Angela Chouaib, MD and founder of Secret Surgery Ltd., has recently been had an exclusive interview with Business Traveller – and in it, she told the story of how Secret Surgery began. It’s one that should interest all of our readers, since Angela began her story just like most of you – unhappy and looking for somewhere to have high-quality, affordable surgery. Want to know how she turned this into the opportunity of a lifetime? Read on to find out…
“My name is Angela Chouaib. In 2009 I was in the same position as many others are now – trawling the internet, leafing through piles of medical marketing literature and altogether overwhelmed by the options available to a woman considering cosmetic surgery. Surely there was an easier way? I remember asking myself.
My frustration was compounded by more than just the search for a perfect plastic surgeon. Having shed 10 stone through weight-loss surgery, I now had to face the long wait until I’d ascended the NHS waiting list. The length of time I would have to wait would be two years. I needed an alternative solution. There were so many factors that I had to take into consideration in making a decision, from the cost of the procedure to the safety, skill and reputation of the surgeon.
In April 2010 I flew from the UK, to have my long awaited tummy tuck. Any previous reservations I had were unfounded – not only was the customer care exemplary, but the treatment exceeded all my expectations! I returned a short time later for a breast reduction and uplift and Vaser Liposuction to reshape my thighs.
When I returned home from my second procedure, I couldn’t help but feel the hospital and surgeon deserved more recognition. Back in the UK people were paying exorbitant rates for treatments they could receive in Poland for a fraction of the fees, and with the same level of expertise, safety, and professionalism as was offered in the UK.
My life changing and positive experience of elective cosmetic surgery in Poland was to be the proud banner I would wave for other women researching safe, overseas cosmetic surgery options, after all I learnt in the process of my extensive research that choice is something we should be entitled to as long as it is always a safe well informed one.
I spoke about my experience very positively in many forums, groups, and mediums; I soon became an information point for other women considering their options, by speaking truthfully I removed the stigma associated with overseas cosmetic surgery, and dispelled the myths that circulated in the press and media. It was at this time with great passion, enthusiasm and belief, and as a result of my own journey of transformation that Secret Surgery Ltd was born.
Since the beginning of my venture, I have created strong links with surgeons the length and breadth of Europe. I have set up support groups here in the UK to allow people to meet face to face or online to discuss concerns, I have sourced fully qualified practitioners at the forefront of their profession, and accommodated the needs of clients looking for the right procedure and surgeon to achieve their personal objectives – just as I was looking for, several years ago.”
How did you get introduced to Secret Surgery? I first met Angela at her gastric & plastic support group when I went with my partner Elaine who was completing her journey by having a tummy tuck, we discussed gastric wrap that week & I thought to myself – I want and desperately need that! A friend was travelling out to Prague so I eagerly followed her journey & wonderful weight loss so I set to hard saving. In October 2012 I managed to book my surgery for 15th January 2013 – a new start for a new year! I couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over so I could start my pre-op diet on 1st January.
What happened nearer the time of your surgery? 1st January arrived & I started on my diet of soup & yoghurt which I found surprisingly easy but I did suffer with ketosis, mainly smelly breath. Finally we’re on our way on 14th January but it decided to snow at Gatwick but there was no hiccups and we arrived in Prague at lunch-time.
How was your arrival? We were met by Paul who took us to the clinic, he has limited English. When we got to the clinic we were met by Tina who checked us into our apartment which was very comfortable, she answered any questions and showed us where our surgery buddies were. Once we were all unpacked we headed into town on a tram and the underground, we found Tesco which was great as our companions got their provisions, this was lucky as we found out the restaurant on site shut at the weekend. I had most of my pre-op checks (BP, Temp, urine, ECG, weight, peak flow, MRSA check, bloods).
How did the surgery itself go? On the morning of surgery I was up early in the shower eager to meet Tina at 7am, we went through paperwork & signed consent form, had a group consultation with Prof Fried as there was four of us having surgery that day and one the day after, seen by general Dr, psychologist, and then had ultrasound scan and also had gastroscopy, this wasn’t a nice procedure but is necessary & doesn’t take long. I was then taken to my room which you share & there is an en-suite bathroom between 2 rooms. I was given a gown & sexy white stockings, given pre med medications & within minutes pushed into theatre, Elaine was told I would be back in 4 hours. All the theatre staff were extremely friendly with ok english, I was set up in theatre & the next thing I knew I was chatting to a lovely male nurse in recovery, I always chat in recovery. I was back in my room in 2 hours!
Great! And what about post-op? My recovery went really smoothly, in the evening i was allowed to suck on a ice cube which was great, the following day I was allowed fruit tea & broth. The following morning I was given tiny balls from 2 capsules but I really struggled to swallow these as took too much water & was promptly sick, I spoke to the Dr’s & Prof Fried & he said I could take them whole but to take them slowly. The nursing staff were really nice but some of their English was difficult but they understand sign language. Later on this day I was discharged to our apartment which was lovely. I slept loads in the apartment, it was so cosy. The clinic was very clean & 4* standard.
That’s excellent. Would you recommend your experience? My overall experience was very good & would recommend this weight loss procedure to anyone struggling, I’ve lost 2st 13lb since 1st January & feel so so much better. I’m on my journey to a healthier, happy life.
