Comedian and Celebrity Apprentice star, Lisa Lampanelli, has lost 80 pounds since having weight loss surgery in April. Lampanelli, now 51 years old, says that she has struggled with her weight since age 18 and has tried every diet out there without success. She explained that bariatric surgery was the next logical step. Weighing 248 pounds prior to surgery, Lampanelli has shrunk considerably, and is now wearing a size 12 less than 6 months after her procedure. Inspired by her weight loss, Lampanelli’s husband underwent the same procedure a few months later. In an interview with In Touch Magazine, Lampanelli said “the doctor who did my procedure explained that obesity risks are much greater than the risks for this surgery. I was such an overeater. Now, I get full quickly – at three, four bites, I have to stop.”
The procedure Lisa chose to have is called gastric sleeve surgery. While lesser known that the gastric bypass or lap band, gastric sleeve has been rapidly gaining in popularity in the last few years. The gastric sleeve is also often referred to as sleeve gastrectomy or vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG). Initially the sleeve was performed as the first part of a two-stage weight loss treatment. However, the operation has proven to be so effective in treating obesity that it is now recognized by the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) as a stand-alone procedure. The sleeve involves removing approximately 80 percent of a person’s stomach, leaving a small portion of stomach that resembles a slender banana. The procedure works in part by providing restriction: the sleeve limits the amount of food that can be consumed, helps patients feel less hungry and also full sooner after eating. In addition to providing restriction, recent research has shown that the sleeve has metabolic effects as well. We spoke with Dr Greg Walton, who along with partner Dr Toby Broussard, has done over 1200 gastric sleeves in the Oklahoma City area. “Prospective patients are drawn to the sleeve because no foreign bodies are placed around the stomach (as in gastric band surgery), nor is the GI tract rearranged (as in the gastric bypass),” Walton said. “In our own series, the weight loss as been exactly the same with the sleeve as with the bypass, and we’ve seen fewer long term complications (reoperations in particular).” The majority of sleeve procedures performed today use a laparoscopic technique, which is considered minimally invasive since it involves very small incisions (generally smaller than 1 centimeter each). Laparoscopic surgery usually results in a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, smaller scars, and less pain than traditional/open surgical procedures.
Several major insurance providers cover the gastric sleeve and CMS has recently announced that they are allowing regional CMS contractors to decide on an individual basis if the sleeve should be covered by Medicare. You can read more about the decision here. Or learn more about the sleeve surgery here.