Health Team

Weight-loss surgery takes long-term commitment

Posted December 29, 2011

— Rex Healthcare doctors say that weight-loss surgery can dramatically improve a person's chances of keeping off the pounds – only 12 percent of people maintain weight loss without surgery, but 85 percent who have surgery do so long term.

However, doctors say, having weight-loss surgery is not a decision to be taken lightly or to be done alone.

Melanie Perryman, 48, was at her heaviest in February 2010.

"I had a lot of weight problems and started packing on a lot of pounds over time," Perryman said.

Her story is similar to that of Paula Scannel, 54, whose attempts to diet and maintain weight loss all failed.

"I couldn't get out of that cycle in the last six months," Scannel said.

Both women consulted Rex bariatric surgeon Dr. Lyndsey Sharp about different weight-loss surgery options. Criteria for the surgery include having a mass-body index of 40 or more or a BMI of 35 to 40 and significant medical problems.

Undergoing weight-loss surgery is more than a simple procedure, doctors say.

"It's a lifelong commitment both on the side of the patient and on the side of the doctors as well," Sharp said.

Patients begin making lifestyle changes before surgery with the help of a team of specialists. Patients also build a system of support with each other.

"The support groups here at Rex Surgical are just incredibly valuable," Scannel said.

weight loss Weight-loss surgery takes commitment

"I'm not sure how you can be as successful if you don't have that support," Perryman said.

Scannel had surgery on Dec. 7, exactly a year after Perryman. Scannel already lost 20 pounds and hopes to get the same results as Perryman.

"I look up to her, and I just aspire that I'm going to be as successful as she is," Scannel said.


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  • smartenough Jan 6, 2012

    I know of two lovely ladies who lost their lives due to this surgery. One was a wonderful 35 year old lady who had the surgery at a prominent local hospital on Thurs. and was dead on Sunday. The other lady was 46 and had a year of complications before she died. Please don't consider this a cure all/quick fix. This can be a very dangerous surgery.

  • sipsandsteps Jan 6, 2012

    Dr. Sharp is an AMAZING surgeon! I had RNY on 12/8/2010 and it was the best decision I have ever made. I struggled with my weight and trying to lose it for 10+ years. Dr. Sharp gave me a tool which in turn has given me my life back! I'm about 13 months out and have lost 141 lbs! I feel amazing! These past 13 months have been the HARDEST 13 months of my life but totally rewarding! The surgery is only a tool and not a quick fix. You still have to watch your calorie in-take, make sure you are getting in enough protein, taking your vitamins and ensuring you stay hydrated. Thank you Dr. Sharp for giving me my life back! :)

  • snshine62d Jan 6, 2012

    I have several friends that have had their surgery at Duke. They are doing wonderful and say the program there is great.

  • VoiceOfReason Jan 5, 2012

    I am a 6 year gastric by pass patient, have lost 170 lbs. The surgery is a tool in our arsenal. Yes some of us are successful, others not so much. The program we choose is a very important part of our success, the surgeon's pre op, psych eval, diet information, and as important the post op follow up and group sessions. Our ongoing success is about choices, day by day and sometimes minute by minute. A former 320 pound size 28 mother of 2, now a 150 pound, size 12 and still loosing!!

  • ConcernedCitizenRal Jan 5, 2012

    Dr. Sharp is great surgeon.

  • Invalid User ID Jan 4, 2012

    I agree with wisdomb4beauty....if you don't change your bad habits, you will gain the weight back, like others have mentioned witnessing their friends do that have done the surgery. Some seem to be implying that people have this surgery, go back to eating bad and gain their weight back and they should have never had the surgery. In reality it is no different than a non-surgery person losing weight, going back to old habits and gaining all the weight back and more. It's not that the surgery choice was wrong, it's the missing mental food addiction or habit change that they needed to make sure they worked on too, true life changes.. It's just not a simple answer if surgery is right or wrong. For everyone the answer is different depending on their entire health "package". I just wish people weren't so quick to make assumptions and judgments as if they know what is "right" for someone else just because it worked for them.

  • rcarroll Jan 4, 2012

    The surgeon mentioned in the story, Dr. Sharp, did my surgery last May. I have lost 145lbs. Dr. Sharp is a great doctor. Best decision I ever made was seeking his help.

  • wisdomb4beauty Jan 4, 2012

    WLSurgery is only a TOOL to help. It's not a permanent cure or quick answer. I meant to mention that in my earlier post. I did have Gastric Bypass Surgery in March 2011 and I have lost 126 lbs thus far. I have had to make a "LIFESTYLE" change though--permanently--for the rest of my life. If I go back to old eating habits I know that I can gain all 126lbs back and then some. The surgery is not a cure or quick fix. It must be combined with lifestyle (eating) changes, and healthy exercise. Please check out the website called for support/more information on WLSurgery. The website is wonderful for anyone considering WLSurgery or anyone who needs additional encouragement on your weightloss journey. It has been a huge help for me. WLSurgery was a good decision for me. I'm pleased as punch with my outcome. But I also have committed to changing my lifestyle and eating habits. Maintaining will be the hard part. Surgery alone doesn't fix the problem of obesity, but

  • Invalid User ID Jan 3, 2012

    To those talking about not "maiming" your body or the "fact" that all people need to do is lower caloric intake and exercise really are offensive to those people who may have needed this surgery for very real health reasons and maybe fell into the percentage of people who honestly had issues where their bodies did not respond to true doctor supervised 100% controlled diets and exercise programs that should have guaranteed weight loss without surgery. You can't put a blanket statement out there for absolutely everyone that one thing is the answer to weight loss, whether it be diet & exercise or surgery or something else entirely. Good for everyone that was able to lose weight with hard work, exercise and eating right without surgery. Most people that have surgery don't make that decision lightly, it's a painful, embarrassing, sometimes shameful but necessary decision and those that are degrading their decisions are just plain ignorant of what this is truly about at the core.

  • ncflynhi Jan 3, 2012

    I had surgery 2/10. I started out at my heaviest ever 308, I am now at 125. I can't say I feel a 100% as I am in the process of waiting on having a biopsy of my small intestine to test to ciliac disease. BUT overall I feel good just don't want to lose anymore weight.(AND no never in my life did I ever think I would be saying that.) Would I recommend having the surgery...yes,but know that it does sometimes come with some consequences