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).
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.
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,
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.