This is the foreword of the book 
Weight Loss Surgery: 
How to Find the Thin Person Hiding Inside You
Barbara Thompson.

Bariatric surgeons often refer to weight loss surgery as a very powerful “tool” to help patients win the battle against severe obesity.  In our bariatric surgery center at the University of Pittsburgh we, as do many bariatric surgeons, provide an “owners manual” for patients to serve as a comprehensive instruction guide for their new tool.  Just like the manufacture’s instruction guide to a new computer program or an electronic device, the doctor’s “instruction guide” although very informative, can sometimes be difficult to understand with some important information left out.  For this reason, local bookstores are full of hot selling, practical instruction guides written by users who really know how the device works as opposed to the manufacturer.  Well, Barbara Thompson’s book just may be the first practical “owners manual” for bariatric surgery written for and by the user (patient). 

Barbara, who herself had laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery by myself and my partner, Dr. Sayeed Ikramuddin, begins by guiding the reader through that big step in deciding to have surgery and then how to choose a surgeon.  She then discusses, in a very straightforward manner, the various operations available along with comparative advantages and disadvantages.  This is followed by a very realistic description of what to expect during the hospital stay and during recovery.  Some excellent advice is provided to help make the journey as safe and smooth as possible.  The section on adjusting to new, healthy eating habits after surgery is full of very useful and practical guides that we often teach as well in our surgical weight loss clinic and support group meetings.  She continues with some very practical suggestions on how to cope with and maintain success.  We surgeons often forget that coping with success can be a challenge, and Barbara aptly addresses that issue.  The final chapter written by her husband, Frank, is a must read for patient’s family members and “significant others” for it poignantly addresses some of the anxieties and concerns held by loved ones who may have strong doubts about weight loss surgery based on ignorance.

Although Barbara clearly indicates that she is speaking as a layperson and not a medical professional, I found the medical information quite accurate and balanced with many references to reputable medical literature.   She has appropriately indicated that expert opinion differs on some surgical issues such as choice of operation and the relative benefit of laparoscopic vs. open surgery.  This book will indeed arm patients with very important information allowing them to be an active participant with their surgeon in making important decisions regarding their choice of operation.  I am sure the reader will find Barbara’s personal journey through weight loss surgery very real, genuine, and refreshing recognizing that individual experiences, as Barbara points out, may vary.  

Ms. Thompson’s book: Weight Loss Surgery, Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You fills a critical void for patients who have had or are thinking about having weight loss surgery.  She condenses an enormous volume of information from a larger variety of reputable sources into a very readable and understandable text.  Her book provides a very practical guide to weight loss surgery written by a woman who not only knows how to use her tool effectively but also knows how to communicate effectively to people like herself who have struggled with severe obesity.  In summary, it is a superb, comprehensive guide to weight loss surgery that I will recommend to all my patients and their primary physicians.  Her success in winning the battle against obesity and writing this enormously valuable book is my reflected glory. 

Phil Schauer, MD
Director of Bariatric Surgery
Director of Endoscopic Surgery
Department of Surgery
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

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