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Trying to 'hold on' to weight loss, Carnie Wilson discusses second surgery

Updated April 2, 2012

Singer Carnie Wilson told TODAY's Ann Curry she has a new outlook on life after her second weight-loss surgery, "I needed to take action... This is about health, it's not about what I look like or what the scale says."

Wilson first underwent gastric bypass surgery in 1999, when the 5'3" Wilson Phillips star weighed over 300 pounds. She lost 150 pounds, and showed off her newly svelte figure in Playboy. But 12 years and two children later, the 43-year-old Wilson Phillips star had gained two-thirds of the weight back.

In January she had a second surgery, a lap-band procedure that physically limits stomach size, and she's already lost 30 pounds. Wilson is now a paid spokesperson for Allergan, the company that developed the lap-band procedure she had.

NBC Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman noted that weight-loss surgery works long-term only when patients totally change their lifestyles. If you eat like you used to, the weight will come back.

"I suspect you're approaching this as more of an adult this time, as a mother of two; it's a very different psychological mindset than you had during your first surgery," Snyderman said.

"Yes, and I'm teaching my children," said Wilson, mother of Lola, 6, and Luciana, 2.  "I'm laying the groundwork for myself, for the future — for the right reasons."

Original story, published March 22, 2012:

Two weight loss surgeries? Why Carnie Wilson tried again

Danny Moloshok / AP

Singer Carnie Wilson has reportedly had a second weight-loss surgery in a dozen years. A bariatric medicine expert says that's rare.

A second weight-loss surgery for singer Carnie Wilson has raised questions about repeat procedures, but a bariatric medicine expert says though it’s rare, it’s not necessarily unwise.

“In effect, she’s added something to her first surgery,” said, Dr. Robin Blackstone, president of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery. “It gave her enough of a boost so that she could get her weight down.”

Wilson, 43, had lap-band surgery on Jan. 18, according to People magazine, and has shed 30 pounds. Wilson previously lost 150 pounds after gastric bypass surgery 12 years ago.

"It was the right decision for me and I'm doing really well so far," Wilson told People. "It's all about taking good care of myself."

There are no statistics about the number of people who get two or more weight-loss surgeries as part of the 200,000 procedures performed annually in the U.S.

“It’s actually pretty rare,” Blackstone said.

The two procedures are very different, she noted. Gastric bypass works by reducing the size of the stomach, but also by bypassing part of the small intestine. It’s primarily a metabolic treatment, meaning it works by affecting the way the intestine signals the brain regarding hunger and fullness.

That metabolic effect may not be as strong in some people, or it can be affected by hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy and childbirth, Blackstone said. In the years since her first surgery, Wilson has had two girls, ages 6 and 2. She’s previously said that pregnancy derailed her weight-loss efforts.

The lap-band, by contrast, offers a physical limitation with a silicone band placed around the stomach to create a small pouch the size of a golf ball.

Blackstone contends that the lap-band procedure actually enhances the effects of the bypass, somewhat like adding a second blood pressure medication when a patient doesn’t respond completely to the first one.

“We have to begin acknowledging that obesity is a chronic disease,” Blackstone said.

Wilson has a new album and new reality show coming with Wilson Phillips in April.


12 years later, Carnie Wilson has weight-loss surgery again