will not ever forget! However I will clarify for because the writers did not do their research properly.

  • Gastric Bypass is technically reversible however, the medical community technically considers this a ‘non’ reversible surgery. Because no organs are removed during the process, the stapling of the stomach or other gastric methods can in theory be undone. But the existing scar tissue makes the repeat operation more difficult; there is an increased risk of bleeding; and getting the suture or staple lines to heal after a second operation is often more difficult. Getting the nerves to line up properly is extremely difficult if not impossible. The chances for gastroesophageal reflux disease is very high.   You can do a ‘revision’ and alter some of the re-routed plumbing but once the big portion of your stomach is cut, one should consider it a done deal. Being entire legalistic, I have had a slight revision…. to save my life. When I had my intestinal perforation and Dr. L. Reif Kessler performed an emergency gastrojejunostomy, my medical records show it as a revision and Dr. Kessler was very detailed, telling me he had to ‘re-size’ the opening to the connection of the intestine to my pouch by about 1/4 of an inch meaning food would now travel slightly faster through the pouch. I have never vocalized it here until now, but I in part blame this revision for my slight regain. I, however, make this very clear….. I would rather be alive and ten or even twenty pounds heavier than the alternative.
  • You do not need to do any sort of revision surgery to add carbohydrates or sugar back to the diet. Her character even proved this when she did the ‘oh so fat-girl thing’ of stopping and getting chocolate cake at the cafeteria because you know fat people;  it is all that chocolate cake. If her character could eat chocolate cake, why a revision? Why not just add some healthy carbohydrates and moderate sugar?
  • The shows writers did a real disservice by buying into stereotypes. I, like all weight loss surgery patients,  tried every diet. I did everything under the sun. With Hashimotos Hypothyroidism ( officially diagnosed many years ago), I already had one check against me. Once I was given the tool, I was able to eat in moderation. Once I started eating healthy and in moderation, I was able to feel how wonderful my body felt eating fruits and vegetables…. about 75% of the grocery basket for my home is devoted to produce…. then some lean meats, low fat dairy and yes, an occasional treat. To be really honest, I don’t even really like cake. It is too sweet. I will note also, my weight loss surgery did nothing to improve my fibromyalgia. I would likely be partially wheelchair bound if I still was double my weight.


Those of us that have had weight loss surgery know the drill. You prepare for months.  I am speaking for gastric bypass here, however, am going to stick my neck out and say as far as I know, Lap Band has similar requirements. I know Dr. Lucktong was preparing to become trained to administer the Lap Band procedure about the time I had my RNY, in the winter of 2007 and I know now, he is an ‘old pro’ at the surgery. I am confident, for Dr Lucktong, his requirements would be about the same, across the board. There are a number of tests both medical and psychological that you must go through.

My body was about to undergo a very rigorous undertaking and no stone was to be left unturned. They checked my heart. As I stated on my “About” page, I was able to undergo the treadmill (at the time) but threw up a ‘false positive’ so then had to go to a cardiologist. The cardiologist administered drugs to speed my heart up and give it the illusion that it had just been exercising. Then they performed several tests including scans of my heart. The final verdict? My heart was in excellent condition. What was nice about this was I now know when I went on that table, my heart did not have any damage from the years I had spent carrying the extra weight. I got a clean bill of health on my ticker.

I had to get clearance from my endocrinologist and undergo psychological evaluation. These things took several months. In all, my quest to have gastric bypass surgery was a ten month journey. I wanted it like I had never wanted anything for myself in all my life. If you do not want it and do not take it seriously, you will not succeed because it is not a ‘get thin quick’ card. No. It is a tool. I remember my one year evaluation as I stood in awe of Dr. Lucktong, and Dr. Lucktong stood in awe of me as he said, “All I did was give you the tool….. you are the one who did all the work.” And work it is….. never ending, never ceasing work.

While the stereotypes of a ‘fat girl who got thin the easy way’ make a good script for the acidic comic that only “Dr. House” can deliver, it does nothing to help erase the stigma that many people attach to weight loss surgery patients. It makes for good drama…. especially Dr. House style. I also suppose the writers had to some how tie it into her surgery / former obesity issue. I can only hope that as time goes on if future medical drama shows decide to do stories such as this, they decide to check their facts very carefully before they proceed. Until next time. K.

Reference: *site the “Sophisticated Egg”