Over the years, Jessica Ward of Moline had tried numerous diets without success. Now, she is in the best shape she's been in 20 years.
"My knees no longer hurt. My lower back pain is gone. I can move around," Ward said. "It's starting to really make a difference."
Her success is a result of a weight-loss procedure known as LAP-BAND®, or laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. After years of failed attempts at losing weight, Jessica finally took the ultimate step that changed her life: weight-loss surgery.
"It was a big decision," said Jessica. "But I studied all of my options, talked to the doctors, weighed the pros and cons and decided this was what I needed to do for my health."
Suffering for years
Prior to the surgery, Jessica suffered for years with sleep apnea, coronary issues, high blood pressure and a number of other ailments. "Since the surgery, I check my blood pressure every day," she said. "I don't even have to take medication anymore. It lowered naturally."
According to Sara A. Neyens BSN, RN, CGRN, Trinity's Bariatric Program Administrator, Trinity was the first hospital in the area to offer the surgery in October 2007. Unlike gastric bypass surgery, there's no cutting part of the stomach or rerouting of the intestines. Instead, it all happens through five tiny incisions, and a silicon band, which is wrapped around the stomach like a belt that restricts the amount of food a patient can eat. "It turns the stomach into an hourglass shape," Neyens said. "So when you eat, the top part of the hourglass receives the food, giving patients the feeling of a 'full' stomach after only a small amount of food."
Safest procedure available
"I've seen a lot of success in my patients," said Dr. Melinda Hass, Ward's surgeon. Most doctors, like Hass, say the minimally invasive LAP-BAND® is the safest weight-loss procedure available - and unlike gastric bypass - it's easily reversible. However, the surgery chosen depends upon each individual patient. Hass projects that most patients can lose up to 70 percent of their excess body weight with the lap-band procedure. "Very few people will lose all their excess body weight," Hass added. "It's just not realistic. But 50, 60, 70 percent - that's a reasonable goal."
A life-changing experience
For Ward, who wouldn't consider more radical surgery and has not had any complications, the lap-band has dramatically changed her life. "Since my surgery, I've lost 105 pounds," said Ward, who is also enjoying fewer or the elimination of some health issues she faced prior to the surgery. "I've reclaimed some physical freedom that I lost there for awhile. It's wonderful."