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SPECIAL REPORT: How weight loss surgery helped this man lose nearly 200 lbs

SAYRE, Pa. (18 NEWS) - If you have ever struggled with weight loss, you're not alone. 

In a special report, Michelle Ross shares the incredible journey of a man who tried every trick in the book but was finally successful thanks to bariatric surgery.

Not only has he kept the weight off two years since the operation, but he continues to lose more and more pounds. 

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It was this picture that made Bill Kaner realize he needed to make a drastic change in his life, specifically, his health.

Before the 5'8" man hit his maximum weight of 360 pounds, he was getting larger and larger by the day. 

"My doctors were telling me, at that point, what every doctor tells every person: "You need to lose weight. You need to change your lifestyle," Kaner shared. 

Yo-yo diets caused him to go up and down 50 pounds every six months, but he was fed up. After some research, he came across weight loss surgery, or bariatric surgery, at Guthrie's Weight Loss Center in Sayre.

Dr. Mustafa Aman, a bariatric and general surgeon who operated on Kaner, says it's what some patients need to spark their healthy lifestyle. 

"Bariatric surgery is a tool for weight loss, but, of course, it's not a permanent cure and therefore patients must prepare by adopting a healthier lifestyle, being more physically active, [and] eating the right types of food, so they can be successful in the long-term,"

It differs from liposuction which is a purely cosmetic procedure and doesn't address what's causing the patient's weight gain. Metabolic and bariatric surgery focuses on the patient's health - it does not remove fat like liposuction.

There are a few different types of bariatric surgery and Kaner took the roux-en-y gastric bypass route which is done laparoscopically. This means it was through some small incisions.

The upper portion of the stomach is stapled, where food first enters, and is separated from the rest of the stomach. 

According to Guthrie, this new pouch holds one to one and a half ounces. Food intake is now limited resulting in a feeling of fullness much quicker.

Individuals with a body mass index greater than 40 would qualify for the surgery or...

"Have a body mass index between 35 to 40 with the presence of certain obesity-related health problems," Dr. Aman added. "Things such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, fatty liver disease and whole host of other conditions."

And before the surgery, Kaner had to prove he was committed to changing his life and not go into the operation cold turkey. 

"It was six months of pre-op education, going to Guthrie once a week, twice a week, once a month, twice a month," Kaner said. 

Both Kaner and his doctor say it's not the easy way out. He was required to lose some weight beforehand and dropped nearly 20 pounds before the big day. 

"It's not an easy process," Kaner said. "They truly weed out the people that aren't serious about following through with everything."

The introductory meetings review a list of expectations, possible complications, and more. 

"The operation is an invaluable tool," Dr. Aman said. "It really helps our patients lose a lot of weight [and] dramatically improves their health. However we feel it's equally important that patients have that critical support structure before and after the operation."

Kaner's two-year anniversary since the surgery was April 25 and he is still receiving post-operation support to this day. 

He's also since lost 180 pounds and went from a 52 inch waist to a 32 inch waste and he gas from 3x and 4x shirts to mediums and larges. 

Kaner says the staff treats him like family and that he's been so focused on this journey, that he doesn't miss junk food anymore. He says, though, the hardest thing for him is not being able to drink plenty of ice cold water when he needs it. He just doesn't have the capacity for it anymore.

And he adds the difference now when going to a bar or restaurant is looking at a chair before sitting on it. 

"You didn't want to be that guy that sat down in a chair and the chair exploded," Kaner admitted. "I had that happened to me twice and it's the most mortifying thing in the world."

These days he hits the gyms five to six days a week, goes for a two-mile daily walk with his dog, and walks with his head held high. 

"If somebody was thinking about the weight loss surgery, I would say, 'Look at me,'" Kaner said. "I say, 'Look at me.' It can happen. It really can. If you're ready to make that change in your lifestyle, do it. If you're not committed to making the lifestyle change, then you're not ready."

Guthrie's Weight Loss Center has performed almost 1,000 bariatric surgeries since 2011 with a few hundred of those under Dr. Aman's belt.

Kaner also plans to participate in Tour de Keuka this summer, a 45-mile bike ride around Keuka Lake despite a knee replacement and his third ACL tear before his weight loss operation. 


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