Since more than 72 million people in this country are considered morbidly obese or 100 pounds overweight, it stands to reason that more people are opting for bariatric surgery to lengthen their lives. Nancy Naeve Brown met a Marshall woman last year who had lap band surgery in December and is back at Avera McKennan for her 1 month check up.
Mary Spoelstra from Marshall is in for her 1 month check-up at the Avera Bariatric Institute in Sioux Falls. So far she is down 11 pounds. On December 8th of 2010 Dr. Brad Thaemert laparoscopically placed an adjustable band around the upper part of Mary's stomach. He is checking to see if he needs to tighten it.
Dr. Thaemert says, "When we fill the band it's usually to help them feel full with 1 to 1 1/2 cups of food. That's the green zone we call it to help them lose weight."
Dr. Thaemert and the Avera McKennan Bariatric Coordinator Darcie Schmidt start by finding out how much Mary is eating, how much she is exercising and how she is feeling.
Mary says, "I notice I get hungry and I really have to watch what I do. If anyone does this procedure, it doesn't mean it's going to do it all for you. And I have to tell you, I have had some days I went on my prayers to get me through."
Darcie says, "It wasn't surprising for me to hear from Mary that starting last week she was really hungry in between meals. She was eating a cup and a half of food at the time she wasn't feeling satisfied. It's totally common in the first month."
Dr. Thaemert decides Mary is indeed in need of a fill. Through a small access port under the skin he injects saline with a special type of needle that tightens the band.
Dr. Brad Thaemert says, "It's like an inner tube. We add fluid to it so it's tightening around the stomach to give the patient a feeling of more restriction so the food stops a little easier and stays above the band longer."
After he filled the band, he had her drink a glass a water to make sure it can pass through the band without making her sick to her stomach.
Darcie says, "She'll feel better. She will feel like a new woman and be satisfied with a cup of food that will last for 4 hours."
Mary's goal is to lose at least 80 pounds by years end. She's off to a great start.
All patients who have had bariatric surgery have monthly check-ups with their surgeon to track their progress which helps keep them on track. Nancy will be following Mary's progress for the next year, which Mary says she's excited about because she knows the pressure is on to lose the weight and she knows she can.
If you want more information contact the Avera Bariatric Institute:
Or call Darcie Schmidt the Bariatric Coordinator at 605.322.1320