Apollo Endosurgery, Inc., the leader in minimally invasive endoscopic surgical products for bariatric and gastrointestinal procedures, today announced the launch of the “It Fits” campaign, aimed at rejuvenating the LAP-BAND® System and educating a broad range of patients about the benefits of the minimally-invasive weight loss procedure.
“It Fits” supports the company’s decision to place greater emphasis on the unique advantage of the LAP-BAND® System – the only FDA approved device for weight reduction for people with at least one weight-related health problem, and having a BMI of 30 or greater.
The new ad spot – from Apollo – tugs right there at your heart, don't it? I might be tearing up over all of the completely stereotypical situations right here in this here commercial! OMG I CAN FIT IN THE AEROPLANE SEATBELT WITHOUT AN EXTENDER COULD YOU PLEASE PUT ME IN A COMMERCIAL ALTHOUGH I WAS NEVER SUPER MORBIDLY OBESE I AM JUST AN ACTOR!
Until this and my tears dry up!
Because of course we will ignore the patient histories of thousands — to have a procedure to lose how much weight?
Just as a frame of reference, that makes me qualify in a few BMI points. Confession: when I reached my high weight about the same time the new BMI-qualifications for the Allergan-owned lap-band came around, I decided THAT WAS IT. I could not possibly do it again, my butt was not revising band-over-bypass for that much weight, not after watching this weight loss community for 12 years. Nope.
PHILANTHROPY is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:
Donating $1000 to the WLSFA
To be informed of the organization's mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization's governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.
To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.
I'm going to add one more:
Don't do this to your donors – particularly when they're YOUR PEOPLE.
That is a scanned image of the check I donated to the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America or WLSFA organization.
I was not home twenty-four hours before I received a letter from the CEO of the foundation and this image with the letters V O I D enscribed across it. I have not slept much yet – so – forgive my even sharing this with you –
I especially like how I wronged the sponsors. Because many of them are also mine. (*See sidebar. I love my sponsors. Click their links. Buy stuff.)
That feels really good, Antonia. That makes my heart swell with pride and stuff.
It's a day later and I've received no response as to what I did, aside from hand the WLSFA $1000 in a non-confrontational manner. I actually had to beg them to take it – we were skipped over in the first round of donation announcements – they took it publicly and gave it back like this.
The event itself? Was a non-issue. I only have two or three issues that I'd concern myself with — and they wouldn't involve this check. At all. One issue was big enough for me to want to blog – but – I've refrained so far.
My bariatric support group's fundraising is obviously not wanted in this exclusionary non-profit. I do not know if it's legal to shun a cash donation from legal fundraising. Lawyers?
As a group we are more than disgusted. I have spent hours promoting this event, and spent thousands of dollars, and frankly I sit here ashamed that I asked my peers to donate to the cause.
Consider for a second how much I spent just for myself –
I am more sickened that I suggested friends JOIN ME at the event — and asked them to spend their hard-earned money on the event as well just to be shunned so specifically. Friends brought husbands — this isn't cheap.
I am not a happy MM. I apologize to YOU. We learned a hard lesson here.
Do your research before investing non-profits!
Start here: firstname.lastname@example.org I can't help you with this. They didn't tell me what I did.
We have have offers to take our GOOD elsewhere, of course. I got offers of help in the middle of the night. And we will, if you donated or made a purchase – your money is going to another reputable non-profit. Thank you.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie secretly underwent lap-band stomach surgery to aggressively slim down for the sake of his wife and kids, he revealed to The Post last night.
The Garden State governor agreed to the operation at the urging of family and friends after turning 50 last September. He told The Post he was thinking of his four kids and how it was time to start improving his health when he decided to have the procedure.
“I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years,” he said. “For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them.”
He also insisted that, contrary to what observers may say, the effort to slim down was not motivated by thoughts of a presidential bid.
“It’s so much more important than that,” he said.
Christie checked in to a surgery center on Feb. 16. A source said he registered under a false name.
The operation included placing a silicone tube around the top of his stomach, where it restricts the amount of food he can eat at one time and makes him feel fuller, faster.
“A week or two ago, I went to a steakhouse and ordered a steak and ate about a third of it and I was full,” he said of his newly tamed appetite. He declined to say how much he lost, but sources said he has already shed nearly 40 pounds.
Christie has struggled with his weight for decades. He sometimes jokes about it, while other times, it’s a sensitive topic. Insiders said it was the only thing keeping the straight-talking executive from higher office.
Despite Christie’s denials, political fund-raisers say that the surgery is a clear sign that he’s going to join the 2016 race — and will do whatever it takes to win.
“This means he’s running for president. He’s showing people he can get his weight in control. It was the one thing holding him back,” a top political donor told The Post.
Sources said Christie didn’t make the decision lightly — he even had private conversations about the operation with once-rotund Jet coach Rex Ryan.
