Stacie's Story

Over 10 years Stacie Lepore of Glastonbury saw her weight spiral from 110 to 240 pounds. The 5-feet-2-inch young woman struggled to lose weight, but nothing worked.

She had chronic migraines, hyperthyroidism, high cholesterol, respiratory problems and borderline diabetes. In 2005, she began researching bariatric surgery.

Concerned about complications reported at other programs, she turned to Hartford Hospital and Darren Tishler, MD. "He stressed that surgery was 'a tool, not a fix'," Mrs. Lepore says. After a rigorous six-month evaluation, she had a LAP-BAND® procedure in August 2006. It involved five tiny incisions, a one-night hospital stay and minimal pain.

Two years later, the middle-aged mother of two rises each day at 4:30 a.m. to go to the gym. She is down to 145 pounds and all of her other obesity-related illnesses are gone.

"Having this surgery was the best life change I’ve made. I’m healthy. I have confidence. I feel good about myself. Dr. Tishler and the staff are incredible. My husband had the procedure and he’s lost 60 pounds in a year. We have a great support system in our household."

Dangers of Obesity

Obesity affects every organ system, disrupts endocrine function, weakens joints and muscles, taxes hearts and overburdens lungs. Excess weight accounts for an estimated 70 percent of the diabetes risk in the United States. Dense fatty tissue makes diagnostic X-rays difficult to read, while obese patients find it nearly impossible to squeeze into CT scanners or MRI tubes. Overweight individuals endure workplace discrimination, cruel stares and agonies of remorse about their inability to stick to a diet.

"Obesity is increasing in this country at a dramatic rate," says Kiran R. Ubriani, M.D., an endocrinologist with Connecticut Multispecialty Group. "Since obesity is such a strong risk factor for diabetes, preventing obesity may potentially avert subsequent diabetes."

When supervised dieting, exercise and behavior modification fail, weight loss surgery offers new hope for morbidly obese patients who often tip the scales at 300 pounds or more. "Weight-loss surgery can often alleviate obesity-related conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol relatively quickly," says Dr. Tishler, director of Hartford HealthCare Medical Group's Centers for Surgical Weight Loss at Hartford Hospital. "The sooner someone has surgery after a diagnosis of diabetes, the better. Surgery may reduce the need for insulin or eliminate diabetes medications altogether."

Medical & Surgical Weight Loss

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