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Comprehensive Weight Management Center helps patients 'achieve dreams'

December 12th, 2011 10:10 am by Staff Report

Comprehensive Weight Management Center helps patients 'achieve dreams'

Two board-certified surgeons, Andrew Kramer, DO, FACOS, and Mark Kadowaki, MD, FACS, provide three types of bariatric surgery at the center.

There is no "easy fix" for weight loss, but the Comprehensive Weight Management Center at Holston Valley Medical Center (HVMC) is helping patients "achieve dreams of a healthier and lighter life."


Recognized as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), the Center takes an individualized approach to weight loss that focuses on nutrition, exercise and behavior modification. Two board-certified surgeons, Andrew Kramer, DO, FACOS, and Mark Kadowaki, MD, FACS, provide three types of bariatric surgery - gastric bypass, gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy. Choices are offered because one type of surgery does not fit all, plus most surgeries are performed laparoscopically.


Robin McMillan, MSN, FNP-BC, bariatric program coordinator, said many bariatric patients describe the surgery as "life-changing. It is like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. You’ve been inactive and then you are stepping into a new life where you feel better, are healthier, and find joy in living again."


Not all overweight patients are candidates for bariatric surgery. The Comprehensive Weight Management Center uses the National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines to determine a patient’s eligibility for surgery. These guidelines include people who are unable to achieve or maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise, who are severely overweight and who, as a result, have health problems. This includes patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or patients with a BMI between 35 to 39 and who have two or more weight-related problems like diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea.


The Comprehensive Weight Management Center offers a free introductory class in Kingsport on the first Thursday and third Monday of each month. To reserve a spot, interested people pre-register by calling Wellmont Nurse Connection at 423-723-6877 or toll-free at 877-230-6877. The hour-long program provides a realistic view of bariatric procedures and the risks of ongoing weight gain with deteriorating health.


"Surgery is a powerful tool, but to achieve healthy, long-term weight loss means the patient must do their part with a nutritious diet and exercise plan." Referral by a healthcare provider is required for full entry into the weight loss surgery program.


Many insurance companies offer benefits for bariatric surgery because of resulting health improvement. McMillan explained the Center verifies coverage with a patient’s insurance company at initial referral because some policies do not cover the cost of surgery.


"We want patients to understand potential out-of-pocket expenses and payment options up front before they go through the preparation steps."


In order to be recognized as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, there are strict guidelines the Comprehensive Weight Management Center, bariatric surgeons and Holston Valley Medical Center must follow. For example, they must perform a minimum of 125 surgeries per year, have experienced staff, specialized equipment and a Support Group The Center requires the patient to participate in five hours of educational classes prior to surgery and follow-up care is vital to reaching goals.


While there are risks associated with any surgery, a NIH study found the risks of bariatric surgery now are no greater than gallbladder or hip replacement surgery. Risks are lower than the longer-term risk of dying from heart disease, diabetes and other consequences related to carrying more weight than a patient’s organs can tolerate.


To learn more about the Comprehensive Weight Management Center and bariatric surgery, call 423-224-5699 and visit the Wellmont website at http://www.wellmont.org/ under Medical Services (weight loss).

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