FREE LAP BAND SURGERY. GOOD IDEA?
Last week I met up with a colleague I hadn’t seen for years. She was barely recognisable and when I said she was looking great, she quickly told me she’d had lap band surgery and had lost 25kg.
Like a lot of people, I’m curious about the procedure. Does it work? What are the benefits and risks? Is it the “easy solution”? One that should only be freely available for people who are seriously ill?
My friend, (a GP) said that she’d been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and because of the weight loss now had no trace of it.
“It should be available to everyone,” she declared. “And the best thing is that I can now fit into size 12 jeans!” (Joke.)
Over dinner, conversation was lively until my friend suddenly rushed from the table, leaving most of her pasta, and came back to announce that she’d just vomited.
“It’s no big deal. It just comes up… a bit like when a baby posits,” she said brightly.
It was unsettling to say the least, because I remembered my own babies positing milky vomit on my shoulder and it wasn’t pleasant. (I lost my appetite for dessert.)
Earlier this year Professor Lesley Campbell from the Garvan Institute Diabetes and Obesity Research Program, supported lap band (bariatric) surgery being freely available – provided by the government – to fight the “obesity epidemic”.
Without heath insurance the operation can cost up to $15,000 and many obese and ill Australians are dipping into their superannuation to fund it.
Prof. Campbell says that people who develop diabetes have a genetic predisposition. She told ABC radio earlier this year: “We have to understand that this (Type 2 Diabetes) is a disease. The obese person has tried everything. You think they want to be obese? You think they want to be obese rather than slim?
“They’re more ready than anyone to get rid of the weight. But they can’t.”
However, dietician Trent Watson also said on the program: “Lap banding does not change someone’s genetics. It changes the amount of food they consume. That’s what impacts on their hormonal response.”
“Calling it (Type 2 Diabetes) a genetic predisposition deprives anyone of the hope they can make a difference without a $15,000 spend on invasive surgery.”
The program went on to a fascinating discussion between three women who had the procedure.
Jules got her a lapband 10 years ago. (It was funded through Worker’s Compensation after an injury at work that left her incapacitated and unable to exercise).
She lost 53kg initially. Then, through continuing to overeat, stretched her oesophagus, had the band removed, put on 30kg and then with another band, lost it all again.
“I didn’t have brain surgery,” she says. “I still want to have the cream bun and the nice pasta with the cream sauce. I’m an addict for food.”
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