Bariatric news always catches my eye and this week there is an interesting ESPN story about Buffalo Bills Coach Rex Ryan and his twin brother Rob, who both had lap bands to combat their mutual morbid obesity.
Recently, Rex Ryan, who successfully lost well over 100 pounds with his lap band, had it removed because his twin brother’s band had caused complications after he failed to follow the program’s food protocol (according to his firsthand account to the media).
To be honest, I’m conflicted about this story. If someone has been successful with the gastric band, and is not experiencing any complications, why would you remove it?
To me, it seems like Rex Ryan is doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons. It’s certainly honorable to show solidarity with your brother, but not when it involves removing a tool that helped you to lose a substantial amount of weight — and keep it off (before his gastric band was inserted, he weighed more than 350 pounds).
Considering the amount of stress he endures due to his job, maintaining a healthy weight is even more important to his longevity.
Lap band failure is more common that you might think
Keep in mind, a significant number of people who have the lap band eventually remove it due to complications or failure to lose an appreciable amount of weight in about 50 percent of people. Many may be surprised to read that most weight loss surgery specialists, including me, no longer perform lap band bariatric surgery. In fact, we remove more and more lap bands every year.
After removing the lap band, we often perform revision bariatric surgery, where we change the patient’s procedure to a gastric sleeve or a gastric bypass, which achieves higher overall weight loss, with far fewer complications.
As a New Jersey bariatric surgeon who has treated many patients over the years, I’ll make a dire prediction: Coach Ryan and his brother will eventually gain the majority of their weight back, despite their bravery in publicly stating they will “use the tools they learned with the lap band to live a healthy lifestyle without it.”
If Rex and Rob Ryan were my patients, I would advise them to consider having the gastric sleeve or gastric bypass in the offseason. Even before the operation, I’d require them to commit to working out and eating a healthy diet. This will aid them both in the prevention of obesity-related medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke risk, diabetes, cancer and sleep apnea.
While I hope these two men prove me wrong, we will all be able to watch every Sunday afternoon to see how they fare going forward.
Resuming weight loss after the gastric band
If you’re frustrated by your weight loss progress after lap band surgery, or are experiencing complications, there are other options available. Every patient’s case is unique and requires a one-on-one consultation with my Prime Surgicare team.
Call us at 732-982-2002 to schedule a private consultation or attend one of my free monthly patient seminars on the CentraState Medical Center campus.
If you’d like to learn more about life before, during and after bariatric surgery, connect with me on Facebook. Have any questions or concerns? Post a comment below.
About Dr. Seun Sowemimo, MD, FACS
Dr. Seun is a top NJ bariatric surgeon and the medical director at Prime Surgicare, with offices in Freehold serving Monmouth and Ocean counties. He is board-certified, Columbia and Yale University fellowship-trained in advanced laparoscopic, bariatric and general surgery.
To learn more, visit his YouTube channel or call Prime Surgicare at (732)-982-2002.