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Dr. Liu's Article on Good Morning America
With their weight severely straining their internal organs, gastric bypass surgery was too dangerous. They had one hope: lapband surgery - a new procedure in which a synthetic ring is attached to the top of the stomach, reducing the size of the opening from a silver dollar to a dime...
Sheila and Cyrus Tehrani won't put a price on their health and happiness-even if it means mortgaging their home. Like countless patients considering weight loss surgery, health insurance companies repeatedly denied the Eagle Rock, CA residents coverage for basic medical insurance as well as life-saving bariatric surgery.
With 5'2" Sheila's weight topping 546 lbs and 5'11" Cyrus' at 543 lbs, the brother and sister refinanced their home in a last ditch effort to pay for LAP-BANDŽ Adjustable Gastric Banding System surgery which was performed by Dr. Carson Liu.
"We are playing Russian Roulette with our lives," said Sheila, 38, whose lifelong obesity prohibits her from holding down a job or driving a car.
"I feel like my life is stuck. It is only a matter of time before my health deteriorates. I fell like our time is running out."
"Unless I undergo this surgery, I am concerned I won't be around for my wife and six children, ages 16, 15, 14, 8, 5 and 3," adds Cyrus, 34. "We are a tight-knit family; the thought of me not being there for my children devastates me. This surgery is our last option and is worth every penny."
Dr. Carson Liu successfully performed LAP-BANDŽ Adjustable Gastric Banding System surgery on the siblings on Tuesday, June 7 at Olympia Medical Center.
During the minimally invasive surgery, Dr. Liu made only a few small incisions; reducing patients' hospital stay and recuperation time. During the procedure, he implanted an inflatable silicone band fastened around the upper stomach to create a new stomach about the size of your thumb, reducing the amount of food that can be eaten, and one's desire for it, resulting in weight loss. The only adjustable weight loss surgery, the LAP-BAND can also be adjusted to suit patients' needs.
"With a 108 body mass index, Sheila had the largest BMI of any patient I have seen," said Dr. Liu, who has performed more than 1900 weight loss surgeries.
"For morbidly obese patients who have failed at numerous diets, surgery may be their only realistic option for lasting weight loss. Cyrus and Sheila are expected to lose about 15-20 pounds per month until they reach their ideal weight."
The brother and sister's unique approach for financing their surgery caught the attention of Los Angeles and national media outlets. Wireless Flash News, an independent news agency that provides exclusive feature and entertainment news to radio and TV stations, newspapers, and magazines across the United States and around the world, interviewed Dr. Liu shortly after the Tehrani's surgery. The story was syndicated to more than 1400 print, radio and TV affiliates in every major market across the United States and overseas. (LAT)
|APPETITE FOR HUMOR: Siblings Sheila and Cyrus Tehrani reminisce about what little they ate for Thanksgiving 2005.|
|A REACH: Nurse Caroline DeOliveira measures Cyrus Tehrani's waist during his monthly checkup six months after surgery.|
|MOTIVATED: Cyrus Tehrani lifts weights at a gym in Pasadena six months after his surgery. Cyrus is committed to regular exercise, despite time away from his children.|
|Cyrus Tehrani at a pre-surgery checkup last spring by bariatric surgeon Dr. Carson Liu, left, as sister Sheila watches.|
Step by Step, Losses Add Up to Gains
By Valerie Reitman, Times Staff Writer June 6, 2006
Sheila Tehrani dropped 48.2 pounds in four hours the other day.
That brought her down to a comparatively svelte 387 pounds, the first time in years that she's weighed less than 400.
The instant weight loss happened because surgeon Carson Liu sliced off loose belly skin that had draped to Tehrani's knees in the wake of her losing 144.2 pounds over the last 14 months.
When she awoke from the anesthesia, the extremities she hadn't been able to see without a mirror came into view - her own legs and toes.
"All I could think of is ... my thighs look really fat," Sheila, 39, managed to joke the day after the surgery, despite throbbing pain from her 4-foot hip-to-hip scar. The drooping skin, she said, had made walking and driving difficult.
Tehrani's flesh was whisked away in coolers to the airport, en route to the nonprofit Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation in New Jersey, which plans to purify and reuse the inner layer of the skin for hernia, pelvic and other reconstructive surgical procedures.
