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HMHEB Offers Gastric Band Weight-Loss Technique
12/20/2002

BEDFORD, Texas – Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital and Robert Sewell, M.D., are now offering a comprehensive weight management program utilizing an adjustable gastric band system as a minimally invasive surgical solution for long-term weight loss.

When positioned around the upper portion of the stomach, the adjustable gastric band creates a small stomach pouch that can hold only a small amount of food. The small outlet created by the band allows food to pass through to the lower portion of the stomach more slowly. The restrictive effect of the band creates a sense of fullness after a very small meal and helps control hunger. The band serves as a constant reminder that helps each patient develop new, healthier eating habits and control the urge to overeat.

"Morbid obesity is a serious disease that affects 8 percent of Americans and has a devastating impact on their lives," Sewell said. "While no single treatment is effective or even appropriate for everyone, for those motivated individuals who have tried everything else, a comprehensive weight management program that includes the adjustable gastric band can offer hope for regaining control over obesity."

Approved by the Federal Drug Administration in May 2001, the device is implanted laparoscopically, avoiding the need for a large incision and allowing for a quicker recovery than the traditional gastric bypass surgery.

The inner surface of the band can be inflated with saline solution or deflated, allowing the size of the stomach to be customized to each individual’s changing weight loss needs. The band is connected by a tube to a reservoir that is implanted under the skin during surgery. After surgery, the surgeon adjusts the tightness of the band by injecting saline through the reservoir.

"The biggest advantages to the gastric band are that it is reversible, adjustable and can be customized for each individual," Sewell said. "It does not change the anatomy or the digestive process."

According to Sewell, most gastric band program participants lose at least 50 percent of their excess body weight within two years after surgery.

The gastric band program is offered by Sewell and Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital as a major component of a comprehensive program that includes regular exercise and dietary management. Before being considered for the program, patients must:

  • Be 18 to 62 years old
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 40 kg/m2 or an average of 100 pounds overweight, or have a BMI of more than 35kg/m2 with one or more additional health problems affected by obesity
  • Have been overweight for more than five years
  • Have had only short-term success at serious attempts to lose weight
  • Not be suffering from any other disease that could have caused them to be overweight
  • Be prepared to make substantial changes in their eating habits and lifestyle, and to continue being monitored by the treating specialist
  • Not drink alcohol in excess

Prior to being confirmed as a candidate for the gastric band program, every patient is evaluated by a psychologist at Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital. Every patient meets with a dietitian to discuss proper nutrition and a new plan for eating with the band. Patients also begin an exercise program guided by an exercise physiologist at the hospital’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center.

"This program is 90 percent patient and 10 percent gastric band," Sewell said. "The band just serves as a constant reminder to avoid overeating. Patients who commit to their new eating pattern and adopt a regular exercise routine after surgery have the best long-term results."

For more information about the gastric band or other minimally invasive surgical procedures, log on to www.robertsewellmd.com. Robert Sewell is a member of the medical staff and is not an employee of Texas Health Resources.

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