Gastric surgery is without a doubt one of the most popular surgeries we perform. The greatest risks of the gastric surgery come from not following the diet properly. If you eat too much or eat food that you shouldn’t, you could have complications. Here’s a countdown of the six things that could happen to you if you don’t follow the rules!
- Dumping syndrome. This complication occurs most often after eating foods high in sugar or fat. These foods travel quickly through your stomach pouch and “dump” into your intestine. Dumping syndrome can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating and eventually diarrhea.
- Dehydration. Because you’re not supposed to drink fluids with your meals, some people become dehydrated. You can prevent dehydration by sipping 48 to 64 ounces (1.4 to 1.9 liters) of water or other low-calorie beverages throughout the day.
- Nausea and vomiting. If you eat too much, eat too fast or don’t chew your food adequately, you may become nauseated or vomit after meals.
- Constipation. If you don’t follow a regular schedule for eating your meals, don’t eat enough fiber or don’t exercise, you may become constipated.
- Blocked opening of your stomach pouch. It’s possible for food to become lodged at the opening of your stomach pouch, even if you carefully follow the diet. Signs and symptoms of a blocked stomach opening include ongoing nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Call your doctor if you have these symptoms for more than two days.
- Weight gain or failure to lose weight. If you continue to gain weight or fail to lose weight on the gastric diet, it’s possible you could be eating too many calories. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about changes you can make to your diet.
If you have had gastric surgery and you’re experiencing any of these problems, talk to your nurse or doctor straight away – the good news is that sorting out your diet should help to fix most of these problems!
As part of our ‘Under the Skin of Secret Surgery’ series, we’ve got Professor Fried is with us today to tell us all about his own thoughts on work, life, and… everything else! Lots of our past patients will already have met the lovely Professor Fried, our bariatric surgeon and expert, but if you haven’t had the chance yet… here he is!
What’s the biggest challenge in your job?
There are several big and important challenges in my work. One of the most important is to always remember my credo, which means to perform surgeries in the safest possible and optimal way for the patient. To be able to fulfil this credo my work necessitates continuous concentration on what I am doing in the OR as well as to stay up-to-date in my professional education.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part is to see and to talk to a satisfied client/patient at the end of his hospital stay and to hear from him that he would chose the surgical care in our hospital again.
Do you have a favourite procedure to perform?
Generally, I am fond of laparoscopic (key hole), minimally invasive surgeries. From obesity surgery/bariatric point of view my favorite procedure is gastric plication (wrap), however each and every bariatric procedure is very interesting and nice to perform. As I am in favour of surgical treatment of type 2 diabetes, I consider so called metabolic surgery (treating some of the metabolic comorbidities of obesity through surgical operation) as indeed interesting.
If you hadn’t become a surgeon, what do you think you would have been?
A lawyer or writer.
If you were going to treat yourself to some surgery, what would you get done?
If surgical treatment of obesity would be of consideration, than my choice would depend on my overal health condition. If, for example, I would have been obese diabetic dependent on high doses of insulin, suffering from the disease for many years, I would go for the BPD. On the other hand, in case I would be an obese patient with a mild degree of diabetes (on medical treatment, or on lower doses of insulin), I would chose between gastric band and gastric plication. However, I would very seriously listen to the team of experts whom I would go to and ask for their opinion on the best treatment/surgery for me. So, the overall conclusion is that there´s no ideal one type of surgery which would fit all patients, and choice of the best surgical treatment depends on the actual health status of each individual.
What do you do to relax after a long day?
Walking in the countryside and having a glass of good wine after such a walk.
Today, Rachel from Wolverhampton is here to tell us about the rollercoaster ride she’s gone through in losing ten stone and finding herself again after many years! How did her experience with Secret Surgery go, and – will she be coming back?
Tell us how it all started? At a fraction under 22 stone and only 35 years old, I was miserable. I had two herniated discs in my spine, I could barely stand… even walking around the supermarket was just too painful. It wasn’t a life – I had to do something about it, so in April 2011, I had a Gastric Bypass, and it was the start of my new life.
And then what happened? Fast forward 18 months, I’m 10 stone lighter, much healthier, but stuck in what can only be described as a deflated, wrinkly old fat suit. I still felt ugly, and ashamed, and I knew what needed to be done, so I started looking for surgeons on the internet… this is where I found Angela and Secret Surgery.
Great – did you find our Facebook group? I joined the Facebook group, which I have to say, is one of the best things ever. I had the chance to talk to other ladies, and even some men who had the procedures I was interested in. I looked at the amazing results they were getting and I knew it was the right decision to make, so I sent my photos, explained what I wanted to be done, got my report back, and booked. From start to finish it was all so easy, not having to worry about a single thing, other than getting to the airport on time. Everything is done for you – flights, accommodation, transfers… the most stressful thing is working out what to pack!
And you liked the staff, didn’t you? Jack, the lovely taxi driver, is great, and so helpful. The beautiful Aga can’t do enough to help, and Dr W is a genius also, very funny and approachable, which is something you don’t get with a lot of surgeons!
But what of the hospital? The hospital is lovely, small enough that you don’t feel lost, and very very clean. The only thing I will do differently is bring my own food to the hospital next time – they don’t seem to understand breakfast, and I for one can’t do bread, cheese and tomato first thing in the morning!
