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Losing weight, gaining health: Lap-Band weight loss surgery

A DMC patient struggling with several weight-related health issues undergoes Lap-Band surgery to loose weight and gain control of her health.

Losing Weight, Gaining Health: Less Invasive Weight-loss Surgery at DMC

Since she was 16, Paulette Brown has weighed over 200 pounds. As she aged, her weight increased until she reached 327 pounds. Her life was severely limited. “I had to retire from the post office after 31 and a half years because my knees were so bad that as I walked I had to hold onto the walls.”


Then Paulette found Dr. Mohamed Gazayerli, who specializes in a minimally-invasive procedure called Lap-Band® surgery at DMC Harper University Hospital. With this procedure, the entire intestine is left intact, and a band is placed around the upper stomach. The band creates a small stomach pouch that only holds a small amount of food. When that gets filled with food, it sends messages to the base of the brain saying, “That’s all I can eat.”


Not only is Dr. Gazayerli an expert in his field, he has personally undergone the very procedure he specializes in today – he has his own set of “before-and-after” photos to show new patients. One of those is Barbara Merglewski. At age 70, she weighs 255 pounds. Barbara says the weight gain had many causes, and impacts her long list of medical conditions, including congestive heart failure, sarcoidosis, high blood pressure and diabetes. She hopes to lose 100 pounds and in the process, make her health problems more manageable.  


“The health benefits of the weight loss are unbelievable,” says Dr. Gazayerli. “Diabetics become non-medication-using diabetics. Hypertension can be reduced from three medications to one...Sleep apnea disappears…”


Barbara’s surgery was minimally invasive because DR. Gazayerli used a laparoscope, a thin rod that carries a tiny light and camera. Inserted through a small incision, it gives him a magnified view of the inside of the abdomen on a monitor. He then uses smaller instruments to feed the band into the abdomen. The band is then looped around the upper stomach and stitched in position.


Finally, just below the skin, a port connected to the band is secured. It’s this port that allows the band to be adjusted in the future. The doctor uses this port to add or remove fluid which tightens or loosens the band. The tighter the band, the smaller the opening between the smaller pouch and the rest of the stomach, forcing food to take more time to descend through the stomach. “With that we don’t feel hungry for a longer period of time, because the food stays there longer.” He says. “And we end up by eating about a third of what we had eaten before.”


Loosening the band is sometimes needed with patients who get pregnant, need major surgery, or develop other health issues requiring an increased diet.


In addition to this flexibility, there are other advantages. The operation takes only an hour, and because the incisions are small, recovery time is brief. Patients go home from the hospital in a few days and resume normal activities in about a week.


Paulette Brown dropped from 327 pounds to 150, and intends to lose another 10, saying “I can eat the same things that I was eating before; it’s just that I eat a lot less.”


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Harper University Hospital
John Webber M.D.(Connect with this doctor)
PRIMARY HOSPITAL: Harper University Hospital
BOARD CERTIFICATION: American Board of Surgery
Michael Wood M.D.(Connect with this doctor)
Department of Surgery, Harper University Hospital Medical Director, Bariatric Surgery, Harper University Hospital Clinical Professor of Surgery (WSU) Co0inventor of the patented Sapala-Wood Micropouch® gastric bypass procedure PRIMARY HOSPITAL: Harper University Hospital SPECIALTY: Surgery BOARD CERTIFICATION: American Board of Surgery EDUCATION/TRAINING: Meharry Medical College INTERNSHIP: Harper University Hospital RESIDENCY: Detroit Medical Center/WSU Affiliated Hospitals AWARDS: Best Doc, Inc., HOUR Magazine
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