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It’s often said that the best way to lose weight is through diet and exercise. That is true for many, but not all.
For some individuals, bariatric surgery may be a viable option, but they might not understand what this surgery involves. In addition, choosing a doctor and a hospital can be confusing and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.
Bariatric surgery is sometimes called weight loss surgery. More precisely, it is metabolic surgery. Through this procedure, experts in this field can address the health effects of being overweight – the metabolic consequences such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and other illnesses. These conditions not only lead to poor quality of life, but to increased hospital admissions and even early death.
Bariatric surgery is a way to address those conditions when excess weight is the cause.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) determined the criteria for bariatric surgery to be for individuals who are 100 pounds or more overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more; or 80 pounds overweight with a BMI of 35 or more and with medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and other associated conditions. Candidates must be at least 16 years of age, and candidates may be considered into their late 60s depending on their overall health status.
At Lifespan, we are the only program in the region that is qualified to perform this procedure on adolescents, beginning at age 16.
When choosing a hospital for bariatric surgery, there are several things to consider.
Like choosing a hospital, there are many considerations for selecting a physician as well.
Nurses play a critical role in the care of patients. Bariatric surgery patients are no exception. Here at The Miriam Hospital, we have nurses specifically assigned to the care of bariatric surgery patients in a dedicated area of the hospital. In addition, the nurses at The Miriam Hospital have received Magnet designation five times. This is the highest nursing credential available and we are one of only four hospitals in the world to have earned this recognition five times.
In addition to our specially trained physicians and our exceptional nurses, we have a dedicated team of dieticians working side by side with the surgeon. Patients also meet our behavioral therapist and medical specialists throughout the process. These critical team members will see you before surgery, while you’re in the hospital, and after your surgery. Our team follows you for the entire journey. That way, you know the team and they know you.
Over the past 20 years, not only have bariatric surgery techniques improved, but so too have surgeon experience and quality improvement programs. The safety record of this operation has been stellar, with mortality rates as low as 0.13 percent, which is comparable to gallbladder surgery.
Here at our Center for Bariatric Surgery, our team is always with you -- in the surgeon’s office, the operating room, through recovery, and throughout your life.
Learn more about our program and how we can help you.
Dr. Siva Vithiananthan is a surgeon and the chief of minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at the Center for Bariatric Surgery at Lifespan, located on The Miriam Hospital campus. He specializes in laparoscopic surgical procedures, both bariatric and non-bariatric, while his research focuses on weight loss advanced surgical techniques and their metabolic and physiological effects. He is also National Surveyor for the MBSAQIP program. He and his colleagues at the Center for Bariatric Surgery are all members of the faculty at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.