New Jersey Bariatric Surgery Centers, led by Dr. Naveen Ballem

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Graham Elliot’s Weight Loss Surgery Success

Date: August 15, 2013


Graham Elliot's Dramatic Weight Loss!Master Chef judge Graham Elliot opted out of attending the All-Stars baseball game this year in favor of undergoing a medical procedure to enhance his personal health. Chicago's popular chef underwent gastric bypass surgery in attempts at helping with his ongoing battle with weight loss. After tipping the scales at 400 pounds, Elliot made the decision to endure the life-saving procedure.

Plagued by Obesity

Besides suffering from obesity, the famous chef shared that his family medical history included a variety of potentially life-threatening conditions that included hypertension, heart attacks and strokes. Elliot contemplated undergoing some type of weight loss surgery for the past six years. Now at the age of 36, he spoke about having difficulty getting in and out of his vehicle, tying his shoes or playing with his three young sons. The chef consulted with a gastric surgeon and discussed various gastric surgeries. He and the physician determined that he qualified as a candidate for sleeve gastric surgery.

Prior to having the sleeve gastrectomy, Elliot consulted with a nutritionist and a psychologist. In preparation, he also converted to a 1,000 calorie a day diet comprised of broth and protein shakes. The dietary adjustment was initially challenging, as the chef owning three Chicago area restaurants has a penchant for a number of delicacies that include butter poached lobster and stuffed beignets. Elliot, encouraged by co-judge Gordon Ramsay, looks forward to the day when he loses enough weight so he will be able to run on a treadmill and participate in marathons.

Sleeve Gastrectomy Procedure

Taking only approximately one hour from beginning to completion, surgeons perform this type of non-reversible gastric surgery through a series of small incisions, which provide access to the small camera known as a laparoscope and other necessary instruments. During a sleeve gastrectomy, a bariatric surgeon alters the size and shape of the stomach, removing almost 85 percent of the organ. The surgeon then staples the remaining portion into a tubular sleeve-like structure similar in size to that of a banana.

Following sleeve gastrectomy, the patient typically remains in the hospital for one or two days. Full recovery requires up to six weeks. The abdomen is initially swollen and patients experience discomfort similar to an extensive workout. Dietary alterations include two weeks of a liquid diet followed by two weeks on a pureed diet, two weeks on semi-solid foods and finally solid food. The restricted diet provides ample time for healing of the stomach's stapled periphery.

After fully recovering, patients must continue lifestyle changes and follow-up appointments as directed. Weight loss occurs as the stomach can only accommodate small amounts of food at one time. Gastric surgery recipients must eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and only swallow food after chewing food to a mashed consistency. Patients must also avoid drinking liquids at mealtime.

Chef Elliot and other patients undergoing this type of gastric surgery typically lose anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of excess body weight in six to 12 months. Besides experiencing weight loss, according to follow-up studies, patients also exhibit reversal of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and sleep apnea symptoms within one to two years.