Achieving Long-Term Weight Loss
Christine Rance, 49, of Alexandria had struggled with her weight for most of her life. A few years ago, she dieted, lost 80 pounds, but then gained all of it back plus another 25. She was diagnosed with sleep apnea and high blood sugar. She says, “I realized I needed more than diet and exercise. After doing a lot of research online and speaking to patients who had had weight loss surgery at different programs, I was impressed with what Virginia Hospital Center had to offer.”
The Hospital’s Center for Bariatric Surgery offers all components for successful weight loss—nutrition education, psychological evaluation, exercise and health promotion programs, support groups, and medical specialists familiar with the needs of obese patients. Our experienced bariatric surgeons, J.R. Salameh, MD, FACS and C. Steeve David, MD of Virginia Hospital Center Physician Group–Surgical Specialists, have performed more than 1,000 weight loss surgeries. Certification as a comprehensive program by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program attests to the high quality of the Center and adherence to rigorous national standards.
Dr. Salameh describes the breadth of the Center’s programs, saying, “We offer all weight loss surgery options, including revision surgery, and have the expertise to handle the most complex cases. Our program has the tools to support patients and keep them engaged. This makes a difference over the long term.”
When Christine first met with Dr. David, he reviewed her medical history, asked why she wanted to explore surgery, and reviewed the risks and benefits. “He made me feel right at home,” she recalls. Christine opted to have sleeve gastrectomy, a laparoscopic surgical procedure to remove a large portion of the stomach. Prior to her surgery, she worked regularly with the Center’s dietitian to become educated about new dietary and lifestyle changes, saw a bariatric therapist, and attended the Center’s monthly support group.
“My surgery went very smoothly. I was walking the evening of surgery and stayed in the Hospital just one night. I didn’t have any serious pain,” she says. “I followed my food plan very carefully, and lost 111 pounds in 6 months. My blood sugar levels are down. I have so much more energy to run and play with my 5-year-old, and I walk 11,000 steps a day.” Christine continues to see a bariatric therapist and attends the Center’s support group meetings—both of which she considers key to her ongoing success after surgery.
“For people who need to lose 70 pounds or more, weight loss surgery is the most successful long-term option available,” says Dr. David. “It is extremely safe and has a very high success rate compared to a diet and exercise regimen alone. Bariatric surgery is a tool that allows you to accomplish something that would be virtually impossible on your own.”
“We know that obesity is related to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, joint problems, depression and many other medical problems. Most of these issues resolve or significantly improve after bariatric surgery, along with a much better quality of life. Most important, weight loss surgery increases life expectancy and reduces premature death by 89%,” says Dr. Salameh.
The Orbera™ Intragastric Balloon
The Orbera™ Intragastric Balloon—a new non-surgical weight loss procedure now offered by Dr. J. R. Salameh and Dr. Steeve David—is an option for patients who are anywhere from 35 to 100 pounds overweight with a body mass index between 30 and 40. In a simple outpatient procedure, the deflated intragastric balloon is inserted endoscopically through the mouth and into the stomach, and then filled with a saline solution. The balloon fills space in the stomach to encourage proper portion control. After six months, the balloon is removed through a quick, non-surgical procedure. Patients receive ongoing nutrition support from our dietitian to promote healthy eating and lifestyle changes while the balloon is in place and for six months afterwards. “Orbera is safe and effective. On average, patients lose three times more weight with Orbera than through diet and exercise alone,” says Dr. Salameh.