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Weight Loss Options Built for Your Needs

Posted February 21, 2021 by Dr. John Zografakis

Woman at the gym working out

Obesity and the need to lose weight is a deeply personal journey. With many new medical options available, it can be difficult to select the best individual approach to be successful with long-term weight loss.

Obesity is the second-highest cause of preventable deaths in the United States. The rate at which obesity has worsened over the past 20 years, especially in the state of Ohio is alarming, and there is now a growing amount of national attention focused on the problem. In 2012, the American Medical Association finally declared obesity to be a disease.

The reality is that it takes hard work and time to undo the eating behaviors and choices that lead to obesity. “Fad” diets are universally unsuccessful without making definitive lifestyle and behavioral modifications that will lead to long-term success.

The Weight Management Institute at Summa Health provides many individual options available to help you begin your weight loss journey no matter how many pounds you are trying to shed, including:

Medical Nutrition Therapy and Nutrition Education:

Sometimes patients just need the help of a dietitian. A registered dietitian can approach obesity through either medical nutrition therapy or nutrition education.

Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) involves registered dietitians treating medical conditions such as obesity through the use of nutrition assessment and intervention techniques. This also includes patient education. The dietitian uses the patient’s medical history and a dietary history to develop an appropriate plan. The plan is reviewed with the patient, and the patient is monitored at regular intervals to determine progress made and the need for modifications to the plan.

Patients that do not have a condition which qualifies them to use their MNT insurance benefit, or who do not have insurance, can still see a registered dietitian for a Nutrition Education appointment for a low out-of-pocket fee. Nutrition Education is a less intensive approach to treating obesity provided by a registered dietitian. The focus is on educating the patient regarding topics such as meal planning, nutrient content, portion sizes and label reading. A physician referral is not needed for nutrition education.

Nonsurgical Weight Management Program:

Summa Health’s comprehensive nonsurgical weight management program, led by fellowship trained Obesity Medicine Physicians is a multidisciplinary approach to help you reach your long-term weight loss goals. This team also includes regular visits with the dedicated program psychologists and dietitians. The initial intensive phase lasts for six months and then follow-up continues for an additional 18 months at a decreasing frequency to ensure you reach your goal. Healthy weight management begins with reaching your goal weight, and then continues with maintenance of that weight. Many people have cycled through weight loss and regained multiple times throughout their life. Through the two-year program, and for your lifetime, you will continue to see your Summa Health weight management doctor to prevent you from regaining the weight you worked so hard to lose.

Individual Physician and Psychologist Visits for Weight Loss:

This is an option for those who cannot do a full-time program or want the physician or behavioral component only. These services can help with individualized meal planning or for patients who have medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or pregnancy. In addition, the psychologist can help with those who struggle with eating in response to emotions or stress or who struggle with depression and anxiety.

Surgical Weight Loss:

Once conservative nonsurgical attempts fail and a person’s weight is roughly 100 pounds overweight, surgical weight loss becomes an option. Only 1 out of 20 patients with morbid obesity will lose weight and successfully keep it off for the long-term. Many patients feel helpless and stuck in the repetitive weight loss and weight gain cycle. In addition, patients often develop diabetes (type 2 Diabetes Mellitus), hypertension and heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, joint pain, high cholesterol and even several types of cancers as a result of their obesity. Many of these medical problems will be cured or dramatically improved after successful weight loss surgery.

Weight loss surgery is safe and is actually safer than heart surgery, joint replacement and even gallbladder surgery. The Weight Management Institute at Summa Health – Akron Campus is a MBSAQIP Accredited- Comprehensive Center, or Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. We meet rigorous program guidelines set by the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery that directly benefits each patient. The surgical program begins with an Introductory Visit. This visit can be completed in person or through a virtual platform to accommodate social distancing. Patients complete medical intake forms that are reviewed at your initial appointment with the surgeon. This is also an opportunity to ask questions about the process for getting to weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery benefits are verified before scheduling the introductory visit or surgeon visit.

During your surgical evaluation, you will have an individual visit with the surgeon for an evaluation. Our surgeons are board-certified in general surgery and fellowship-trained in advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. The team has completed more than 4,000 minimally invasive weight loss surgeries with excellent outcomes, so you will be in good hands!

There are several surgical options available to Summa Health patients including:

  • Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass: a minimally invasive procedure and the most successful weight loss procedure, this surgery involves creating a small stomach “pouch” with staples separating it from the rest of the stomach. The result is that you eat less food and absorb only part of the food you eat. The procedure also creates a feeling of fullness sooner after eating.
  • Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy: A minimally invasive procedure that involves separating the stomach into two parts to encourage patients to eat less while still feeling full. Digestion occurs through the normal process, so nutrients and vitamins can be fully absorbed into the body.
  • Laparoscopic Revisional Surgery: For patients who already underwent a primary weight loss procedure, this minimally invasive procedure is designed to fix complications from the initial surgery.

    Whether you have a few pounds to lose or a significant amount of weight to shed, we have options that will help you reach your goals. The reasons for obesity are many and varied and require a personalized solution and life-long support. We work with each individual to achieve the best outcome. Talk to your primary care provide about what the best weight loss option is for your needs so you can start your journey toward a significant weight loss.

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    John G Zografakis, MD

    John G Zografakis, MD

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