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Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

Oct. 29, 2009

Durham, NC- The Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery offers treatment options for people who are more than 100 pounds overweight with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or a BMI of 35 and significant medical complications, such as Type 2 diabetes, joint problems, heart disease or sleep apnea.

After discussing the situation with their physician, patients should contact their insurance company to learn their requirements for patients prior to surgery, such as documentation of previous attempts to lose weight or participation in a non-surgical weight control program.

“One of the biggest challenges for bariatric surgery patients can be gaining insurance approval for the procedure,” says Ranjan Sudan, MD, general surgeon and vice chair for the Surgical Education Department of Surgery and medical director for the Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery. “Patients’ primary care physicians can help them complete the requirements and necessary documentation.”

The next step is to attend a free seminar that provides important information about the weight loss program, obesity and weight-loss surgery. Attendees will complete an application that will help identify any medical problems that may need to be resolved before they can receive clearance to have a weight-loss procedure. The application will also help specialists determine whether a specific individual is a candidate for weight loss surgery and which procedure would achieve optimal results.

The Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery, offers adjustable LAP-BAND®, Roux en Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy.  Roux-en-Y Gastric bypass is performed by sewing a portion of the stomach shut, making the overall size smaller. LapBand surgery is a laparoscopic approach, which places an adjustable band around the top part of the stomach to create a small gastric pouch, reducing the amount of food one can consume. Finally, sleeve gastrectomy is performed laparoscopically, resulting in smaller incisions and shorter recovery times.

“Laparoscopic procedures require a high degree of surgical skill, and our team has performed them hundreds of times,” says Dr. Sudan. “For the right candidates, bariatric surgery is safe and effective way to achieve weight loss that will increase longevity and quality of life.”

The Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery offers a comprehensive approach to surgical weight loss, which includes thorough patient assessment, psychological and nutritional counseling, support groups and comprehensive follow-up care. The Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery is also an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Center of Excellence. The ASMBS Center of Excellence designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes in bariatric surgery.

The Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery’s outpatient clinic is Durham Regional Hospital based and all weight loss surgeries are performed at Durham Regional Hospital.  For more information, visit durhamregional.org/services/weight_loss_surgery.