Lee Memorial Health System Bariatric Center Offers Personalized Approach to Weight Loss

Upcoming seminars to feature comprehensive, holistic program to combat obesity

Fort Myers, FL, January 15, 2010 --(PR.com)-- Obesity is a growing problem in the United States and more specifically, in Florida. According to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 24.4 percent of Florida’s population was classified as obese in 2007. Lee County’s population, scored higher at 25.4 percent.

As obesity has become a deeper and more widespread condition, the number of people undergoing weight loss surgery has also grown dramatically over the past few years. The American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery reports that 220,000 Americans had some form of bariatric, or weight loss, surgery in 2008. The most common procedures nationwide are gastric banding and gastric bypass, and a newer procedure known as a sleeve gastrectomy is also growing in popularity. People considering bariatric surgery may have heard about all of these options, but they may not realize that one of the nation’s most experienced surgeons practices right here in Southwest Florida at Lee Memorial Health System’s Bariatric Center.

Moses Shieh, D.O., FACOS, leads LMHS’ holistic bariatric and weight management practice, which includes surgery, ongoing support groups and activities, revisional surgery and post-weight loss body contouring. “Bariatric surgery isn’t a ‘magic bullet’ for massive weight loss,” Dr. Shieh says. “Rather, it can be the first step, combined with ongoing support and lifestyle changes such as exercise and diet, to help patients lose weight and live healthier lives.”

The first step in determining whether or not you are a candidate for bariatric surgery is determining your body mass index. To determine yours, multiply your weight in pounds by 703. Divide that answer by your height in inches. Divide that answer by your height in inches again. Generally, patients with a body mass index of 40 or higher are candidates, but those with a body mass index of at least 35 may be considered if they also have an obesity-related disease such as Type II diabetes or sleep apnea.

Once it is determined that you are a candidate, several pieces of the LMHS program fit together to meet your needs. All patient plans include one-on-one meetings with a dietician, program coordinator and Dr. Shieh, as well as ongoing support groups. However, the procedures, and potential additional support tools such as the online support program through gastric band maker Realize®, will vary. Bariatric procedures offered in the LMHS program include the following:

Gastric banding with LAP-BAND® or Realize® band: An adjustable, silicon band is placed around the top of the stomach, forming a small pouch at the top. As you eat, the pouch fills quickly and food is passed through the rest of the stomach and digestive process slowly. This creates a feeling of fullness, and patients are not able to eat the same amount of food.

Gastric bypass: This procedure surgically staples off most of the stomach, except for a small pouch at the top. The small intestine is connected directly to this pouch, so a large portion of the stomach and portion of the small intestine is bypassed. This reduces both the amount of food patients can eat, as well as reduces the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs.

Sleeve gastrectomy: Most of the stomach is removed, leaving a banana-shaped sleeve that can hold approximately 15 percent of the food the full stomach held. The removed portion of the stomach is responsible for secreting a hormone that causes hunger, so while patients are not able to eat as much as they formerly did, they also don’t get as hungry.

“All aspects of our program, from the surgery itself to the follow up support groups, are done locally,” Dr. Shieh says. “Most surgeries are performed at Lee Memorial Hospital and support group sessions are held at both Lee Memorial Hospital and Cape Coral Hospital. We are also working on expanding our presence and offerings in the Bonita Springs area.”

People interested in learning more about bariatric surgery and LMHS’ weight loss program can do so at one of several upcoming complimentary educational seminars. Seating is limited, so reservations are requested. Please call 239-343-9966 to reserve your spot.

Thursday, Jan. 21
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Lee Memorial Hospital

Tuesday, Jan. 26
Part of Lee Memorial Health System’s Well Informed Lecture Series
5 – 6:30 p.m.
Hyatt Place Coconut Point, Estero

Thursday, Feb. 18
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Cape Coral Hospital

About Moses Shieh, D.O., FACOS
Moses Shieh, D.O., FACOS, is one of the area’s most experienced bariatric surgeons and was one of the first in the nation to perform the sleeve gastrectomy procedure. He earned his medical degree from Des Moines University in Iowa and completed his residency at Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center, an affiliate of Michigan State University. He completed fellowships in laparoscopic bariatric surgery with Northeast Surgical Group – Great Lakes Bariatric Treatment Center and in cosmetic surgery through the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. He is board certified in general surgery and board eligible in cosmetic surgery. More information on Dr. Shieh and Lee Memorial Health System’s bariatric program can be found online at www.TheBariatricCenter.org.

Lee Memorial Health System
Erika Houser
239 278 3900