Beebe Medical Center Now Offers Bariatric Surgery
Beebe Medical Center is taking a comprehensive approach to treating patients with obesity and has recently added surgery for the treatment of obesity, or “bariatric surgery.” Beebe Medical Center will perform the most commonly performed procedure, the “Roux-en-Y” or “gastric bypass” procedure.
Beebe recognizes obesity as a serious health problem throughout our country. As many as one-third of Americans is considered obese; another third is classified as overweight, according to the American Obesity Association. Obesity causes secondary complications, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes (which is an increasing concern for adolescents as well), heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. It leads to at least 300,000 deaths and healthcare costs up to $100 billion annually. Moreover, obesity takes considerable emotional and physical health tolls on those who are obese or “morbidly obese.” Diet and exercise alone are not effective for some individuals to regain better health and overall well-being.
"Obesity is on the rise in this country, taking a devastating toll on both adults and children, and impacting our nation's healthcare system. It is important to understand that many individuals have a genetic predisposition to being morbidly obese, have endured social stigma, and likely have developed other health complications that prevent them from even beginning an exercise program," explains Dr. Alae Zarif, Medical Director of Beebe Medical Center's bariatric surgery program. "Bariatric surgery is a serious step, so we evaluate patients carefully to achieve the best possible outcome for their success, which will depend upon modifying eating habits and exercising for long-term overall health."
To be candidates for the surgery, patients must consult with their physicians and meet the following criteria, as based on National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines:
At least 100 pounds over ideal body weight
Weight limit of 400 pounds
Body Mass Index (BMI - a relationship between height and weight) between 35-40 with two co-morbidities (health complications)
BMI between 40-50 with no co-morbidities
Age limit 18-60 years
Documentation of failed medically supervised weight loss
Patients will be required to meet with the registered dietician and program coordinator and attend at least one support group meeting prior to surgery.
The Roux-en-Y procedure involves bypassing a portion of the small intestine, making a direct connection between the small intestine and a pouch that is inserted into the stomach. It is therefore both malabsorptive (prevents absorption of foods) and restrictive (limits the amount of food that patients can consume), resulting in significant weight loss.
Surgery is only one component of Beebe’s overall program for obesity, which Beebe developed after many hours of research, a site visit to Christiana Care, and correspondence with hospitals with successful programs in place. Additionally, Beebe conducted sensitivity training and education about the clinical and emotional aspects of obesity for its staff members who will assist bariatric patients.
A person’s success at keeping the weight off will depend on a lifelong commitment to dietary changes and physical effort, as well as peer support. To support patients and promote sustained success, Beebe Medical Center is offering monthly support group meetings for patients who have had the surgery and for those who are considering surgery. The meetings are the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Tunnell Cancer Center waiting area. Please call Marie Berntsen, RN, Coordinator of Beebe’s Bariatric Surgery Program at 645-3100 x3623 for further information.