And the accommodation? The apartments are lovely, light airy, and comfortable, close to the town, and ideal for Tesco, which is just a 10 minute walk up the road, great for some light exercise after surgery.
Fantastic! Any final comments? My results are amazing and I couldn’t be happier. I am happy and more confident, something which I haven’t been in years, and it has given me the boost I need to have further surgeries to fix the problems associated with huge weight loss. I really cannot recommend Secret Surgery enough, I tell everyone who will listen…I cannot wait to head back in March for my next two procedures!
You might remember that we recently had Sara Bouamra – a Weight Loss Life Coach – in to tell us all about her job, and why it’s so important for people to get the support and coaching they need. Well, today, she’s here to tell us about the goals and benefits of weight loss coaching. You might think it’s easy without a coach – and for some people, it may well be – but for most of us, that little bit of extra support can go a long way.
Want to know what Sara considers to be the best bits of her work for you? Here they are:
- Better self care and stress management
- Develop an action plan to lose weight and get fit!
- Reconnect with your feelings, body, hopes, and dreams
- Develop a healthier relationship with food, as well as life itself
- Learn self-forgiveness and loving- kindness
- Eliminate black and white thinking, perfectionism, and other thinking distortions
- Release self defeating patterns around food and weight
- Develop a deeper connection to your inner wisdom
- Improved body image
- Awaken to your real life
- Recover your joy!
- Learn to let go of the past and forgive!
If any of these things sound like something you need help in achieving, then don’t hesitate to contact us or Sara – because she is there to help!
Sara Bouamra is a weight loss coach and Patient Care Manager with Secret Surgery, and she’s offering our readers an exclusive guide to achieving those long-sought weight loss goals. As a trainer, Sara knows that we can all do it if we put our minds to it – and here’s how.
It is time to overcome the self-sabotage that’s been holding you back from your weight loss goals and achieve the body you deserve.
My aim as your Weight Loss Life Coach is to help you get off the dieting roller coaster, so that you may break free of your emotional eating patterns. I can help you find new ways of being in the world that support your spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health. Yes your Gastric Surgery has put a large FULL STOP to the ability to overeat – but the reasons why you overate are still there! This is why Secret Surgery Patients have sustainable results – because we give you the support you need after the surgery as well as before.
Emotional eating is the number one cause of obesity. Emotional eating is any eating that is done other than to satisfy hunger. It is the reason why diet and exercise programs continually fail. I have found that people who struggle with food and emotional eating are released from that prison once they learn the skills of mindful awareness and mindful eating, emotional self-nurturing and learning to set appropriate limits and goals. This turns off the urge to overeat and engage in other compulsive behaviors. When you feel better, you eat better! I have walked this path myself, and it has led me to inner peace and emotional eating freedom.
Learning to deal with the situations that make you emotional and control them can be daunting, but each coaching session will be aimed at resolving your issues and teaching you how to cope.
Remember that you are not alone in your journey, everyone of the staff at Secret Surgery have walked a mile in your shoes. We all understand the overwhelming urge to turn to comfort food when faced with emotional situations, our online support group is there for that purpose, there is always someone online to offer assistance and I am just at the end of the phone to help you.
Has Sara given you the confidence boost you needed? To take the next step and receive a FREE personalised info pack and quote please visit www.SecretSurgery.co.uk or call 0843 289 4 982 or email Info@SecretSurgery.co.uk
Bariatric surgery – also called weight loss surgery – isn’t as easy as it’s always made out to be. It’s not an ‘easy’ route to weight loss; it’s actually very tough, and it comes with a whole loads of risks. If you’re not fully aware of what you’re risking by undergoing bariatric surgery, then you really shouldn’t be doing it.
These complications can occur in just about any bariatric surgery – we can’t second-guess whether it will or won’t happen, and it’s nothing to do with sloppy surgery; sometimes, things just don’t turn out the way we hope. This isn’t supposed to put you off surgery, but we do want all of our patients to be fully aware of the risks they’re accepting when they choose a procedure.
Risks and complications of bariatric surgery include:
- Death – not to start you off on a downer…
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Gastrointestinal Tract Leak
- Conversion to Open Procedure
- Bowel Obstruction
- Low Blood Sugars (Hypoglycemia)
- Kidney Problems
There are many more, some of which are associated with the problems your body might have when it starts taking in much less food after surgery than it did before. Some of these risks – like infections – come with just about every surgery under the sun, and some are specific to bariatric surgery.
This isn’t to say that the surgery is dangerous; if that were the case, it wouldn’t be approved! Most people come out of bariatric surgery absolutely fine, with a bright new future ahead of them. However, it’s a big, life-changing surgery – and we’d be lying if we didn’t tell you the risks.
Hi! It’s Angela here – and I’ve got a very special milestone to share with you all. Four years ago this month I weighed in at 20 stone and was extremely unhappy and unhealthy. I knew that 2009 was the year I had to start a new chapter and take care of myself and with the help of Mr Marcus Reddy (Bariatric Surgeon) in London I had an RNY gastric bypass and this gave me a 2nd chance at living a healthier happier life. I grabbed this opportunity with both hands and lost 10 stone in 10 months and have maintained a normal BMI ever since.
I was then lett in a deflated fat suit and once again took the opportunity to have my re-constructive plastic surgery in Wroclaw in with Dr Wojciech Waclawowicz 2010 and this really was the icing on the cake. I was the happiest I could ever remember being… My kids had their fun, loving mummy back and my husband had a new and improved sexier wife too!