Ryan lost about 100 pounds — down from a massive 350 — after he had the same procedure done in 2010.
Christie has never revealed his weight, but estimates have run from about 300 to 350 pounds.
He hired the same ace laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon as Ryan — Dr. George Fielding, head of NYU Medical Center’s Weight Management Program.
From 2009 to 2011, five patients died after Lap-Band surgeries at clinics affiliated with the 1-800-GET-THIN ad campaign, according to the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/11knLBS ).
The proposed settlement still needs the approval of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Freeman, who asked attorneys at a hearing Thursday to provide more information and resubmit their settlement motion before he gives the deal his OK.
Relatives of two of the dead patients, Ana Renteria and Laura Faitro, filed the lawsuit as a class action in 2011.
The lawsuit sought damages from several companies and two brothers, Michael and Julian Omidi, who court documents said owned and managed Top Surgeons, a weight-loss business.
John Hueston, an attorney for the Omidis, said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing.
“Under the agreement, our clients … are dismissed without any admission of liability, and made no contribution whatsoever to the settlements,” Hueston said in a statement cited by the Times.
A lawyer for the surgery centers, Konrad Trope, said the action against the facilities was dismissed without admission of liability or financial penalty.
The proposed settlement will be paid only by Top Surgeons, one of the companies behind the GET-THIN operation, the newspaper said. The company did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press.
The lawsuits and other public documents showed that 1-800-GET-THIN was a marketing company that steered patients to a network of outpatient clinics, where thousands of weight-loss surgeries were performed.
The company used dozens of billboards — along with ads on television, radio and the Internet — to promote Lap-Band weight-loss surgery.
Some of the suits alleged that the clinics put profits above patient safety, employing physicians who were unqualified and allowing surgeries to be performed in unsanitary conditions, the Times said.
The proposed deal calls for $100,000 to be spent on billboard advertising throughout Southern California “intended to explain the risks of weight-loss surgery.” The agreement does not specify the language to be used in the ads but says it must be approved by the court.
O'Brien PE, et al. "Long-term outcomes after bariatric surgery. Fifteen-year follow-up of adjustable gastric banding and a systematic review of the bariatric surgical literature" Ann Surg 2013;257:87-94.
Obese patients maintained about 50% excess weight loss for as long as 15 years after laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, (LAGB), Australian investigators reported.
Experience at a single center showed an average of 47% excess weight loss in 714 patients followed for more than 10 years after LAGB, including 47% among patients followed for 15 years and 62% in a small group followed for 16 years, according to Paul O'Brien, MD, and colleagues, of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
A systematic review of published studies revealed a mean excess weight loss of 54% at 10 years and beyond for patients treated with LAGB or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), they reported in the January issue of Annals of Surgery.
The results also showed a marked reduction in late-occurring adverse events after LAGB, the authors added.
"Gastric banding is a safe and effective treatment option for obesity in the long term," they said. "The systematic review shows that all current procedures achieve substantial long-term weight loss. It supports the existing data that LAGB is safer than RYGB and finds that the long-term weight loss outcomes and needs for revisional surgery for these two procedures are not different."
Despite a history dating back more than 50 years, bariatric surgery has a paucity of long-term data to demonstrate durable weight loss. Most published studies have follow-up of less than 3 years. Systematic reviews have added relatively little in terms of long-term follow-up data, according to the authors.
O'Brien and colleagues introduced LAGB at their center in 1994, and have followed all patients by means of a dedicated bariatric surgery database. As of December 2011, O'Brien and co-author Wendy Brown, MBBS, PhD, also of Monash University, had treated 3,227 patients with LAGB.
The authors performed a prospective longitudinal cohort study of the patients. For comparison, they performed a systematic review of published literature on bariatric surgery. The focus was on long-term follow-up, 15 years for the cohort and 10 years for the systematic review.
The cohort had mean age of 47 and a mean presurgical body mass index of 43.8 kg/m2. The authors identified 714 patients followed for at least 10 years, including 54 patients followed for 15 years and 14 followed for 16 years.
The 10-year excess weight loss was 47%.
The authors reported that 26% of patients required revisions for proximal enlargement,
21% for port and tubing problems, and 3.4% for erosion.
Band removal was performed in 5.6% of patients.
During the first 10 years of clinical experience, the revision rate for proximal enlargement was 40%, declining to 6.4% during the last 5 years of the study period. Patients with and without revisions had similar excess weight loss.
The systematic review consisted of 19 published articles, 24 data sets, and approximately 14,000 patients. The data included six sets involving patients with LAGB, nine sets for RYGB, five sets for gastroplasty, three for biliopancreatic diversion or duodenal switch (BPD/DS), and one involving fixed open gastric banding.
