One Patient's Weight Loss Surgery - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

One Patient's Weight Loss Surgery

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Whether it is over-eating or a hereditary condition many people find themselves tipping the scales at an alarming weight. 

The latest research from the Centers for Disease Control shows 30 percent of Tennesseans are obese.

Last year alone almost 500 lap-band weight loss procedures were performed at the Metabolic Surgery Center in Nashville.

For three years Mitzi Gargus has worked behind the scenes directing and producing NewsChannel5 plus programming.

After working on a show covering lap-band weight loss Mitzi decided to step in front of the camera.

"I've always been overweight. It's always been an issue ever since I've been old enough to know. You know, it's just - I've always been heavier, and so it's always been a struggle to make the right choices," said Mitzi.

She suffers from asthma and wants to become healthy. 

"I don't have diabetes now, but if things don't change 10 years down the road I know that I absolutely will," said Mitzi.

At 24-years-old weighing 280 pounds - Mitzi underwent life changing surgery.

"It's incredible. I think one of the biggest things that we see is just the improvement in their lifestyle," said Baptist Hospital Surgeon Dr. Charles Morton.

Morton said the surgery has been around for almost 8 years. He showed how the lap-band was placed on top of the stomach to make a smaller stomach. 

"When patients have their band adjusted properly and the opening to the pouch is small enough - the pouch fills up with solid food and they have to stop," said Morton.

Dr. Morton will use this latest lap-band device -the 4th generation - to help Mitzi lose weight.

"These little air cells in here tend to act like grippers to kind of help hold it in place, so it's less prone to erosion and less prone to slippage," said Morton.

During surgery the doctor made six incisions. The band is placed over Mitzi's stomach and a port is centered in the middle of her abdomen. The total surgery time was less than an hour.

Five week after surgery, Mitzi met with Dr. Morton.

She will go through a series of what's called adjustments - placing saline in the port - tightening up the lap-band device.

Mitzi can eat about 3/4 of a cup of solid food, but soon she will only be able to tolerate half a cup.

"If we see about a pound or two a week that's great, but it's a slower process but it is a lifestyle change and that's what we preach to our patients," said Morton.

At the visit Mitzi was down 5 1/2 pounds.

"Things went great today. I feel good. I can really tell that I've lost and that I'm feeling a lot better," said Mitzi.

Gargus must follow a strict diet and exercise plan.

For the past 5 months NewsChannel5 has taken her picture almost every day to show you the dramatic weight loss that has already occurred.

Tuesday night at 6 p.m. tune in to see part two of our medical series on lap-band surgery to really see the difference the surgery made in Mitzi's life.

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