After achieving everything that I have I felt that if I could help one other person feel as fabulous as I do then I must help them and Secret Surgery Ltd was founded in November 2010.
As well as helping my own clients I now help patients of surgeons from around the world (including UK) who dont have anywhere to turn and have no moral/emotional support and this is what I enjoy doing most. I hope I can continue to make a positive difference to other people lives in 2013….
I’m so blessed to be able to help others and want to say the hugest thanks to everyone that I call my friend for being there and supporting me throughout my journey and helping me be the person I am today… Much love, Angela xxxx
And here are some comments from my friends and colleagues…
Angie Matthews: Its hard to believe you are the same person as the first pic. Happy oppiversary, and congratulations on all you have achieved. Secret surgery is now helping people whose shoes you were once in, and that makes it extra special x
Rebekah Woodcraft: You look amazing great advert for secret surgery, well done xxxx
Suzie Marie Fitzhugh: U’ve done gr8 and look so amazing and u r a beautiful person inside and out xxxx
Clare-Louise Cuppy Saville: Simply Amazing! Congratulations on your 4th anniversary, you are an inspiration and mentor to us all,
Trayc Imagestylist Randall: Happy 4th birthday you truly are a walking advert for your business and you look totally amazing XX well
Mandi Allen: Happy oppiversary to you xx you are an inspiration. Thank you for your support x
Elaine Hill: Happy 4th birthday darling, its because of you smiling that has made many other women and men walk around with a smile, you are an amazing lady with a heart of gold. Xxx
Melanie Stewart: Well Done Angela x wow what a transformation and a great acheivement in just 4 years x and i am one of the people u have helped ive lost 2stone 4lbs since beginning of November and i cant thank u all at Secret Surgery enough. Without ur help i would never of been able to turn my life around into the right direction as that is certainly where im heading after i had my wrap x x x x THANK YOU x x and WELL DONE U!!!! My weightloss results are just AMAZING x every ‘weigh in’ is so exciting i have lost every time x x never has that happened in my life x x x
Jane Newcastle: The biggest congratulations for achieving your healthy BMI so quickly but more than that for maintaining ever since, your determination to hold onto to the new life was my inspiration and I’m still hoping to be able to get there myself! xx
Debbie Cressey: You have achieved so much Angela! I’m glad to have you as a friend to inspire me too x
If there are any ladies – or lads – out there thinking about undergoing a gastric wrap, then you’re in luck! One of our past patients, the mysterious Miss H, is here to tell us all about her experiences with a gastric wrap at Secret Surgery.
What made you think of cosmetic surgery? “After years of being overweight and trying and failing on every diet possible, I had begun to get really despondent and almost to the point of giving up. I had never considered surgery but things were getting desperate. I knew that a girl at my work had had the gastric wrap and have watched her slim down and grow in confidence. I had a chat with her and she recommended Secret Surgery and told me to give Angela a call.”
Wow! And how did that proceed? “After a couple of emails and calls from Secret Surgery I decided it was right for me, deposit was paid and all arrangements made. More importantly, I’d been matched up with a surgery buddy to accompany me to Prague. I also had Patricia from Secret Surgery as my contact and was encouraged to call her if i had any questions or worries. Unfortunately my surgery buddy had to postpone her surgery so I arrived in Prague feeling a little like a fish out of water!”
Oh no; and what about when you got to Poland? “I was taken by the driver to the clinic and met by Brooke, who showed me to me apartment. Apartment was lovely, I even had two toilets, guess you can never have too many!! I was told I would be met the following morning at 7am for the big day! Only I felt so chilled in my lovely apartment bed that I nearly overslept, had to rush round getting ready so no time for nerves!!”
Did you get to meet the surgeons? “The representative Tina met me and took me down to the clinic, nerves started kicking in but Tina was lovely and put my mind at rest. I then had various tests and discussions with medical staff, I was impressed at how thorough the pre-op tests were even down to the psychiatric consultation.”
And what about the surgery itself? “I went to my hospital room had my pre-op meds and then laughed uncontrollably while 2 nurses tried to get my surgical stockings up my legs. Although their English was not perfect, they made me feel at ease. Then they wheeled me off to the theatre… I woke up back in my hospital room, feeling surprisingly good.”
Great! But what about after the surgery – the recovery time? “I was checked regularly and drifted in and out of sleep. I got up to go to the toilet and couldn’t believe I hard no pain. I had a good night and the next day the liquids started, I must admit I did have more nausea than I expected, however the staff were amazing what with the nurses and regular checks from the surgeons. I was discharged back to my room on Wednesday afternoon, however I spent the night in my apartment room being sick. I rang Tina and spoke to the nurses saying they would get me to see surgeon in the morning.”
And what happened on Thursday? “On Thursday morning I was seen and readmitted to the clinic, and I was their only patient! I got one to one treatment, which was amazing. My nausea continued until Friday morning but by Friday lunchtime it stopped, and Dr Fried felt OK to discharge me.”
Did you feel that going abroad for surgery was a good idea? “I would just like to say that although I was a lot more sick than I anticipated the level of care I received in the clinic in Prague was second to none, I have had quite a lot of knee surgery privately in this country and there was no difference, if anything I got better treatment over there. I was initially worried about the language problems as some staff were more fluent in English than others, however I would see the same staff and had a good laugh with them as felt quite sad to leave them at the end of the week, along with Tina they had become my family over there!”
