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How Bariatric Surgery at Huntsville Hospital’s Center for Surgical Weight Loss Changed This Attorney’s Life

April 17, 2024 | Reading Time: 3 minutes
Jeff McKinney's, a patient who underwent bariatric surgery, before and after photos.

Meet Jeff McKinney, a patient who underwent bariatric surgery with the help of Huntsville Hospital’s Center for Surgical Weight Loss.

Jeff had always believed he was healthy until a back injury evaluation proved otherwise. The spine surgeon delivered the news rather bluntly, stating, “Jeff, it seems that you may require a fusion. However, I am hesitant to perform the surgery due to your weight.”

As a personal injury attorney, Jeff understood that the success or failure of lumbar spine surgery is closely tied to maintaining a healthy weight. After more than three decades of a sedentary lifestyle, spent mostly behind a desk, in conference rooms, or courtrooms, Jeff’s lack of change in eating habits and exercise routine had finally caught up with him.

Growing up in a rural farming community in northwest Alabama, Jeff was accustomed to a lifestyle centered around manual labor and hearty meals to sustain him for the next day. However, as his personal injury legal practice became more demanding, he led a more sedentary life, still fueling his body as if he were working in a hayfield. Despite losing 35 pounds, Jeff reached a plateau where the weight simply would not budge, regardless of his efforts.

Taking control of his health

Eventually, Jeff decided to heed the advice of his spine surgeon and sought a consultation with Dr. Ravindra V. Mailapur, albeit with some reservations. To his surprise, Dr. Mailapur did not offer a quick fix but rather an additional tool that could potentially alleviate his back pain and improve his overall health.

During his discussions with Dr. Mailapur, Jeff delved into the specifics of the surgery, the necessary preparations, the post-surgery lifestyle, and the goals he hoped to achieve. Dr. Mailapur assured Jeff that he could help him reach a weight range of 250-260 pounds. He committed himself to using this tool for a better future. He was tired of living with excess weight and constant pain. The surgery itself was the easy part, and Jeff was back in the office the very next day. For the first time in his life, he no longer had the desire to overeat, and that feeling has persisted to this day.

A new chapter

However, Jeff’s biggest battle was not with his physical transformation but with the fear of regaining the weight he had lost, returning to his previous weight of 435 pounds. To ensure his success, Jeff maintained regular follow-ups with Dr. Mailapur. Crediting the attention of Dr. Mailapur, his personal physician, Dr. Amy Carter, as well as the bluntness of Dr. John Johnson for getting him to this point.

On the first anniversary of his surgery, he weighed approximately 225 pounds, having shed an impressive 110 pounds. Jeff said, “I had no idea of the physical burdens I had carried for years before the surgery.”

Encouraged by Dr. Mailapur, Jeff set a goal to reach 200 pounds. At his 2-year follow-up, he had achieved an incredible weight of 170 pounds, with his clothes, shoes, watch and everything in his pockets. While he found himself a bit too thin at this weight and with a BMI of 21, he relished in his achievement before settling at 184 pounds and a BMI of 23. This is where Jeff currently stands, holding on tightly to the tool that Dr. Mailapur provided, which has allowed him to regain control over his life.

Is excess weight affecting your quality of life and preventing you from reaching your fitness goals? Click here to learn more about weight loss options at Huntsville Hospital.