by Jeff W. Allen, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
The decision to have weight loss surgery with the LAP-BAND® is a deeply personal but critically important one. Like many operations, the results can be lifesaving. Weight loss without surgery is an even better option, but generally is not possible for people who are morbidly obese, or roughly 100 pounds overweight. The LAP-BAND® Companion Handbook will help patients decide if the LAP-BAND is right for them. After that, it will make the entire process—from choosing a surgeon to the postoperative diet to dealing with potential postoperative problems—go more smoothly. Along the way, the LAP-BAND® Companion Handbook will answer frequently asked questions, give helpful hints, and describe potential problem areas.
I am from Kentucky, where often it seems the sun rises and sets on college basketball. The current coach here at the University of Louisville is Rick Pitino, who also coached for the Celtics in the Boston hometown of Dr. Jones, the book’s co-author. When recruiting players, Coach Pitino says he tries to look for “basketball junkies.” They may not be the best athletes or basketball players (although they are all very good), but they are lifelong students of the game—“gym rats,” he calls them. These are young men who wake up and start thinking about basketball, then read a book about previous great players, go to practice, stay after for extra shooting practice, go home and watch a game or two on television, and go to bed dreaming about hitting the winning shot in a game. I encourage patients to be “LAP-BAND® bulldogs” before surgery, using every available resource to learn all they can about the device, the operation, and its effects. A critical component of patient research is the LAP-BAND® Companion.
In this book, Drs. Jones and Watson describe in great detail the amazing journey that patients are about to undertake. Patients will benefit from close attention to the illustrations, which are extremely well done. If something is confusing, patients can visualize it with the drawings.
One of the many positive aspects of the LAP-BAND® System is its simplicity compared with other weight loss surgery options; however, it is not a simple operation. The mechanics of how food travels through the pouch, band, and rest of the stomach, as well as complications, such as a slip, are explained here with text and pictures. Many of you may remember the slogan from the old School House Rock cartoons, “Knowledge is power.” This book gives patients knowledge and that knowledge is the power for them to succeed.
After reading a part, or parts of this book, a patient may decide that the LAP-BAND® is not for them. This is OK. It is important for patients to decide this before surgery rather than after surgery. Perhaps a patient does not qualify for surgery for one of the reasons listed in Chapter 4; for example, coming back for frequent adjustments will not fit into a patient’s busy schedule, or possibly the patient just is not ready to go on a journey as intense as this. Patients should use this handbook to decide if the surgery is in their best interests. Only they can know that, and this book will help people to power their decision with knowledge. The times after weight loss surgery are often characterized as periods of remarkable highs and seemingly intolerable lows. Complications, weight loss plateaus, and personal problems outside the realm of weight loss can frustrate patients. Buying new clothes, fitting into airline seats, and increased energy, activity, and even fertility are some of the highs. Your team will be with the patient through these highs and lows, but patients can refer to this book as well—it will help them through the lows and accentuate the highs. As a surgeon, patient, supporter, advocate, and cheerleader of bariatric surgery, I can tell you that a LAP-BAND® surgery can be one of the most significant events in a person’s life. Believe me, I see so much joy on the faces of so many patients after surgery I must give the operation and this book my ringing endorsement. I wish all patients the very best in their quest for a better, healthier, happier life with the LAP-BAND®.
Category: Book Reviews