What Weight Loss Surgery Helped Save Rosie O'Donnell's Life

Rosie-odonnell-weight loss LocateADocRosie O'Donnell is one of the most talented, funny, albeit most controversial characters on the small screen. She has been wildly successful with her Rosie O'Donnell Show and seemed to have it all -- ­a good marriage, money, fame, and a house full of cute kids.

However, after a very public on­ air battle with Donald Trump that seemed to go viral worldwide within minutes of its airing, a break up with her wife, and career stress on the show The View, Rosie O'Donnell seemed to hit a very low point in her life. In fact in August 2012, she suffered a massive heart attack which was nearly fatal.

It was found that her LAD, the left anterior descending artery in the heart which perfuses most of the heart with life sustaining blood, was 100 percent blocked. To add to the stress, Rosie waited over 48 hours to go to the hospital after which the doctors wondered how she had survived.

Not only did she survive, she has gone on to lose over 50 pounds. She has maintained her weight at around 180 pounds and is happy with the results. She has appeared on many shows such as Dr Oz, Extra TV, and other shows to talk about her weight­ loss surgery and its impact. In fact, she hosted a segment on The View with her doctor who performed the surgery in order to shed light on her surgery. It was not just a matter of losing weight to her. In fact, it was a choice for her to live.

The surgery that she had undergone is called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. The gastrectomy is a laparoscopic surgery which differs from gastric bypass as the weight loss is not as drastic. However, this type of weight loss is more than sufficient for many patients. This type of surgery is considered for those patients whose body mass index or BMI is greater than 40 who have not had success with weight loss methods on their own. It is also considered one of the safer methods of bariatric surgery as compared to lap band and gastric bypass.

During the surgery, a tiny camera is placed within the stomach which is connected to a video monitor in the operating room enabling the surgeon to see into the stomach and operate accordingly. The surgeon removes 80 percent of the stomach and staples the rest of it together.

Curiously enough, the part that was removed is responsible for the hormones which cause hunger, thus causing less cravings. This process does not hinder that stomach sphincter in any way. Rather, it allows food to pass normally into the stomach but in very small quantities.

Usually, the patient starts getting prepared for the surgery well in advance. They are told what to expect during surgery, given nutritional counseling, given a complete physical with lab work, and even given psychological counseling in order to prepare for the upcoming surgery.

In addition, the gall bladder is completely checked in order to make sure that the body is actually ready for surgery. Some patients need extra psychological counseling because the process does not end when the surgery is finished. In fact, a complete lifestyle overhaul must be undertaken in order to ensure weight loss.

Before the surgery, the patient goes under anesthesia and is prepped for the procedure. After the procedure, the patient is usually released after 48 hours. This is when the work really begins. The patient must adhere to a very strict diet which monitors the quantity of food that they may safely consume. In addition, lifestyle modifications such as regular exercise and other healthy habits must be put in place in order to generate and sustain safe weight loss. For a while after the surgery, the patient is allowed only soft food and liquids while the stomach heals.

Gradually, other foods may be added in as the stomach continues to heal. When asked about how she feels after surgery, Rosie stated that she wishes she would have done this 10 years earlier. She also maintains a much more active lifestyle and is consciously looking after health.

In addition, she realizes even more how much of a responsibility she has to maintain her health not only for herself, but for her kids as well. She is one of the lucky ones who very narrowly escaped death. With her new lease on life, the sky is the limit for what Rosie can achieve in the future.

To find more information on weight loss surgery and sleeve gastrectomy, find a doctor in your area and get a consultation to learn more or pose a question to one of our ask a doctor panel of experts.



Further Reading

  • Research indicates a genetic connection to excessive levels of a hunger producing hormone; information that may help determine the best procedure for an individual patient

  • Motivated by his wife and kids, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who once called himself “the healthiest fat guy you’ve ever seen”, disclosed Tuesday he secretly underwent Gastric Banding (Lap Band Surgery) on February 16, 2013, performed by Dr. George Fielding, head of NYU Medical Center’s Weight Management Program.

  • The Kardashian sisters are no stranger to cosmetic surgery and it is no surprise that brother Rob has been influenced. Radar Online reported an insider of the National Enquirer quoted, “Rob was complaining about his face drooping and that he’s starting to look old”. It seems his sister Kim was the push and shove he needed. “Kim told him to stop whining and put his money where his mouth is. She turned him on to her trusted plastic surgeon and convinced him to go for a Botox treatment. Rob was all for it and made an appointment right away."