A 21-year-old who became the youngest person in Britain to be fitted with a gastric band is now adapting to life without it after the operation was reversed last week to save his life.
Emrah Mevsimler, from Chelmsford, Essex, was 13 and 17 stone when he had the surgery and admitted on today’s This Morning that he can barely remember a time before it.
The young man, who is now 10st 3lb, hopes his story will discourage others from having a gastric band – but admits he is ‘worried’ about regaining the weight.
The young man had the band removed in a lifesaving operation after it started strangling his internal organs.
Speaking of what it’s like to now be without the band, he said: ‘It’s so strange, I don’t remember how my body was before I was 13. All I remember is having this band since I was 13, it’s now like I am starting fresh.’
He explained how after years of discomfort he was rushed to hospital last week after suffering from abdominal pain.
‘My sister took me straight to A&E as I couldn’t bare the pain. I had some scans done and they took me for emergency surgery. They said if I had gone to hospital any later, it could have killed me because the band was strangling my organs,’ he said.
The decision for Emrah to be fitted with a gastric band when he was still so young caused controversy back in 2007.
However Emrah said he was ‘desperate’ at the time to have it done. He was being bullied at school and thought surgery was his only hope.
‘It was horrible being overweight, I was bullied every day and that created a vicious circle as I then went home and ate for comfort.
‘It got so bad I thought about suicide as I didn’t want to be here and suffering. Every time I looked in the mirror I hated my body and myself,’ he told Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford.
Emrah regularly ate more than 4,000 calories a day, gorging on sweets and fizzy drinks on the way to school before filling up on pizza for dinner.
He said he had tried endless dieting and exercise, but when that failed he thought surgery was his ‘last option’.
After having the band – which reduces the size of the stomach so a person can only consume small portions of food – he lost seven stone.
The schoolboy was left only able to swallow liquids such as soup, and soft food, including mince meat and mash. Some days were so bad he could not even hold down water.
However he admits that he should have explored other options to lose weight, and urges others to do the same.
Now he weighs 10st 3lb and with the band removed, he must learn how to control his appetite without it and continue to eat healthily.
Dr Dawn Harper explained that Emrah had to have the band removed following ‘rare’ complications.
She said: ‘I suspect what happened is the band, which is supposed to go round the stomach, had slipped and got caught so it was squeezing the bowels and obstructing that. This can cause acute abdominal pain. This can then cut off blood supply to the gut which is a life-threatening emergency.’
Asked whether Emrah should have been fitted with the band in the first place when he was 13, Dr Dawn said it was a ‘difficult debate’.
However she admitted that she could understand the decision given that he had been suicidal.
Emrah said he now regrets having the band and hopes his story will serve as a lesson to others.
He said: ‘I would recommend trying to manage being overweight in another way, I wouldn’t want kids going through what I went through.
‘I am feeling so much better now. Someone had to go through it to learn it’s not a great thing to have done, there are a lot of complications. Hopefully now young people will look at me and think twice about having it done.’
Days ago Emrah told MailOnline that the weight loss aids should not be an option for young people.
He said: ‘I think there should be a ban for under 18s. They shouldn’t be offered bands, there should be other things before you get to that stage like exercise.’