From New Knees to a Trip to Rome, Weight-loss Surgery Helps NJ Man Fulfill Promise to his Wife

John Thomas needed two new knees.  In April of 2016, the pain became unbearable and was preventing him from walking to and from the law office where he worked. Contributing to his joint pain was his struggle to lose weight. Over the years, he gained until he was over 500 pounds.

John Thomas before his bariatric surgery.

His orthopedic surgeon at the Rothman Institute at Jefferson told him that he needed to lose weight before getting surgery. “We often urge patients who have a BMI over 40 to lose weight prior to joint replacement surgery to lower the risks of medical and surgical complications,” said James Purtill, MD, Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Jefferson.

His goal was to lose at least 200 pounds to get his body mass index (BMI) under 30. “I just couldn’t live like that anymore,” said John.

So, he met with bariatric surgeon Michael Kammerer, MD, to talk about weight loss surgery options in May of 2016. Dr. Kammerer presented compelling data and statistics, which sold John.

In order to prepare for bariatric surgery, John worked with a registered dietitian Chelsea Rakszawski, RDN to lose almost 100 pounds.

“John came in highly motivated and ready to make changes to his diet, as evidenced by a weight loss of 17 pounds from his initial consultation until his first follow up visit with me,” said Chelsea.  “He made drastic changes including eliminating fried foods and unhealthy takeout items from his diet.  Through his hard work and with regular monthly follow up appointments, he was able to successfully lose the weight required for him to qualify for surgery.”

patient in his kitchen

John Thomas after bariatric surgery.

By June of 2017, John was down to 251 pounds. “There isn’t a single part of my life that is not vastly improved,” he said. “I went from an 8XL to a 1XL; lost over two feet from my waist line. I no longer have diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea.”

John had his first knee replaced in February and his second knee replaced on May 9 – exactly one year from when he first met with Dr. Kammerer. John now follows up with Dr. Kammerer in the new Burlington County office for his progress check-ins.

The greatest joy of all is an upcoming trip to Rome with his wife. “She is the love of my life,” John said. “I promised her that before she turned 50, I would take her to Rome. I couldn’t do it before.” Now, John is making good on that promise.

“I don’t have the words to describe how good I feel.”

Ciao, John!

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