Plutarch’s Weblog

December 15, 2007

If Huckabee had surgery, was it gastric bypass or LAP-BAND?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — plutarch01 @ 1:10 am

I corresponded earlier today with a public policy obesity expert, who guessed that Huckabee had procedure was a LAP-BAND®, rather than a gastric bypass (also called a Roux-en-Y ). I believe that if Huckabee had bariatric surgery, it was more likely to have been a gastric bypass.

  • Gastric bypass is much more common than LAP-BAND, which was clinically introduced in the U.S. in 2001; by May 2004 20,000 had been performed in the U.S. If 15,000 LAP-BANDs were performed in 2003, that is still only 15% of the 102,000 bariatric operations that year.
  • Huckabee had clinical association with UAMS (his weight loss program) and The Surgical Clinic of Central Arkansas (hernia repair). He could have had his bariatric surgery at either. Press releases from UAMS touting bariatric surgery in 2002 and 2003 mention only gastric bypass. Likewise, the Surgical Clinic of Central Arkansas’ website specifically features gastric bypass to the exclusion of LAP-BAND.
  • The ratio among the more recent Arkansas bariatrics on the Obesity Help forum is about 3.5:1 gastric bypass to LAP-BAND, which is likely more LAP-BAND’s than in 2003.
  • Huckabee’s rapid weight loss is characteristic of gastric bypass, not LAP-BAND. From 290 lbs. Huckabee lost 75 lbs and 110 lbs in 6 and 12 mos. respectively. His ideal weight was 160, and thus he lost 57% and 84% of his excess weight at 6 and 12 months respectively. As noted in the in the main piece, this aggressive weight loss is characteristic of gastric bypass. LAP-BAND is slower. The weight loss pattern of the two procedures are compared in this study upon which Huckabee’s weight loss is plotted in red.

Gastric bypass (LYRGB)  vs. LAP-BAND (LABG)LRYGB = gastric bypass LABG = LAP-BAND

  • Huckabee had skin changes and hair loss. Such changes are reputed to be more prevalent with gastric bypass than LAP-BAND, although there is hair loss with LAP-BAND; according to a poll on a LAP-BAND forum, 37% had >25% hair loss.

The inquiry into whether Huckabee’s putative bariatric surgery was gastric bypass or LAP-BAND is useful, as it is another direction from which the clinical picture can be examined. My impression is that the more ways one looks at the clinical picture, the more recognizably it becomes that of gastric bypass.



  1. What about his public appearance at the former governor’s funeral in May 2003? The timeline would be difficult to reckon with a major surgery on Monday and a public appearance on Wednesday.

    Comment by Grodge — December 22, 2007 @ 9:48 pm

  2. Grodge—
    The former Governor died on Wednesday, there was a lying in State in the Capitol Rotunda on Friday, which Huckabee attended, and the funeral was on Saturday at which Huckabee spoke. With laparoscopic surgery the incisions in the abdominal wall are about a 1/2″, the patient is up and walking the day of surgery, and is released from the hospital a day or two later. I’ve talked to nurses and doctors who do such surgery, and they all agree that someone who had the surgery on Monday would be able to do what Huckabee did on Friday and Saturday.

    Comment by plutarch01 — December 23, 2007 @ 12:20 am

  3. Maybe the MSM is afraid to ask Huckabee about the surgery, given his huffiness when called out.

    Comment by Donald O'Kelley — January 15, 2008 @ 7:13 am

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  31. […] If Huckabee had surgery, was it gastric bypass or LAP-BAND … […]

    Pingback by If Huckabee had surgery, was it gastric bypass or LAP-BAND … | Lapband Help — April 14, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

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