Great! And how have things been since coming home? “So here I am, back in the UK already, feeling slimmer with the neatest incisions ever! I would just like to thank Angela and all at Secret Surgery – I never once doubted the professionalism but also felt that I could ask any questions and always got speedy answers.”
Any last thoughts? “I still wish I could have been out there with my surgery buddy that was one thing that really appealed and think that it is great for the company to put you together with someone else in the same boat, so although we didn’t travel together I still have my buddy to share our experience back here. So in a nutshell, I would like to thank Angela and Secret Surgery for all the professionalism and support I have received and I know this will continue in my onward journey! I would recommend this life changing experience to anyone.”
A few weeks ago, we posted a blog which stated that you should always make sure you’re choosing cosmetic surgery for the right reasons; while we didn’t have time there to elucidate exactly what those reasons are – we do here!
Cosmetic surgery, like any other kind of surgery, is… well, kind of a big thing. You don’t just impulse buy a cosmetic surgery operation along with your copy of OK! Magazine and a bar of Cadbury Bubbles. You’ve got to make sure it’s the right decision for you, and one of the best ways to do that is to think about why you want it.
1. I want to feel more confident about myself.
Hardly a rarity, wanting to improve self esteem and confidence is one of the biggest reasons why anyone considers plastic surgery – and it’s not a bad one. As long as you’re doing it for you – for your own self confidence – and not for someone else, there’s no better reason to take the plunge.
2. I’ve been thinking about this for years.
We often see patients who have been wanting cosmetic surgery for years and years, but for whatever reason have only just been able to actually take action in getting it. If it’s been on your mind for a while, it means you’re not simply acting on impulse – another very good sign.
3. I need this for my health.
Some cosmetic surgeries – like weight loss surgery, in particular – can also have very good impacts on your health, too. If one of the primary reasons you’re considering surgery is to keep your health in good check, then you’ve got your priorities in the right place.
4. I’ve never felt more ready.
Even when you’re choosing surgery for the right reasons, there are a couple of other things you need to make sure you’ve got covered, too. One of these is feeling ‘ready’; surgery can be an overwhelming and intimidating experience, and you need to be sure that you’re completely up for it before you go under the knife.
5. I trust my doctor completely.
Once you know you want surgery, it’s important to find a clinic – with a doctor and surgeon – that you trust. Shop around, talk to different people, do your research – and hopefully, you’ll find someone that you feel you can trust your life with.
At Secret Surgery, we pride ourselves on honesty and great communication; after all, it’s what you ladies really want that matters, right? We know that cold salesmanship isn’t what’s needed in this industry, and we’re here to help you to make the best decisions you can – even if it means that deciding surgery isn’t for you.
That’s why, today, it’s time to debunk some myths about liposuction. Too many people are under the impression that liposuction is something it isn’t: that is, a cheap route to a thin bikini body. Well, here’s the big reveal: hat’s not how it works, and it’s not really what liposuction is for.
Losing weight is hard, and it’s no wonder that people will look for an easy option; nobody ever said it was easy. Unfortunately, liposuction won’t help you to lose a large amount of weight; in fact, there are limits on how much fat can be removed, and it isn’t that much.
So, what is liposuction for? It’s really just the icing on the cake, as it were. Maybe you’re just not that overweight, or maybe you’ve been losing weight for months but you just can’t shift those last few pounds – we can help you to do that. If you want something that will take you from ‘slim’ to ‘streamlined’, liposuction can help. It can also help you to target fatty areas – big bums and thunder thighs – that otherwise just don’t shift with exercise.
What we can’t do is make you lose pounds and pounds. Unfortunately, we need your help with that one.
Last week, we did a feature post about the gastric wrap, so most of you should know a little more about what it is and how it works, now. (If you missed it, read back! It’s an effective, reversible and relatively simple weight loss procedure.)
However, you might still not have decided whether gastric wrap surgery is really for you – so today, we’re going to help a couple of you fence-sitters to make up your minds. First, there are some people who are considered ‘high-risk’, which means that – if you fall into one of these groups – you’re more likely to want to explore other options first. You’re a high-risk patient if:
- You’re aged over 50.
- Your BMI is over 50.
- You’re man.
- You have high blood pressure, or hypertension.
- You’ve got a history of breathing problems, including asthma.
- You’ve got a history of hiatal hernia, GERD, stomach ulcers or a history of chronic diseases of the digestive tract.
- You’ve previously undergone an open major abdominal surgery in the upper abdomen.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have a gastric wrap, but it’s important to be aware of the risks you’re taking on when you opt for any surgery. These risks would be discussed in-depth during a consultation with us.
Of course, as a radical weight loss surgery, the gastric wrap is generally for people with high BMIs, and your doctor will consider your BMI when assessing your suitability for surgery. However, it’s a good idea to bear in mind:
- If you’re a yo-yo dieter and experience vast fluctuations in weight, be sure to tell your doc this. If it’s likely that your weight will ‘go up’ again in the future, you may still be considered even if your BMI isn’t currently that high.
- You may want to show your doctor or consultant some photographs of yourself to help him assess your suitability, because the way your weight is distributed around your body will affect the level of risk you are at.
