Chris Christie got lap band surgery to facilitate weight loss in America's roundest governor. Lap band surgery is a procedure in which a band is wrapped around the top part of the stomach to tighten it, slow down digestion and make the patient feel full from less food.
Chris Christie, Republican Governor of New Jersey, has had some well-documented struggles with weight loss, and elected to get lap band surgery. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons
Chris Christie of New Jersey, America's roundest governor, got lap band surgery to facilitate weight loss. Lap band surgery is a procedure in which a band is wrapped around the top part of the stomach to tighten it, slow down digestion and make the patient feel full from less food.
“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,” Christie told the New York Post.
Christie said that this was not about his political career or even himself: it was about staying healthy to be a father for his four kids. That's a good thing for a politician to say, but it's also what any good parent would say, and mean. And, of course, it's good that Governor Christie is taking his health issues seriously, both for his own sake and the people he influences by being a public figure.
Here's the only issue for observers to consider with this: lap band surgery itself. Lap band surgery has some sketchy publicity: most people know about it from commercials that make outlandish claims, broadcast at times when advertising is cheap. That in itself is not a reason to disavow the efficacy of lap band surgery, but it is a reason to look into it further.
As a relatively new procedure, there aren't too many long-term studies on lap band surgery, but what research there is casts serious doubts on whether lap band is a good idea.
A study published in 2006
in the journal Obesity Surgery showed that over a seven year period, lap band surgery had over a 40% fail rate, with failing defined as needing additional surgery to remove or replace the band failure to remove more than a quarter of excess weight.
"Only about 60% of the patients without major complication maintain an acceptable EWL [excess weight loss] in the long term," the study concludes. "With a nearly 40% 5-year failure rate, and a 43% 7-year success rate (EWL >50%), LGB should no longer be considered as the procedure of choice for obesity."
a more recent study
had better results: 8.5% developed complications, and patients lost about half of their excess weight after five years, on average. 8.5% is still high, but a significant drop. Given the potential complications associated with Christie's weight, perhaps lap band is a good way to go.
The most important question we should ask Christie about this is: was his decision to get lap band surgery informed by studies like these or by late night commercials? That's something I want to know if Christie is serious about running for president.