The lop-off marked the latest chapter in the journey back to health for Sheila and her brother Cyrus Tehrani, Eagle Rock siblings who underwent LAP-BAND® surgery last year after a cardiologist warned them that their weight (he tipped the scales at 578, she at 579) was threatening their lives.
The decision came after Cyrus, now 35, was hospitalized for several days in February 2005 with high blood pressure, leg swelling and breathing problems caused by the excess weight. The siblings refinanced their childhood home to pay for both of them to have bariatric surgery, in which a synthetic ring is used to reduce stomach capacity and make it impossible to eat large quantities.
In the year since his surgery, Cyrus has lost 172 pounds, and now weighs 406 pounds. Sheila weighed in at 434.8 before last week's surgery.
A Column One article in The Times in January transformed the Tehranis into minor celebrities, with appearances on the Discovery Health Channel and shows such as "Good Morning America" and "Entertainment Tonight/The Insider" (which dubbed them the "half-ton Hollywood siblings," much to the Tehranis' dismay).
In the months since the first surgery, Sheila said recently, she has joked with the weight-loss surgery support group she and Cyrus attend that she was there "to make Cyrus look better," because he was losing so much more. She said she struggled more with emotional issues that made it tough to eat less.
Cyrus now steadfastly refuses to eat sweets and most carbohydrates.
The night before he took wife Karen and four of his six children to Disneyland recently - the first time he could fit on rides since his 20s - Cyrus told Sheila he was thinking of having funnel cakes. His sister, who advocates careful portion control rather than absolute denial, encouraged him to go ahead. He opted for a chocolate-dipped banana instead and then ate only half because he actually felt sick with guilt.
On her birthday in April, Sheila craved the cream-and-strawberry cake from Ruby Bakery in Eagle Rock. Her family obliged but cut her a piece "you could practically see through," she said. But those few bites kept her from feeling deprived.
"I'm not like Cy - diligent and militant like he is - because I'm afraid if I'm like that, you'll find me covered in wrappers, having eaten myself to death," she said.
About two months ago, Liu tightened Sheila's LAP-BAND® for the second time since he implanted it, further cinching her stomach and reducing the amount of food she can ingest. (Cyrus will have his first tightening Wednesday.)
The tightening helped, she said. She couldn't eat much, and she loved the difference on the scale. She lost 26 pounds in the next two months. Exercising also has helped. She finally got a long-talked-of treadmill, though finding a portable one that could accommodate her weight wasn't easy.
With the machine set at 1 mile per hour, she at first could only walk for about 10 minutes. She has now worked her way up to 20 minutes at 1.7 mph a few times a week.
When she mentioned to family members that her sneakers were rubbing against her skin, they all went out separately and bought her socks - about a dozen pairs in all. The rest of the Tehrani clan didn't want her to have any excuse for not exercising.
"I'm the luckiest girl," she said of her family's support.
|'I'M THE LUCKIEST GIRL': Accompanied by her 3-year-old niece, and with moral support and a gifts of socks from her family, Sheila Tehrani walks on a treadmill at her Eagle Rock home. At 1.7.mph, she has worked her way up to 20 minutes a few times a week.|
|NEXT CHAPTER: Roughly 48 pounds of skin and flesh were surgically removed from Sheila Tehrani in a four-hour operation. Dr. Carson Liu, center, headed the team.|
|MOVING: Cyrus Tehrani, who lost 172 pounds, walks with his youngest son. About a year ago, he could go only a few yards before becoming winded.|
|PRIME TIME: A crew from "Entertainment Tonight" conducts an interview with Sheila Tehrani just before her surgery to remove sagging skin. She and her brother Cyrus made many TV appearances after they got their LAP-BANDs® last year and began to lose weight.|
|Just before surgery, Dr. Carson Liu outlines the folds of skin to be removed from Sheila Tehrani's 5-foot, 2-inch frame.|
|More than 48 pounds of skin and flesh were surgically removed from Sheila Tehrani in a four-hour operation.|
Noted surgeon, Dr. Carson Liu and weight loss specialist Dr. Robert Skervsky joined Dr. Berman to discuss weight loss options. What are the benefits and cautions with bariatric surgery? How do you know if this is the choice for you? What about other weight loss options?