- Depending on your racial origin, you could be more likely to develop co-morbidities associated with obesity. Those of Asian origin may want to consider a gastric wrap more strongly for this reason.
- If you have any co-morbidities, such as type 2 diabetes, you can be much more at risk than others.
Of course, you’ll want to talk about your decision much more before you take the plunge – but that’s why we’re always there, at the other end of the phone.
We get a lot of patients asking for consultations about gastric wrap surgery, and it’s an incredibly popular procedure. Since not many people seem to know much about it before they come to see us, we thought we’d explain the basics of gastric wrap surgery – also known as LGCP surgery – to our readers.
As the least complicated of all weight loss surgeries, and boasting excellent results for patients, it’s no surprise that gastric wraps are so popular. Gastric wraps pose few potential risks and long-term problems, making them one of the safest weight loss procedures on the market today.
Who is it for?
You might want to consider a gastric wrap if you:
- Are looking to lose a significant amount of weight rapidly and permanently.
- Have undergone a gastric band, which has failed.
- Feel more comfortable about this procedure than others which involve the cutting or removal of stomach tissue.
- Are looking for a surgery which requires no adjustment afterwards; significant weight loss should occur as soon as the surgery is completed. However, just like the gastric band, this surgery is reversible.
How does it work?
The gastric wrap works similarly to the gastric band or the sleeve gastrectomy; it enables weight loss purely through restriction, by limiting the amount of food which can be consumed. There is no effect on the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food, unlike with the gastric bypass.
A gastric wrap is performed using very small incisions – it’s considered ‘keyhole’ surgery. The stomach is folded in on itself and the two outer edges are sutured together to create a narrow tube-shaped stomach.
This means that, with a much lower stomach capacity, patients feel full after eating much smaller amounts of food. This can often trigger rapid weight loss within the first few months after surgery.
That’s the basics of gastric wraps covered – watch this space, though, because we’ll be filling you in on even more details about this popular procedure very soon. Is the gastric wrap for you? We’ll soon find out…
“I would like to start with how easy the process was from the beginning. Angela looked after me and answered any questions I had, day or night. I paid my deposit, and Angela booked my flights, apartment and procedure – I had to do nothing. She even checked me in for my flight!”
Did you arrive OK? “On the day of my flight, everything went smoothly and I landed in Prague to be met by my driver, Paul, who was very nice. He took us to the clinic where I was met by troy. I was shown to my apartment, which was lovely, and given a welcome pack with a full itinerary for the following day.”
How did the operation itself go? “The day of the op, I was met downstairs by Troy and taken for pre-op tests. The clinic was clean and most of the staff spoke very good English. Professor Fried was amazing and he sat and answered all of my questions. He explained the procedure in detail, too. I was taken for my op, and when I woke up I felt OK – just a little sick, and I was given meds for this.”
“I felt amazing. A few days later I was discharged back to my apartment, where I stayed until my driver picked me up and drove me back to the airport. Oh – I forgot to add that I was given a phone call every day by Angela to see how I was… Secret Surgery have been brilliant, and I will be coming back for plastics! Thanks Angela!”
What a positive story! We’re always up for hearing more Secret Surgery stories, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with your experiences!
Recently, we at Secret Surgery have welcomed a new member to the team; Angela Matthews is here today to tell us all about herself and what’s brought her to us – and hopefully, some of you will get to meet her one day!
“I’m a 36 year-old qualified nurse working for the NHS – you’d think I’d know about the dangers of obesity, but that’s one area of my life that I failed on miserably. I was always overweight as a child, and I first joined Weight Watchers at the age of 17. When I left home at 19, my weight spiralled out of control.”
“I weighed 20 stone by the time I married my husband in 1998. We were both as bad for each other in terms of dieting. We always had good intentions to lose weight, but a mixture of shift work and contentment within our relationship led to a bad pattern of eating, late night takeaway food and skipping meals due to pure tiredness from our busy working lives.”
“We both piled on the weight. Rob went up to 23 stone, which was morbidly obese for his height, and I ballooned to a massive 29 stone 5. I was SUPER morbidly obese, and suffering from a whole host of problems. I developed sleep apnoea as a result of my weight, and I knew that my life span was limited. I made the decision to apply for NHS-funded Gastric Bypass surgery and was eventually accepted and taken in to theatre on June 20th 2009. I see this as my new birthday! It was life-changing in every way imaginable; less than a year later, Rob went under the knife too.”
“We lead totally different lives now, since our surgeries, and could never imagine being the unhealthy people we once were. I am so grateful to the NHS for giving us our lives back, and I genuinely think I would not be here today if I hadn’t had that chance given to me.”
“I’ve also gone on to have a major lower body lift, following the huge amounts of excess skin that the weight loss left me with. I can do things now that I would have never had the confidence to do before my weight loss… I’m finally enjoying life, and not just existing. I would recommend weight loss surgery to anyone who feels that they are trapped in the cycle of obesity.”
“I want people to feel free to add me or ask me questions. I run my own support group, Weight Loss Surgery Friends, which supports people emotionally that are going through this journey, or supporting someone else that is.”
We’re so happy to welcome Angela to Secret Surgery, who is now a part of our aftercare team in Birmingham and the Midlands!
