Less than two years after opening, the Weight Loss & Metabolic Surgery Program at Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) is now a Level 1 Facility, nationally accredited by the American College of Surgeons for providing high quality care and excellent outcomes. The Level 1 designation also means AAMC is a high volume center performing more weight loss operations than the average bariatric surgery center in the U.S.
In the first year of AAMC’s program, led by renowned bariatric surgeon Alex Gandsas, MD, nearly 300 surgeries were performed including sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, and gastric lapband surgery (see sidebar for explanations, below). The program started in July 2012, and since then, more than 450 weight loss surgeries have been performed.
“Our weight loss surgery program is one of the fastest growing in the state of Maryland,” says Gandsas. “We have one of the most comprehensive centers in the mid-Atlantic region which offers significant support to patients before, during and after their procedure. We help them prepare for surgery through visits with our dietitian where patients learn about nutrition, diet and portion size. They also take part in our unique Bariatric Optimization Program (BOP) in which patients undergo physical therapy and medically supervised exercise to improve their health before surgery.”
AAMC has a special weight loss support group that meets every two weeks for patients who want to connect with others who are having the surgery, or with patients who have already had the procedure. Patients must wait six months before having bariatric (weight loss) surgery. After the procedure, it can take up to a year for patients to reach their goal weight.
“Our patients receive a significant amount of support and encouragement from our specially trained staff which includes a certified bariatric nurse and a certified bariatric dietitian,” says Gandsas.
As a Level 1 Facility, the hospital meets rigorous standards for bariatric surgery and demonstrates high quality surgical care by bariatric surgeons. These standards apply to AAMC’s clinical practices, patient outcomes, facilities, and represent best practices in the field of weight loss surgery. In addition, AAMC offers comfortable accommodations for obese patients such as lifting devices, spacious shower rooms, and special chairs and stretchers.
As a Level 1 bariatric surgery program, AAMC meets several core standards around:
-commitment to quality care
-appropriate equipment and instruments
-critical care support
The bariatric center participates in the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, sponsored jointly by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Health Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
“After weight loss surgery, many patients who have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even sleep apnea are cured, or have greatly reduced symptoms,” says Dr. Gandsas. “These patients have a new outlook on life and are often happier than they have been in many years after their procedure.”
Candidates for Weight Loss Surgery
To qualify for bariatric surgery, individuals must be at least 100 pounds or more overweight and have had little or no success in losing weight on their own. The procedure usually involves a one night hospital stay and patients are back to work in a week.
Free Weight Loss Seminars and Videos
The hospital offers informational seminars two times a month led by Dr. Gandsas who explains all three types of surgeries, the differences between them, and which patients are best for each procedure. Often a former weight loss surgery patient will give a brief talk at the seminar so attendees can ask questions from someone who has undergone the surgery.
To register for a free information seminar on weight loss surgery or watch patient testimonials, visit www.aahs.org/weightloss.