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.
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.