Grand View Health has created a new bariatric program to offer weight-loss surgery and related services to patients suffering from obesity and obesity-related illnesses.
The Bariatric & Metabolic Institute, led by surgeon Dr. Michael Fishman, officially opened earlier this month in West Rockhill with its first surgeries, but had been accepting patients since January.
“We assessed the needs in our community to understand the area’s top health concerns,” Grand View president and CEO Jean Keeler said in an email. “We found a troubling number of adults in our service area are currently obese or overweight, and with Dr. Fishman onboard at the hospital, we knew it was the right time to offer a dedicated bariatric surgery and weight loss program. Our mission is to lead the community to a healthier future, and we are confident the new Bariatric & Metabolic Institute will give us the opportunities to do so.”
More than 78 million U.S. adults are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 24 million are severely or morbidly obese, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery estimates.
Obesity can lead to chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, as well other illnesses such as stroke and certain types of cancer.
An estimated 179,000 patients received bariatric surgery in 2013, up from 158,000 in 2011, according to statistics from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Such surgeries cost between $11,500 and $26,000, on average, the society says, but many insurance companies are now covering the procedures.
Grand View’s Bariatric & Metabolic Institute offers three types of weight-loss surgery: gastric banding, an outpatient procedure that involves implanting an inflatable band around a small portion of the stomach; sleeve gastrectomy, in which about 80 percent of the stomach is removed; and gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y, the most common type of weight-loss surgery, which involves bypassing much of the stomach.
“There are a lot of patients who thought about bariatric surgery,” Fishman said, “but it wasn’t at Grand View, and they didn’t want to go elsewhere.”
Fishman leads a team that includes a physician assistant, patient navigator, registered dietitians and additional support staff who help patients not only through the surgery, but on making lifestyle changes so they can be successful in losing weight.
“Its most important piece is, it’s not just one surgeon,” he said. “It’s a group of people collaborating to provide the patient a fail-safe way to succeed.”