Meet the Brissie sur­geon help­ing Amer­ica win the bat­tle of the bulge

Field­ing Bris­bane raised lap-band sur­geon Ge­orge says fat is the new nor­mal, re­ports

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS -

HE’S the go-to sur­geon for the rich and fa­mous – and the su­per fat.

Bris­bane’s Ge­orge Field­ing, who has per­formed the most num­ber of lap-band op­er­a­tions in the world, has helped ev­ery­one from US bil­lion­aires to Saudi Ara­bian roy­als shed up to 70kg.

“There are extremely high- pro­file peo­ple I can’t talk about, but I banded Chris Christie when he was gov­er­nor of New Jer­sey, Rex Ryan when he coached the New York Jets (NFL team), and Khaliah Ali, the daugh­ter of Muham­mad Ali,” says Dr Field­ing, 61, who has lived in Man­hat­tan since 2006.

“Christie has be­come a buddy – we share a mu­tual love of Bruce Spring­steen but Bruce won’t talk to him be­cause Christie is a Repub­li­can,” he laughs, on a visit to the In­dooroop­illy home where he and his six si­b­lings grew up.

Dr Field­ing, who per­forms up to 50 op­er­a­tions a month, has worked in more than 12 coun­tries and was in­vited to the US to show them how it’s done. Not only did he bring to Queens­land the ground- break­ing pro­ce­dure – in which a band is tied around the top of the stom­ach to shrink it and make pa­tients feel full faster – but he un­der­went it him­self.

“I’d been fight­ing my own weight my whole life. I was a prop at (Bris­bane) Gram­mar and the Univer­sity of Queens­land, but then I got re­ally big. I lost 30-40kg five or six times, on my own, but I couldn’t keep it off and by the time I’d done around 2000 bands, pa­tients would say, ‘hey doc, you’re fat­ter than I am’.”

Heart com­pli­ca­tions prompted Dr Field­ing to act, ask­ing men­tor Paul O’Brien of Monash Univer­sity, to per­form the op­er­a­tion. That was in 1999 and he has kept off the 55kg he lost as a re­sult.

“There is a per­cep­tion that obe­sity is a per­son­al­ity weak­ness, but it’s a phys­i­o­log­i­cal de­fect in the way you re­spond to your stom­ach stretch­ing, so if you can ma­nip­u­late that, you will be­have nor­mally. I’m 6ft and 98kg, and my wife is 5ft 5 and 50kg but I eat less than she does, and I’m gen­uinely not hun­gry.”

Dr Field­ing met fel­low sur­geon Chris­tine Ren, 52, at a con­fer­ence in Sin­ga­pore and they mar­ried in 2006. She heads the weight-loss divi­sion at the New York Univer­sity Lan­gone Med­i­cal Cen­tre where her hus­band works.

Dr Field­ing’s first wife and mother of his four adult chil­dren, is Bris­bane GP Jen­nifer

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