Weight Loss Surgery Is Only the Beginning
Whatever surgical option you choose for your weight loss surgery, Christopher You, MD; Holly Herbert, clinical exercise physiologist; and Ginny Andreasik, RN, BSN, are there to help you on your journey. "Our patients are always thanking me, but I’m the one who should be thanking them," says Ginny Andreasik. As program coordinator for the Bariatric Institute at MedStar Franklin Square, Ginny helps patients have a positive experience with bariatric (weight loss) surgery.
"Bariatric surgery is just a tool," Ginny says. "You have to know how to use it." For the best chance of long term weight loss, patients need to change how they eat, exercise and cope with stress. At the Bariatric Institute at MedStar Franklin Square, patients take weekly classes for six months before surgery to learn about making changes for life. The classes are taught by nurses, dietitians and exercise physiologists. It’s a comprehensive approach to a complete lifestyle makeover.
Thanks to what they learn, patients begin shedding pounds even before their surgery date arrives. This gives them a running start on the larger weight loss afterward. "Patients who have lost weight preoperatively in our classes have had tremendous success postoperatively," says Christopher You, MD, medical director of the Bariatric Institute.
For those who have previously participated in a weight loss program,there is an accelerated three-month class. And for those who have already completed a full six-month course at another hospital, there is a detailed two hour consultation with an exercise physiologist and the program coordinator.
A Range of Options
Along with getting information and support, having the right choices available are crucial. "We offer a range of surgical options," says Dr. You. "That means patients can get the procedure that’s optimal for them in terms of weight loss, health improvement and reduced risk."
Dr. You performs minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, using long, slender tools inserted through small incisions. Compared with traditional surgery, laparoscopic procedures generally lead to less pain and a faster recovery.
Three types of surgeries are offered:
- Lap-Band. An adjustable band is placed around the top of the stomach, which limits how much the patient can eat at once.
- Laparoscopic gastric bypass. The stomach is stapled to limit food intake, and the small bowel is rerouted to reduce how much food is absorbed.
- Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. Most of the stomach is removed. "This newer procedure has been showing very good results," says Dr. You.
A Change for Life
The caring doesn't stop once the surgery is over. Follow-up visits continue for at least five years afterward.
"We have a motto: Once a patient always a patient," Ginny says. "If patients ever have a problem, we support them. If they forget something they learned in one of our classes, they can always come back and retake the class."
Ginny serves as a personal guide for patients throughout their weight loss journey. "Lifestyle change is hard. Everybody needs someone who can help them stay on track, I enjoy being that person for our patients."
Join us for an information session, where you can speak with our bariatric surgeon to discuss your options. Call 443-777-7900 for more information.