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Gut Check

Posted on July 18, 2017 in Bariatrics

Determination brings Rogersville man enormous weight loss

Thanks to gastric bypass surgery, Danny Hottle of Rogersville is 304 pounds lighter today than a year ago. He can bathe himself, drive from the front seat, ride rollercoasters, sleep better and run a 5K race.

But Hottle’s surgery had an extra ingredient for success: his personal determination.

“I tell people the surgery is probably one-third of your success and the other two-thirds is your habit changes, your diet,” said Mark Colquitt, MD, the bariatric surgeon who performed Roux-en-Y gastric bypass on the 41-year-old Hottle at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in March 2016. I think that’s why he had such tremendous success – the drive and determination on his part.”

Hottle ballooned to 499 pounds following the death of his father and two grandparents in a short space of time. “That’s when I just decided it’s time to get it done because I didn’t want to be 600 or 700 pounds,” he said.

He attended a free seminar conducted by Dr. Colquitt and his practice partner, bariatric surgeon Jonathan Ray, MD, where he learned about the types of surgeries, what to expect and the requirements.

“I was supposed to lose 50 pounds before the surgery, but ended up losing 100 because I started aerobics classes,” Hottle said. “When I walked into the gym, I got in the very back corner because I felt like everybody was watching me. I couldn’t do a whole lot, not even a sit-up.”  

Dr. Colquitt used a robot-guided laparoscope to staple a large portion of Hottle’s stomach, reducing its size and emptying food directly into the lower portion of the small intestines. This “bypasses” calorie absorption while creating a sense of satisfaction with less food. The surgery also reduces the amount of ghrelin, a hormone associated with feeling hunger.

Drs. Colquitt and Ray perform 300-350 surgeries a year at the Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery. Since starting practice in 2002, their patients (2,500 cases) have lost a total of 250,000 pounds.

Not all surgeries are as permanent as they’d like. “I tell patients that surgeries are opportunities,” said Dr. Colquitt. “And just like any opportunity, you can fail. You hear about patients gaining their weight back after bariatric surgery. It’s not because the surgery failed; it’s because the patient failed the surgery.”

Hottle, who had worn a size 72 and donned 9XL swim trunks to go to the beach in 2015, was determined not to regain weight. He began walking 10 miles a day and upped the aerobics class to four times a week. At his three-month follow-up, he had lost 100 pounds; at six months, 210. At the year mark, 253. “Those are better than target,” said Dr. Colquitt. “That’s Danny. He’s got a lot of motivation.”

That motivation carried Hottle through an additional procedure in which a plastic surgeon removed another 33 pounds in excess skin.

“Dr. Colquitt has been a wonderful blessing. He is really the best,” said Hottle. He now weighs 195 and plans to run a 5K Relay for Life in honor of his father, who died of metastatic bladder cancer. “I’ve been richly blessed with good doctors. I’ve got life in me now. I’m energetic, motivated. I love life more.”

“I don’t ever want to get back in my big ol’ britches,” said Hottle who can now fit into just one leg of those 9XL swim trunks. “I want to stay like this for the rest of my life.”

If you are struggling to lose weight, bariatric surgery may be an option that can also provide benefits to overall health. For more information or to register for a bariatric seminar, call (865) 331-BAR1 (2271).