Gov. Chris Christie’s Weight-Loss Surgery Demystified

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie attends the Overdose Prevention Act Bill signing in Paterson, N.J., on May 2, 2013

When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie quietly opted for weight-loss surgery in February, he chose the safest — but often least effective — procedure.

Patients who undergo gastric-band surgery — Lap-Band is the trade name — can lose between a third to half of their body weight. But about 10% of patients lose nothing at all, says Dr. Philip Schauer, a bariatric surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic who was not involved in Christie’s care.

Before surgery, Christie weighed about 350 lb., estimates Schauer. “He’s about 150 pounds overweight so a very good result would be if he lost 75 pounds,” says Schauer. “But he would still be overweight at 275 pounds.”

(MORE: Viewpoint: Chris Christie’s Weight Isn’t a Big Issue)

Gastric-band surgery is usually performed laparoscopically, with surgeons cinching an adjustable silicone band around the patient’s stomach, limiting the amount of space for food. Adding saline to the band makes it tighter; in the first year after surgery, patients typically visit their physician six or so times to have the band adjusted. The snugger the band, the less hungry people feel. “They eat less because they feel full quicker,” says Schauer.

Two other commonly performed weight-loss procedures typically yield more dramatic results, but they’re also more invasive.

(MORE: Researchers Take a Closer Look at Weight-Loss Surgeries)

Gastric bypass involves stapling the upper stomach to fashion a small stomach pouch, decreasing its size from that of a football to a golf ball. A portion of the intestines is bypassed so fewer calories are absorbed. Another procedure, sleeve gastrectomy, makes the stomach smaller by removing the outer part and reducing the stomach pouch to the size of a banana.

For Christie — a public figure who didn’t have the luxury of down time — gastric band surgery was the most sensible choice. “He had to go back to work very fast. He was not going to take three or four days out of work for a bigger surgery,” says Dr. Alfonso Torquati, director of the Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery. Torquati, an associate professor of surgery at the Duke University School of Medicine, wasn’t involved in Christie’s surgery, but he was tickled to find his line of work garnering some national buzz on Tuesday. “Gastric band is usually a day surgery — they go in in the morning and a few hours they later they can be back answering e-mails and taking phone calls.”

Whether the surgery is working is a closely guarded secret, much like the fact that Christie had the operation in the first place. His office confirms that he checked into the hospital on Feb. 16, but there’s no official word on how much weight — if any — he’s lost so far. It does appear that food doesn’t hold the allure for Christie that it once did; he told the New York Post that his appetite isn’t what it used to be. “A week or two ago, I went to a steakhouse and ordered a steak and ate about a third of it and I was full,” he said.

Unnamed sources told the Post that Christie has dropped 40 lb. “That is definitely possible,” says Schauer.

Until the governor publicly hops on a scale, of course, we’ll just have to take his word for it.

MORE: Study of Weight-Loss Surgery Complications Revives a Question: Bypass or Banding?

26 comments
camerachic99
camerachic99

For instance, people who eaten "healthy" foods such while fruits, veggies, and whole grains ate 10 % more than people who ate "less healthy" foods such while fried chicken or even ice cream. And have this: People who ate foods that you just can't consume one at a time like pasta or applesauce ate three percent more from their plates in comparison with participants who consumed foods like cupcakes or carrot branches.

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TomSrLydecker
TomSrLydecker

I had it done in 2006 and loss over 270 lbs. within 8 month. its been over 7 years and still keep it off. tom lydecker sr.

AnnaMarieAvanesyan
AnnaMarieAvanesyan

The major issue here is that he didn't take the opportunity to address weight loss and weight concerns publicly. There are SO MANY people; over 40% of his own state; who are overweight or obese. Getting Americans healthy, active and eating well should be a topic that can get people, regardless of their political affiliation TOGETHER. What a missed opportunity - if he made a concerted effort to hit the gym and eat better and LEAD BY EXAMPLE he would have taken this "problem" and turned it into something wonderful both for himself, his constituents, and politically. I want the type of leader who leads by example, not takes the easy way out....and I too struggle with my weight...I would have liked to see someone in the public arena do something about it that was more then just slapping a band aide and moving on. 