Angela Chouaib – founder and MD at Secret Surgery – is here today to share her weight loss surgery secrets. It’s easy to think that weight loss surgery is about sitting back and letting science do all the work, but that’s not true; after weight loss surgery, it’s important to remember that it’s up to you to develop the habits and behaviours that are going to last the rest of your life.
“Remember that your weight loss surgery isn’t going to do the work by itself. Think of your surgery as a tool, or a stepping stone, which is going to help you get to where you want to be. It isn’t a magical fix.” It might seem like a magical fix when you’re losing pounds and pounds every week at first, but as your weight drops, you’ll find it harder and harder to lose that extra weight, and this is when good diet and exercise will matter.
“It’s just not possible to eat whatever you want and lose weight. Weight loss surgery doesn’t alter your metabolism, so if you’re eating the same foods you were before your surgery, you aren’t making the most of it.” Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial; in the later stages of your weight loss, you’ll only find the pounds dropping off if you’re still eating well and staying active. Don’t let yourself down by falling into old habits.
“Ease yourself slowly into exercise after the surgery. Rest up for six weeks, and then start with light activities like walking and gentle swimming. Exercise will help you to stay toned while the pounds are dropping off.” Losing a lot of weight quickly can be quite a shock to your body, so it’s important to keep your muscles healthy by maintaining a good weekly fitness regime. It doesn’t have to be vigorous, and you shouldn’t start before you feel ready to – but it’s something to factor in after your recovery.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that it’s you who’s in control after weight loss surgery. If you stop losing weight, don’t assume that something ‘isn’t working’ – look at your diet, and think about how it can be improved. It’s not just what you eat, but how much; and you’re the only person who can affect this. Good luck!
We’ve got another happy patient here today to tell us all about her Secret Surgery story. “To say I was sceptical about surgery abroad would be an understatement. I was very much against it and believed that people who went for surgery abroad were sent to filthy ‘back street’ clinics and operated on by unlicensed surgeons.”
What changed your mind? “It soon became clear to me from speaking to Angela in great detail and from research I had done myself that this certainly wasn’t the case when booking with Secret Surgery. If anything, the facilities that Angela books for her patients are very modern, clean and well-equipped with the most advanced medical equipment. The surgeons based at these facilities are also considered some of the most experienced in their fields. With this in mind, I was very confident about booking my gastric wrap (plication) surgery in Prague with Secret Surgery.”
And how was your stay there? “When I arrived at my luxury apartment I was a little disappointed that I did not have some of the items that were specified in the apartment description but with one call to Angela she was on the case and it wasn’t long before a very apologetic member of hotel staff was delivering me a kettle for my soups along with a DVD player and a selection of English films! This was very nice, as I was going to be spending my recovery time in the apartment too.”
That’s great! Did you feel safe before your surgery, then? “Well, the morning of my surgery I had the pleasure of meeting my surgeon, Professor Fried. The surgery brief was very important and he was happy to answer any questions or concerns that we had. He really put us at ease and was friendly and approachable. Following the surgery, he visited all his patients on a daily basis and had a genuine interest in our recovery.”
Did everything go OK? “I experienced a minor complication with my surgery and had a small bleed. I was placed in a priority room next to the nurses’ station and I was checked on every hour for the first 24 hours, post operatively, to have observations done. The pre-op and post-op checks were very thorough, and I felt well looked after throughout my stay in the clinic. I was also contacted frequently by Angela during this time and she kept a close eye on my recovery including speaking to the clinic staff to ensure I was OK.”
Fantastic. Anything else since you arrived home? “Upon returning to the UK following my surgery, I have had at least weekly contact from Angela and Jane, my dietary advisor, to check on my progress and offer advice with any queries or concerns I may have. The service I have experienced through Secret Surgery is first class and I have recommended this service to many other people already, and will continue to do so!”
“I look forward to my next trip abroad with Secret Surgery for the cosmetic surgery I would like when I reach my target weight. Thanks again Angela, you have been a trusted advisor and, more than that, you have become a good friend to me.”
That’s wonderful to hear! We’re always so pleased to read positive stories from our patients, and it makes everything we do that little bit more worthwhile.
Recently, Barcelona – one of the most beautiful cities in the world – has played host to a collection of experts in the field of weight loss surgery. One such surgeon who attended the conference was Dr. Martin Fried, our own weight loss surgeon here at Secret Surgery.
The conference featured only the world’s top weight loss surgeons, and featured a section on innovations and new techniques, which explored the new methods and technologies that we’re on the verge of discovering in the weight loss surgery industry, with a focus on gastric plication, which is a similar procedure to a sleeve gastrectomy.
Our own Dr. Martin Fried was the Chairman of the course, and has been working in bariatric surgery for over 25 years. At Secret Surgery, we know that the quality of our work is very important, which is why we only work with surgeons at the very top of the tree!
We also know how crucial it is to stay at the front of the pack when it comes to emerging technologies; while all of our procedures and treatments and tried and tested, we’re aware of what’s out there, and what’s coming next, and we assure you that we’ll always be offering the very best and safest surgical techniques available!
At Secret Surgery, something that we get asked about all the time is gastric bypass surgey – and some of its more unsavoury side effects. A lot of ladies are concerned that if they undergo gastric bypass surgery they might suffer from hair loss after the operation. It is an unfortunate possiblibility, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to reduce hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth.
