Bariatric Program receives Level 1 accreditation

By Remekca Owens

UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program has received Level 1 accreditation from the newly formed Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program.

The accreditation group, formed in April 2012, unifies the expertise of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Under this new association, the groups now have one accreditation standard for every bariatric center nationwide.

Bariatric Program Team
Team members involved in helping UT Southwestern’s Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program achieve Level 1 accreditation recently received certificates of appreciation for their efforts. Among those on the team were (from left) Registered Dietitian Courtney Wilson, Dr. Daniel Scott, Dr. Nancy Puzziferri, Dr. Martin Deschner, Physician Assistant Natalia Tan, Dr. Mark Watson, St. Paul University Hospital Director of Nursing Stephanie Huckaby, and Physician Assistant Anna Piazza. (David Gresham Photo)

Bariatric surgery centers with Level 1 accreditation accommodate patients seeking all levels of obesity surgery and meet specific, multidisciplinary standards of care for weight-loss operations. Level 1 centers also perform a high volume of bariatric operations annually and provide comfortable accommodations for patients with morbid obesity such as lifting devices, spacious shower rooms, and special stretchers.

“This three-year accreditation is our commitment that patients will receive the highest-quality care and the best surgical outcomes,” said Dr. Michael J. Lee, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Director of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at UT Southwestern. “Not only do we have great bariatric care, but we also have the best experts in every medical specialty, including cardiology and endocrinology, as well as pulmonary and critical care.”

UT Southwestern’s Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program offers all types of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for patients who are morbidly obese and have obesity-related health complications, including laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and laparoscopic revisional surgery.

Patients are cared for using a multidisciplinary approach from UT Southwestern’s weight management team, which includes bariatric surgeons, coordinators, nutritionists, psychologists, and other specialists that may include cardiologists, endocrinologists, and internists.

“Our approach is to not only treat obesity, but also research its causes and prevention to better understand how to achieve long-term success. Bariatric surgery is a lifelong commitment, so our care does not stop after surgery,” Dr. Lee said.

The program has achieved numerous milestones since its inception in 1999. Among them, UTSW bariatric surgeons performed the first laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in North Texas in 1999; the first laparoscopic adjustable gastric band placement in North Texas in 2001; and the first single-incision laparoscopic adjustable gastric band placement in North Texas in 2008.

UTSW bariatric surgeons have performed more than 4,000 major bariatric operations to date. The group oversees 1,500-plus clinic visits annually. More than 100 board-certified bariatric surgeons have been trained at UT Southwestern.