Terry's Second Time at Bariatric Surgery was the Charm for Lasting Weight Loss
Hair stylist Terry Ellis’ weight struggles started in college.
“As a kid I was always bigger,” he said. “But, I was athletic, too, so my weight was under control. When I got to college, I stopped playing sports and started gaining weight.”
By his mid-20s, Terry weighed 478 pounds. “I tried different diets on my own but I couldn’t lose the weight,” he acknowledges. Terry decided to try bariatric surgery, which The National Institutes of Health recognizes as the only effective treatment to combat severe obesity (body mass index greater than 35) and maintain weight loss in the long term.
Terry’s first bariatric surgery came with a caveat, but no regrets
In 2014, at age 26, Terry had his first surgery with Virtua Health bariatric surgeon Samuel Wasser, MD, who performed a sleeve gastrectomy—a procedure that reduces the stomach to about 15 percent of its original size.
Terry had a significant amount of weight to lose. Therefore, Dr. Wasser informed him that the surgery likely would result in only partial weight loss and that he probably would need a second surgery later.
Despite this information, Terry wanted to move ahead, and said he has no regrets. “It was the best decision I ever made,” he said.
After the sleeve gastrectomy, Terry lost 180 pounds, dropping to 298 pounds, but over time, he regained some of the weight and by February 2017 his weight was back up to 364 pounds. In addition to being overweight, Terry had other health issues including unbearable hip pain.
How Terry’s hip led him down the path to his second bariatric surgery
When he was a child, Terry had a pin placed in his hip. As a result, he developed arthritis and needed a hip replacement to relieve the pain, but an orthopedic surgeon told him that he needed to lose 150 pounds before he could do the hip-replacement surgery.
“I lost 25 pounds on my own,” said Terry. “But I needed help to lose the rest of the weight. I knew it was time to go back to Dr. Wasser at Virtua.”
SADI-S, the new procedure that offered Terry hope for pain-free living
Dr. Wasser told Terry that he was a candidate for SADI-S, also known as loop duodenal switch. This newer minimally invasive procedure offers exceptional weight-loss results for people who meet the following criteria:
- BMI of more than 50 that puts you at high risk for other obesity-related diseases like type-2 diabetes or heart disease
- BMI of 35-49 AND type-2 diabetes, heart disease or metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and increased fat around your waistline)
- Had a sleeve gastrectomy and didn’t achieve or maintain your weight-loss goal
SADI-S is a two-step procedure that includes two separate surgeries scheduled a few months apart. First, a sleeve gastrectomy removes about 80% of the stomach to restrict the amount of food you can eat. After about six months, a malabsorption surgery, called an intestinal bypass, completes the process. This procedure bypasses all but 300 centimeters (10 feet) of your small intestine and strictly limits the amount of calories and nutrients you can absorb from food.
“I was committed to losing the weight, so I agreed to the dietary changes that were required to have the intestinal bypass,” said Terry. These changes included following specific diet levels provided by the bariatric surgery team—starting from an all-liquid diet and eventually moving to soft foods. Terry also needed to stay well hydrated and get adequate amounts of nutrients, as well as take daily vitamin and protein supplements for the rest of his life.
Terry completed his second weight-loss surgery in August 2017 and three months later, he had lost enough weight to have his hip replacement.
Terry is a new man after his second bariatric surgery
At the time of Terry’s second weight-loss surgery, he was 341 pounds. Today, he’s 275.
“It’s been a big year for me—and I feel great,” Terry said. “My hip feels good so I’m exercising again, and that’s helping me continue to lose weight.” In addition to exercising regularly, Terry also is avoiding fat and carbs, as instructed. “My dietitian has helped me stick to the strict diet that comes with this surgery,” he noted.
Terry’s salon clients have had his back through his whole weight-loss journey. “I had to work in pain for two years, and now I can move around comfortably,” Terry said. “They’re happy I’m not in pain anymore.”
Inspired by his weight-loss success, three of Terry’s clients also have had surgery with Dr. Wasser. “I know people who had bariatric surgery other places who didn’t have the same results,” Terry said. “I tell people that you need to have an experienced bariatric surgeon and the right support.”
SADI-S is a newer procedure, and Terry was one of the first patients at Virtua to have it. He said he’s grateful that this option was available to him, since his first surgery wasn’t enough to get him to his goal weight of 230 - 250 pounds. “I’m optimistic that I will get there soon,” he said.
A story of success and hope
When Terry hits his goal weight, one of his rewards will be more clothing options. “With my background in fashion, I want to fit in designer styles,” he said.
But more than anything, Terry said he’s looking forward to going to amusement parks. “I love rollercoasters, and I had to stop going on them because of my weight.”
His next stop—feeling like his best self while riding the biggest, scariest rollercoaster he can find.
Why choose Virtua for bariatric surgery?
Virtua is nationally accredited as a Comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation Quality Improvement Program. Our bariatric surgeons are dedicated to providing the best possible care and life-lasting results.
Additionally, Virtua is one of the only hospitals in the area to perform the SADI-S procedure laparoscopically, using several small incisions instead of one large incision in your abdomen. This type of minimally invasive surgery means less blood loss, scarring and pain, and a shorter recovery time when compared to traditional open surgery.
Updated December 12, 2019