According to the authors, every study had deficiencies related to data reporting. None of the studies was a randomized controlled trial. One investigation was a prospective, nonrandomized, matched interventional study, and the rest were observational studies.
With respect to safety, one perioperative death occurred in 6,177 LAGB procedures, compared with 21 in 2,684 RYGB procedures (P<0.001).
Excess weight loss at 10 years averaged 54% with LAGB and RYGB, 53% with gastroplasty, and 73.3% with BPD/DS. The mean revision rate was 26% with LAGB and 22% with RYGB. Revision rates from individual data sets ranged as high as 60% with LAGB and 38% with RYGB.
"The longitudinal cohort study of the LAGB patients shows that they have achieved and maintained a loss of nearly half of their excess weight to 15 years," the authors wrote. "The validity of the 15-year figure of 47% of excess weight loss is reinforced by the pooling of all long-term data (≥10 years) and finding the same weight loss of 47% excess weight loss for the much larger group."
Neurological diseases sometimes occur (if very rarely) triggered in part by a weight loss surgical procedure for various reasons — some avoidable — some not, please don’t hate. (Says she who developed a cognitive disorder and intractible epilepsy after weight loss surgery. Be kind.) The woman in the following story developed Wernicke’s Disease after gastric banding surgery in 2009.
Wernicke’s disease occurs at times with persistent vomiting after WLS, a study in Neurology (2007) states that in a review of cases a “majority of the patients (25 of the 32) had vomiting as a risk factor, and 21 had the classic Wernicke’s triad of confusion, ataxia, and nystagmus. Other symptoms seen in these patients included optic neuropathy, papilledema, deafness, seizures, asterixis (bilateral) flapping tremor of the hands and wrist, weakness, and sensory and motor neuropathies.”
A small number of cases, patients who undergo weight reduction surgery may develop Wernicke’s encephalopathy, marked by confusion and problems with movement and eye control.
The cause is a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency and, if detected, can be easily corrected with dietary supplements. Untreated, it can be fatal and cause severe neurologic morbidity.
Shacka says she suffers from multiple health issues because of a lap band surgery she had in California back in 2009. It went horribly wrong. And since then her independence is gone and her life has never been the same.
“At some point, I say I don’t know what my life is supposed to be like now. Like, where am I supposed to go? Where do I fit in?,” said Shacka.
But what is lap band surgery?
“They’re a weight loss surgery where this band is placed around the top part of the stomach. The bands have a balloon on the inside on the inner surface and through adjustments in clinic, the balloon can be tightened or loosened and help people feel full on a smaller amount of food,” said M.D. Corrigan McBride of the Nebraska Medical Center.
Officials from the Nebraska Medical Center say health issues with weight are a common factor for patients battling weight gain and obesity.
“There’s a certain percentage of patients that it’s just not the right weight loss tool for them and they will elect to have the bands removed and converted to a different surgery,” said McBride.
“I said I can’t do this anymore, I need to go to the hospital. This is not right, I’m still throwing up. And finally I went in, and by then I had double vision and that’s a sign of neurological disease,” said Shacka.
Shacka also suffers from Wernicke disease—a form of brain damage. She says this was a result of her surgery. Through years of therapy, learning how to walk, speak and use her hands again, Shacka says her journey to better health isn’t over.
“I beat the odds twice. They told me I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life…and I’m walking. They told me I would never do steps again, I went up four flights of steps with one physical therapist. So I beat the odds and I need more additional help,” said Shacka.
But through this traumatic experience, Shacka says she sees the bright side of it all.
“I met some wonderful, wonderful angels who’ve helped me to know what life is about. I can’t take that back and I would have never gotten it if I wouldn’t have gotten sick,” she said.
And her fight to spread awareness about the risks of lap band surgery keeps her motivated.
“You don’t give up, and I’m not going to give up. And I guess this is my way of not giving up and living life,” she said.
Shacka plans to sue the doctors in California that did the surgery. She’s had some financial struggles raising enough money to hire a lawyer, but finally met that goal. Now, she is trying to raise enough money to receive therapy and more medical treatment at Mayo Clinic.
Clin Nutr. 2000 Oct;19(5):371-3. Wernicke’s syndrome after bariatric surgery.
In an unusual move, the Food and Drug Administration has warned a marketing company and eight surgery centers in Southern California that their billboards and other advertisements touting weight-loss surgery are misleading because they don't adequately describe the risks from the procedure.
The agency's letters ask the surgery centers and the marketing firm 1-800-GET-THIN to pull the allegedly misleading advertising.
In a letter to 1-800-GET-THIN, the agency cites a billboard whose copy reads:
"LOSE WEIGHT WITH THE LAP-BAND! SAFE 1 HOUR, FDA APPROVED; 1-800-GET-THIN; 1-800-953-5000; PPO INSURANCE; FREE INSURANCE VERIFICATION"