Book Review

Don’t read The Patient’s Guide to Weight Loss Surgery: Everything You Need to Know About Gastric Bypass & Bariatric Surgery unless you’re feeling brave. Very brave. April Hochstrasser doesn’t hold anything back and, if you weren’t scared about surgery before reading, you will be once you’re done.

That said, I loved this book. I feel like it’s the first book that attempts to educate me in a realistic way (whether I like the information or not) rather than trying to “market” a WLS text to me. I particularly enjoyed the first section on obesity in general: its (unknown) causes, the complications, the reality of dieting, etc.

Certain sentences stick out as somewhat far-fetched and irrelevant to readers, such as the statement that, “Within a few years there may be a gene therapy or a drug that will make [WLS] procedures obsolete” (Hochstrasser). Well, that’s nice, but it has nothing to do with me right now.

The section on risks of weight loss surgery has me shaking in my boots. Now, some risks are familiar to us all (hair loss, vitamin & mineral deficiencies, blood clots) but now I have entirely new things to worry about, such as:

  • an overwhelming, sudden, death-causing reaction to anesthesia
  • anesthesia overdose
  • deep abdominal infections
  • leaking stomach acid, bacteria, and digestive enzymes into my abdominal cavity
  • bowel obstruction (um, ow!)
  • limb loss (??)
  • hepatitis and AIDS from blood transfusions (omigod, SERIOUSLY?!)

As you can see, this is no light-hearted look at the “transforming wonderment” of weight loss surgery. It’s serious, it’s heavy, it’s scary, and it’s totally necessary.

Two scared, trembling thumbs up.

b.jpg ISBN: 1-57826-165-1

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One Response

  1. WOW! I’m glad I didn’t get that book – I had enough problems reading Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies… it actually scared the crap out of me before my surgery – but I came through it all fine, and to date – I’ve had NONE of the problems the book told me that I’d have.

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