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Bariatric Surgery

A Life Transforming Weight Loss Option

Tennova Healthcare feature copyMorbid obesity is a life-threatening disease that affects more than 15 million people in the U.S. A landmark study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that bariatric surgery improved or resolved type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol in the vast majority of morbidly obese patients. Most patients had lost 55 to 70% of their excess weight one year after bariatric surgery.

Thanks in large part to the leadership of dedicated physicians, other healthcare professionals, and Tennova Healthcare, there is now a comprehensive surgical weight loss program in the Knoxville region designed to help patients who are unable to sustain significant weight loss, have weight-related medical issues, and are ready to make life changes to become healthier. The Tennova Center for Surgical Weight Loss program is the only accredited Level 1 facility by the Bariatric Surgery Center Network (BSCN) Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in the Knoxville area. The bariatric suites offer larger than average hospital patient rooms equipped with specialty furniture to provide safe and comfortable accommodations. Surgeons Stephen Boyce, MD, and K. Robert Williams, MD, have extensive training and experience and are qualified to offer all approved bariatric surgical options.

“We are pleased to offer a nationally accredited program that has such far reaching medical benefits for patients, family members, and friends,” said Dr. Boyce, Medical Director of the Tennova Center for Surgical Weight Loss. “Bariatric surgery offers hope of a normal life for those suffering from obesity.”

“In addition to the clinical elements, Tennova Center for Surgical Weight Loss is designed with the patients and their families in mind,” said Lance Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Tennova’s Turkey Creek Medical Center.

EK: Lance, can you tell us a little about the bariatric program at Tennova?

Lance: Our bariatric unit is located on a specialty floor with a dedicated clinical team that works together to coordinate the care, education, and post-surgery follow-up. The Tennova Center for Surgical Weight Loss is very focused on the holistic elements that come from our coordinated approach. From nursing and surgical services to our support programs, we see this life-changing process and our ability to impact the lives of so many through each individual transformation. This is a service truly focused on the patient, their family, and the support networks.

EK: Bariatric surgery includes a number of proven weight loss techniques. Describe them.

Dr. Williams: There are four approved bariatric procedures. The laparoscopic adjustable gastric band and the sleeve gastrectomy are both restrictive operations that cause weight loss by limiting the amount of food one can eat. The biliary pancreatic diversion with duodenal switch is a malabsorptive procedure that works by limiting digestion of food after it is consumed. Roux-en-y gastric bypass is considered a hybrid procedure that is both restrictive and malabsorptive.

EK: Dr. Boyce, let’s talk about the Roux-en-y gastric bypass procedure and, more specifically, your patient, Sandra Crabtree.

Dr. Boyce: Roux-en-y gastric bypass restricts a person’s oral intake and also limits digestion to produce excellent weight loss in many patients. By losing significant excess weight, our patients often see an improvement in co-morbid conditions. These are medical problems that often accompany obesity. In Sandy’s case, her diabetes, hyper lipidemia, and obstructive sleep apnea were eliminated and her hypertension improved. She has a long family history of these problems, and she decided to do something about it.

EK: Despite all the fad diets and celebrity-endorsed weight loss programs, why do so many people still experience difficulty in losing weight?

Dr. Boyce: This is a complex problem, and there is no easy solution. Obesity has become more of a problem in recent years, in part because of a change in environment. We live in a more automated society, and we eat higher calorie foods than our predecessors. More calories and less exercise leads to more obesity, but genes can often play a role as well. It is especially difficult for patients who start with body mass indexes above 35 (roughly 100 pounds overweight). As we know from many studies, only 1% will achieve durable weight loss with diets, even if we add medical supervision.

EK: Just who is a candidate for bariatric surgery?

Dr. Williams: A good rule of thumb is if a person’s weight is 100 pounds overweight, you are likely a candidate for surgery. Also, people who have medical problems as a result of the excess weight should consider surgery. It is also important to be committed and motivated. Don’t let anyone tell you it is an easy way out of obesity. It requires commitment and determination.

EK: To optimize your opportunity for success, the Tennova Center for Surgical Weight Loss offers both pre- and post-education and support. Why are these so important?

Dr. Boyce: Weight loss surgery is really just a tool that a patient will use to achieve success. Like any other tool, the results will not be as good unless you are knowledgeable in how to use that tool, and we put a lot of emphasis on education, because it dramatically affects success.

EK: If I feel that I might be a candidate for bariatric surgery, how can I learn more? Do you offer private consultations or seminars?

Dr. Williams: Of course there is a lot of information on the Internet, but you have to be careful about what you read, because some of this is misinformation. We have a large website that is an accurate source for someone looking to learn more. Another great resource is our free seminar series held at Turkey Creek Medical Center. I especially enjoy this, because I get to interact directly with patients who have a desire to learn more about weight loss surgery.

EK: Is there anything else you would like to add before closing?

Dr. Boyce: Yes, it is a true pleasure and honor to be able to work as a bariatric surgeon at the Tennova Center for Surgical Weight Loss. As a surgeon, the technical difficulties provide a constant and meaningful challenge, and as a personal note, it is very fulfilling to see the positive change in health and quality of life for our patients.

Tennova Center for Surgical Weight Loss

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