Brian Mouland
Brian Mouland

At his weight his health was at risk if he dies it becomes a public story

thewholetruth
thewholetruth

I am so sorry that he did this, this is a horrible surgery that in my option should be banned 


The Lap-Band is a silicone ring surgically implanted around the stomach to discourage overeating. The surgeries, which often are covered by insurance for obese patients, can cost in the range of $12,000 to about $20,000 

Loss of life,blockage in kidneys and Gallstones can be caused, with a frequency of about 3% of patients. Other issues that may be serious including internal bleeding, and strictures - each issue usually occurs about 2% of patients. Other notable risks include: Infections, Gastrointestinal tract leak 

We are all insulin resistant today and this causes belly fat. Reverse insulin resistant cells and the weight comes off without surgery 
SEE Here  http://losingbellyweight.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/i-am-still-not-losing-belly-fat-see-why/

aklimento
aklimento

One more smart step on political scene of smart man who don't give a sheet to ideological differences when ordinary folk suffering. Sure he will succeed - again... But I'll miss old fat Christie. Can he even be better?

Glenn Few
Glenn Few

atkins works till you start eating carbs again, and I need to go back to the doc and do something

David Houghton
David Houghton

Apparently since now, judging by the other comments in this thread.

Sharon M Rybak
Sharon M Rybak

You need to be skinny to get approval?????? Since when?

Sharon M Rybak
Sharon M Rybak

Although he denies....I think they told him that 2014, is on THEIR radar!!

bobell
bobell

OT, but does anyone (other than me) remember Dan Aykroyd pitching the Super Bass-O-Matic in that fake commercial on SNL?  He's whip up some lliquid bass and hand it to Laraine Newman, who'd take a swig, smile at the camera, and say "Mmmm. That's good bass."

You are perhaps wondering why I bring this up.  The reason: The character portrayed by Ms. Newman in this little skit was named "Christy Christina."

Maybe it's not OT after all.

JessicaDontdronemeLeland
JessicaDontdronemeLeland

I wish the Governor the best of health and the best of luck with his new tool for living.  He's chosen the most advanced treatment available for his condition, and I hope it works out for him.

Arthur Hamlin
Arthur Hamlin

I wish him the best of luck. There is nothing wrong with choosing a safe option. I am sure he is also getting advice on diet and exercise. And he said he did this because his wife was worried about his health, not to get anyone's approval.

David Houghton
David Houghton

I think the real story is that a man has to undergo surgery to gain people's approval, and that nobody sees a problem with that.

Thomas Fox
Thomas Fox

How is this making the news. Who cares about politicians' personal lives? Crazy

Ivan Goldberg
Ivan Goldberg

" Quietly" ??? He used an assumed name! Yeah this guy should be President!

Glenn Few
Glenn Few

lap bands are a joke they don't work, had one complained after the first year that was always in pain only had restriction when I first started eating then a sharp shooting pain I feel the food slip right through. doc would put more fluid in I would be great for the first day then it was the same thing again. I finally just stopped going because he wouldn't listen to me, and no other doctor will touch me now because I had the band put in by someone else.

Vicky Cepeda
Vicky Cepeda

He took at first step,that's a start. He won't change his eating habits overnight but I am sure that he's being well advised by healthcare professionals. Again, he is heading in the right direction.

Elidet Bordon
Elidet Bordon

All he is doing is eating less. He should focus on eating right. I wish him luck, but being thin and being healthy are two different things.

PSmassage
PSmassage

@AnnaMarieAvanesyan 

I know someone that is obese and CONSTANTLY is  in denial. I have more respect for a person who says I have a problem rather than a person who says that it really isn't that bad. (Jesus came for the sick; not the well) 

Consider this:  perhaps CC >has< been struggely and has been dealing with his problem and came to the place that he knew he did need help in this area.  Now that's REALLY leading by example.  

If you were adicted to drugs and sought help in rehab, would you consider that "taking the easy way out"?  I think not.  

The fact that you struggle, and end up SEEKING help, makes you absolutely commendable in my book. 

bobell
bobell

Perhaps Gov. Christie has been drinking too much liquid bass.

bobell
bobell

At the risk of being serious, I wish Gov. Christie every success in losing weight. I've been fighting -- and losing -- the battle of the bulge for decades now; in fact, it's one of the main reasons I've never run for president.  It's damned tough.  For every Al Sharpton there are hundreds like me who have lost it and put it all back on.

So good luck, Chris.  Millions of us are rooting for you -- at least on that score.