From Press Reports
MANTEE — Billy Abbott of Mantee lost both his parents at an early age-and he was determined to do what he could to prevent that from happening to his kids.
“When I was in the first grade my mom passed, and my dad passed away when I was in the eighth grade,” Abbott said. “That is something that I did not want my kids to go through.” But by 30, he was already battling diabetes, arthritis, sleep apnea and rising blood pressure-and his weight was largely to blame.
“Weighing 447 pounds kept me from being able to tie my shoes, run, play ball with my kids and ride horses,” Abbott said. “At work the weight hindered me when moving around on the equipment. I couldn’t go to theme parks or water parks because I was too big for the rides. I could not stand for a long time without my ribs and back hurting.”
Abbott attended a free seminar by Terry Pinson, M.D., a general and bariatric surgeon who serves as medical director for North Mississippi Medical Center’s Bariatric Center in Tupelo. Dr. Pinson performs three types of bariatric (weight loss) procedures-laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery and laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy.
Understanding the Differences
Gastric bypass creates a very small upper stomach pouch-less than one ounce-by transecting the stomach. Because it doesn’t take much food or liquid to fill the new, small pouch, the person enjoys eating a lot less. In addition, food is not absorbed as well as it once was, contributing to rapid weight loss.
Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery consists of placing a silicone band around the upper part of the stomach and filling it with saline. This creates a new, smaller stomach pouch that can hold only a small amount of food. Gastric band surgery is the least invasive of the three procedures, as it does not require stomach cutting and stapling or gastrointestinal re-routing to bypass normal digestion.
Laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy generates weight loss by restricting the amount of food that may be consumed without bypassing the stomach or a portion of the small intestine. A portion of the stomach is removed and a new stomach pouch is formed. This procedure helps to reduce the sensation of hunger by possibly eliminating some of the gastrointestinal hormones responsible for the hunger pains. While, the stomach is reduced in volume, it functions normally so most food items can be consumed but in smaller portions.
The Time Had Come
After talking with Dr. Pinson, Abbott opted to have laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy on Oct. 30, 2012, and began losing weight immediately. “My diabetes was gone the day of the surgery,” he said. As the weight disappeared, so did his arthritis pain and sleep apnea, and his blood pressure dropped to normal levels.
In less than a year, Abbott has lost 207 pounds and continues to lose. “I have more energy and don’t get tired as quickly,” he said. “I know that I have done what I can to be there for my kids-to see them grow up, graduate and get married.”
Losing weight also means Abbott can now get on his mule without help. “Not being bigger than the mule is a great accomplishment for me,” he quipped.
Dr. Pinson and his staff present a free Bariatric Educational Seminar at noon the first Thursday of each month and at 6 p.m. the third Thursday of each month. Both seminars are held at NMMC’s Wellness Center in Tupelo.
Topics include weight loss surgery’s health benefits and risks; different types of weight loss surgery; who is a good candidate; questions to ask a physician; what to expect before, during and after surgery; advanced techniques and technologies; and insurance coverage. To learn more, visit www.nmhs.net/bariatric_center. To register for a seminar, call 1-866-908-9465.