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Center for Bariatric Surgery at The Miriam Hospital Marks One-Year Anniversary


The Center for Bariatric Surgery at The Miriam Hospital – a combined program that unites nationally recognized bariatric surgeons and staff from Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals into a single program on one campus – recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.

Many former bariatric patients attended a special anniversary reception, where they had the opportunity to thank and celebrate with the surgeons, physicians, nurses, dietitians and other team members who cared for them both before and long after their surgeries. Patients shared their personal weight loss journeys and how bariatric surgery has helped them regain their quality of life, including the fact that their children can now put their arms all away around when giving them a hug, or how they no longer need to take their cholesterol or diabetes medication.

Center for Bariatric Surgery Anniversary 72
Pictured, front row, left to right: Siva Vithiananthan, MD, chief of minimally invasive and bariatric surgery; Kellie Armstrong, RN; Deb Sheran; Sharon Hellmann; Denise Papa; Jim Giroux. Back row, left to right: Cicely Dove; Arlene Silvia; Deb Batista; Scott Mercier; Arthur Sampson, president, The Miriam Hospital.  

“Hearing from patients whose lives have literally been transformed by our surgeons and the entire bariatric care team was both a moving experience and a sober reminder of the toll the obesity epidemic continues to have here in Rhode Island,” said Arthur J. Sampson, president of The Miriam Hospital. “The success of our program reaffirms the high level of personalized and compassionate care that our patients receive when they choose The Miriam Hospital and our multidisciplinary team of bariatric specialists.”

The Miriam Hospital has been offering weight loss surgery since 2007, before the program united with the bariatric surgery program at Rhode Island Hospital. The combined Center performed 315 total bariatric-related cases in its first year and continues to offer a variety of widely attended seminars and support groups for both patients and their families.

The Center for Bariatric Surgery provides a full range of bariatric care services to support patients throughout the entire process, including a thorough physical and psychological preoperative evaluation, free patient support groups, pre- and post-operative counseling and a long-term follow-up plan to help patients commit to the lifestyle changes needed to achieve and maintain successful results.

The multidisciplinary bariatric surgery team includes physicians, Miriam’s Magnet-award winning nurses and nurse practitioners, behavioral therapists, nutritionists, physical therapists, pulmonologists and radiologists with expertise in weight loss surgery and obesity. The Center for Bariatric Surgery also includes a 20-bed surgical intensive care unit designed for the comfort and safety of bariatric surgery patients and their families, including specialized furniture, wider doorways and larger shower stalls. A bariatric surgeon is also available around-the-clock for any emergencies or consults.

“Our goal is not just to help people lose weight, but we want to change their lives by giving them the tools they need to lead a healthier lifestyle,” said Siva Vithiananthan, M.D., chief of minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at The Miriam Hospital and director of the Center for Bariatric Surgery. “It is incredibly rewarding to hear from former patients who tell us how they are now off of their blood pressure medication or are running half marathons and accomplishing other feats they never thought were possible before coming to us for bariatric surgery.”

Both Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals have been recognized as American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence®. The designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of excellence in providing superior and comprehensive bariatric surgery care. The Miriam also has been designated a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

The Center for Bariatric Surgery provides different minimally invasive, or laparoscopic, bariatric surgical techniques, including laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, gastric banding, laparoscopic gastric sleeve resection and bilio-pancreatic duodenal switch surgery procedures. For more information on the Center for Bariatric Surgery or to enroll in the next monthly bariatric patient information seminar, please call 401-793-3922 or visit