Web site helps patients keep weight off

April 17, 2009 11:03:55 AM PDT
It can be a real battle to lose weight. Now more people are choosing surgery to accomplish that goal. And you now have choices when it comes to the aggressiveness of the procedures. One bariatric surgery comes with its own website. Some patients believe having this new web support will help them lose more weight.

"It's personalized just for you and it helps you track your measurements your weight, "said Becky Anton who uses gastric site.

Anton isn't surfing the web, she's working to lose weight.

"You can put your current weight in here and what your goal weight would be," said Becky.

Her body morph from what today to what she'll look like when she loses 100 pounds and that is what keeps her going. But she decided to have the surgery because she feared esophageal cancer.

"I had suffered years from reflux and they found something called Barrett's precancerous cells and that is what sealed it for me," she said.

Becky got the Realize gastric band on January 2nd. She's lost 24 pounds. She checks in on the website which tracks her weight and answers questions.

"Instead of calling the doctor's office over and over again you can log onto the website," she said.

"It's like they have a little Dr. Wilson sitting on their shoulder all the time," said Dr. Erik Wilson with the UT Houston Surgeons.

The website tattles if she doesn't lose enough. If she can't keep food down, it alerts the doctor.

"They're getting good feedback. All the time on how they're eating what they need to focus on, what they're strengths are about how they eat what their strengths are about their exercise and what their weaknesses are. What are their temptations," said Dr. Wilson.

The UT Bariatric team uses the web information to decide when and how much to tighten the band. They tighten it by injecting saline through a port below the skin. That makes the stomach pouch smaller.

"It gives them almost an ego booster and as they see their weight drop it really is beneficial because they can see that," said Connie Klein with the UH Houston Bariatric Program.

Becky says she feels accountable to the website and that she says helps her during the tough times.

Gastric bypass patients lose weight more quickly than people who choose gastric band surgery. But gastric bypass is a more aggressive procedure.

The gastric lap band is an easier surgery, often done as an outpatient. Doctors think the website may help people with the band speed up their weight loss.

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Christi Myers is ABC13's Healthcheck reporter


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