Growing obesity epidemic spurs education sessions on weight-loss surgeries

Dr. Edward Livingston

DALLAS — March 11, 2008 — UT Southwestern Medical Center is now offering free monthly education sessions for potential patients interested in weight-loss surgery. Each session includes information about medical, dietary and insurance-related requirements.

Those interested can call UT Southwestern’s Clinical Center for the Management of Obesity at 214-645-2900 to sign up for the 90-minute evening sessions, which are scheduled the first and third Thursdays of each month at UT Southwestern University Hospital - Zale Lipshy.

UT Southwestern is one of the few institutions in the nation that offers all types of bariatric procedures. The Clinical Center for the Management of Obesity is a regional referral center, and its Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery has been named a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery. It also is one of only seven facilities in North America, and the only one in Texas accredited by the American College of Surgeons for its $2 million training lab.

Bariatric surgeries, which are usually reserved for people more than 100 pounds overweight, have become more widely accepted over the past decade as a safe and effective method for long-term weight loss. The procedures also can help resolve related medical problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Those successful outcomes, combined with a growing number of obese people, have spurred a sevenfold increase in obesity surgery.

“As one of the top bariatric surgery programs, we receive a lot of inquiries about the process and requirements involved in weight-loss surgery,” said bariatric surgeon Dr. David Provost, associate professor of GI/endocrine surgery and director of the Clinical Center for the Management of Obesity. “Weight-loss surgery is a significant, life-altering decision and these sessions give people a one-stop place to get as much information as possible.”

The sessions cover a host of topics, including:

  • How weight-loss surgery works;
  • Types of weight-loss surgery, including differences between Lap Band and gastric bypass;
  • Risks and benefits of each type of surgery;
  • How bariatric surgery impacts other medical conditions;
  • Dietary and lifestyle changes before and after surgery;
  • Insurance requirements; and
  • What to expect after surgery.

Clinicians will be on site to collect information needed for those wishing to schedule their first doctor visit.

More than 140,000 gastric bypass procedures are now performed annually in the U.S. Despite the number of bariatric surgeries performed, they are still dwarfed by the eligible population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly one-third of adult Americans — more than 60 million people — are obese, with nearly 5 percent of adults classified as extremely obese; more than 100,000 people die from obesity-related disease each year.

Studies indicate that nonsurgical therapies for morbidly obese patients are uniformly unsuccessful for sustained weight loss, while weight loss through bariatric surgery can be achieved and sustained, said Dr. Edward Livingston, chief of GI/endocrine surgery at UT Southwestern and chairman of the Veteran’s Administration Central Office Bariatric Surgery Work Group.

Selecting an experienced bariatric surgeon and proper preparation for bariatric surgeries are crucial factors in better outcomes, he added.

UT Southwestern physicians, for instance, have crafted a special diet plan that includes a liquid protein formula to help meet insurance requirements and improve patients’ outcomes.

UT Southwestern bariatric specialists have performed approximately 4,000 procedures and have trained more than 100 surgeons from across the U.S. UT Southwestern surgeons were the first in North Texas to do laparoscopic gastric-bypass surgeries, as well as completing the first laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery in Texas in 1999. In 2001 they were the first in the Dallas area approved to perform the Lap Band procedure.

As an academic medical center, UT Southwestern’s recognized multidisciplinary approach reaches beyond the clinical setting. UT Southwestern recently received a five-year, $22 million grant from the National Institutes of Health aimed at investigating the causes, effects and treatments for obesity.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in bariatrics.


Media Contact: Russell Rian

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