If you’re keen to know why hair loss after gastric bypass surgery happens, it’s all about calories. After the surgery, your body will be forced to subsist on much lower amounts of calories, and which means that none of those calories and nutrients are wasted. Keeping the rest of you alive and pumping is obviously more important than keeping your hair healthy, so it’s your organs that get prioritised.
For this reason, if you want to minimize hair loss, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re eating right straight away after your surgery. You need to take in as much protein as you can; most doctors will recommend something like 60 grams a day, but it can never hurt to get more. If you find this too difficult, you can easily boost your intake with protein shakes and snacks.
Secondly, you need to do everything you can to look after your hair. This means no perms, colour treatments, or straightening for the time being; these treatments will only increase the rate that your hair falls out! Also, keep your hair trimmed regularly for a fuller appearance, and brush it every day. If you’ve got the cash to splurge on really good shampoo and conditioner, now’s the time to do it.
Finally, if you really want to reverse the effects that gastric bypass surgery will have on your hair, you need to promote regrowth by getting your body all the nutrients it needs. Supplements will help you; not just in the way of protein shakes, but also vitamin and mineral tablets, too.
It might sound like a lot, but it’s easy to quickly get into a routine of haircare that should mean you don’t suffer too much hair loss after your surgery. The truth is, it’s not as scary as it sounds, and with our VIP aftercare package, we’ll be with you every step of the way.
Weight loss surgery isn’t an easy option; it’s often a last resort for those of us who just can’t shed the pounds any other way. It’s a big decision, and it takes a lot of guts to choose such a life-changing surgery. Today, we’ve got Jim here to tell us about his experience with weight loss surgery at Secret Surgery.
“Angela made my dream come true.” he says. “Many, many a time I thought about have a gastric bypass, but I always always too scared to do so. Angela didn’t push, bully or sell; she just listened, and answered the questions I asked.”
“Having had the operation herself, it made it so easy for me to follow what she had done. You just have to look at her: she’s so happy, and now has dedicated her whole life into helping other people to do the same.”
“My life is now greater than I ever imagined it could be; life changing, yes, but also so much more! Angela was the person that made this happen – and I’ll always thank her for the rest of my life. Everything she said was true. Just listen to her, and follow your dream!”
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jim! Gastric bypass surgery is a weight loss operation designed for people carrying a lot of excess weight, and it usually results in dramatic weight loss post-operation. If you think it could be for you, don’t hesitate to seek out a consultation with us.
Mary, from Ireland, has got more news for us today about the surgeries she underwent with us earlier this year. Mary came to Secret Surgery for Vaser Lipo on her thighs, and apparently hasn’t looked back since. Here’s what she’s got to say about it.
“Three years ago, I started attending Weight Watchers after seeing a picture of myself at a wedding. I was disgusted with how I looked, and after two and half years at Weight Watchers I managed to bring my weight down by six stone and eight pounds!”
“The result was fantastic, but it also meant I had a lot of saggy bits and extra skin left over after such a large weight loss. I looked into cosmetic surgeries in Ireland, but they were all too expensive.”
“This is when I came across Secret Surgery. I contacted Angela, and she was so quick to respond! She was considerate, and I had so many questions – but to her there was no such thing as a silly question!”
“I left with my sister-in-law, Valerie, for Wroclaw on April 28th, and I was so impressed when we got to the hospital. It was immaculate, and the staff were amazing and friendly. I had the vaser lipo as part of my second operation, and it was painless, comforting and easy!”
“It was the best decision of my life. Angela was great, and my experience was made so much better by being there with Valerie, and meeting Sacha, another patient there at the time. We explored the hospital together, and had a great time.”
It’s always wonderful to hear that people have positive experiences here at Secret Surgery. If you’ve got a story to share with the world, don’t hesitate to drop us an e-mail with your Secret Surgery Story.
As we approach the half-year mark in 2012, things for Secret Surgery are getting better and better. We’re proud to announce that we’re now officially the 3rd highest rated medical travel agency in the world, according to Patient Review Treatment Abroad.
The reviews on the site are all genuine patient reviews written by previous patients at Secret Surgery, and we’re pleased to be able to report that they’re hugely positive. We can include a snippet from a review here, posted by the user ‘slimjim’, a male patient who underwent gastric bypass surgery with us.
“Angela made my dream come true.” He commented. “She didn’t push, bully, sell, nothing like that… My life is now greater than I ever imagined it could be… Angela was the person that made this happen. I will always thank her for the rest of my life. Everything she said was true. Just listen to her and follow your dream!”
Likewise, our thanks go out to ‘slimjim’ – it’s thanks to people like him, sharing their experiences with us, that means we can be proud to call ourselves the third best medical travel agency in the world.
Angela Chouaib, MD and founder of Secret Surgery Ltd., says “I am competing with companies that have been established and trading for many years, with patient reviews dating back to 2008, so it’s exciting times for Secret Surgery. I hope to be even higher up in the ranks by the end of 2012, and I’m positively focused on providing the best service and care possible, and never losing focus – making each patient feel like the only patient in the process.”
So, whatever you waiting for, gals and guys? Get yourself to Secret Surgery and make your dreams a reality!
The beggining of the rest of my life…... Please read this wonderful blog from Stephi Harris a Gastric Wrap Patient of Secret Surgery…