Thursday, June 7, 2007

Body Lift

ennifer Hudson (26) gained weight to play her breakout role in Dreamgirls. Hollywood had to find an unknown to play the heavy, young singer biographically based on Florence Ballard of the Supremes.
"I had to maintain my weight to keep up, because we had a lot of dancing and performing to do and [my character's] not supposed to be a little you're all just going to have to get used to my jelly," she laughs, "Hey, somebody has to represent the big girls. Why not me?."
Just who are the "big girls" out there? In America, over half of all adults are overweight. Sixty-four percent to be exact. And in the last 20 years it's tripled amongst the 6-19 year-old group, rising to 16% of the population. It's not getting better, it's getting worse in the US.

So it makes sense that bariatric surgery is the new big thing. It's use is restricted to those with a BMI of 35+ or about 100 lbs. overweight. Over 177,000 surgeries were performed in 2006 (6 years ago it was 37,700). The average cost is $30,000 but insurance coverage is available for BMI of 40 or greater (the definition of morbid obesity). Even Medicare pays. Calculate your own Body Mass Index here.

There are two main procedures: gastric bypass and gastric banding. Gastric bypass surgery, involves fashioning a egg-size pouch (90% reduction) out of the top of the stomach and reconnecting it to half of the small intestine. Two feet of intestine go in the bucket. It’s permanent. Patients experience nutritional deficiencies or malabsorption of micro nutrients. Calcium supplements and Vitamin B12 injections are routinely required following gastric bypass. Gastric dumping syndrome also can occur.

Gastric banding is an adjustable restriction using an inflatable band to temporarily create a small pouch at the top of the stomach. Different from the traditional malabsorptive weight loss surgery, eg, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RNY), Biliopancreatic Diversion (BPD) and Duodenal Switch (DS), banding does not cut or remove any part of the digestive system.

The tiny capacity it leaves takes away the choice about eating. You vomit. Another lovely way to phrase it is PB’ing (Productive Burping): regurgitation of non-acidic swallowed food from the upper pouch.

Who’s had it done? Singers Carnie Wilson & Ann Wilson, Star Jones (on Larry King Live 150lbs), American Idol’s Randy Jackson, Al Roker (NBC weatherman), Sharon Osbourne, Anne Rice, Roseanne Barr, (on Rosanne’s advice Etta James went to the doctor in a wheelchair & lost 200 lbs.). Nicole Richie HASN’T nor has Kirstie Alley.

It is not without serious risk: a 50% complication rate and bowel obstruction are two biggies.

After weight loss the hardest part of the adjustment may be emotional.
"I really still think of myself as a very big woman," she said. "My mind hasn't had the opportunity to catch up with the progress my body has made in a short amount of time." Debra Voight, opera singer (44)
There is another major adjustment, as well. One looks like a human sharpei. It's like having a size 26 skin hanging on a size 8 body.

Choosing the type of body sculpture is a balance of compromises, the scar for the excision vs. the benefit of the lift. The body is three dimensional. Body lift surgery addresses the loose drooping tissues circumferentially. It usually involves several stages: lower body lift, breast lift, arm lift, upper body lift. The lower body lift extends the tummy tuck incision completely around the lower torso, allowing re-suspension of the lateral and anterior thighs along with the traditional tummy tuck improvements. A medial thigh lift is also possible. An upper body procedure removes loose skin from the arms (bracioplasty), breasts (mastopexy) and upper torso. Patients wear a support or compression garment for two to six weeks.

Such surgery can run from $20,000 to $50,000 for an entire body and it usually leaves long, visible scars on the arms, chest, stomach and legs.

As to just who in Hollywood has had these post-bariatric surgeries? Star Jones has had public complications during one of her staged procedures. Rumor of Britney Spears staging a "come-back" via a body lift is just that: a rumor and a ridiculous one at that.

Hear Anne live on the Kevyn Burger show NEW TIME: 10:00 to 11:00am every Thursday featuring Knifestyles of the Rich & Famous.

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