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New year, new you?

14 December 2018

New Year, new you? January is often a time for new challenges, new resolutions and new goals. For many of us, our main goal is centred on weight loss. If you’ve been battling your weight for many years this can often feel like an unachievable and insurmountable task.

Spire Southampton patient, Katie, had been battling with weight loss since she was 11 years old. With her weight only increasing and her personal well-being going down she decided it was time to make some tough decisions.

“I was always a bubbly, sociable character but this has changed dramatically, especially since giving birth to my daughter.  I had put on a huge amount of weight and felt like everyone would look at me and laugh or judge me based on how I looked. We had financial stresses because of the business and some personal family issues that were putting a lot of pressure on me. Being an ‘emotional eater’ I found these as excuses to eat and comfort myself. I would then crash diet for a few days until I gave in and binged again, it was a vicious circle that I just felt trapped in.”

Katie had tried all the slimming groups, several times over. She had joined the gym and tried to go until her anxiety issues got really bad. Katie even tried hypnotherapy, all of which were short term and before falling back into the same vicious circle.

Her GP referred her to Spire Southampton Hospital where, following pre-surgery support, she met Bariatric surgeon, Mr Michael Van den Bossche.

“It may not be common knowledge but morbid obesity, being very overweight, is now classified as a chronic disease just the same as diabetes or high blood pressure” says Mr Van den Bossche “Many overweight people fail to reduce their weight by means of dieting of lifestyle changes. Weight loss surgery is the most effective treatment for obesity and brings a host of medical benefits. In today’s world, obesity is fast becoming the most preventable cause of cancer next to smoking. In other words weight loss surgery can effectively reduce the risk of developing and dying of all sorts of cancer. It also adds extra years of good quality to one’s life expectancy. Who doesn’t want to see their grandchildren grow up?”

Following her consultation with Mr Van den Bossche, Katie decided bariatric surgery was the direction she wanted to go in. “Everyone was very honest about surgery and how life changing it could be along with the risks and what I would need to change going forward. At no point did anyone say this would be easy. I can now say that this is a common misconception.  Surgery is not an easy option for weight loss. It requires hard work and dedication on the patient’s part and should be taken seriously; it’s a very brave decision.”

Katie had a mini gastric bypass.  This is when the surgeon creates a small compartment at the top of your stomach using staples. This will effectively be your new stomach and as it will be small, it will fill up quickly with food, giving you a sensation of fullness.

Mr Van den Bossche explains the procedure “The mini gastric bypass is one of the most effective operations to help someone lose weight. During the procedure the stomach is reduced in size and a part of the small bowel is bypassed so that the body cannot absorb all the calories. I was the first surgeon in the UK to do this procedure back in 2010. Since then the procedure has become popular all over the country.”

“The average time to do a mini gastric bypass is approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Patients recover very quickly after a shorter anaesthetic.” Patients normally stay for 2 nights and following surgery Mr Van den Bossche encourages patients to become more active. “Return to gym exercise or other sports activities is allowed after 6 weeks when all the wounds have healed soundly.”

This is exactly what Katie did “By week 6 I started swimming small amounts and walking a lot more, the weight was falling off and people were noticing. I gained more confidence with every day and looked forward to buying new bits of clothing to see me through.”

“I feel totally in control of my life again, I can run around with my children instead of sitting and watching them play. My risk of developing heart problems or diabetes (both in my family) have minimised. I am confident, which means I have excelled in work, I socialise more, I have taken on an Open University degree, attended lectures and day schools all involving meeting new people. I love clothes and don’t live in black anymore. Although it is still a constant battle to eat correctly and manage my lifestyle correctly, taking constant planning, hard work, willpower and dedication, I am healthier and happier than I have ever been.”

If you are interested in weight loss surgery, please contact Spire Southampton Hospital for more information, costs and specialists on 023 8091 4471 or make an enquiry.

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