According to Kent, bariatric surgery includes the lap-band procedure, which places an adjustable band at the top of the stomach to limit food intake and hunger. Also, the older, more difficult procedure of Roux-En-Y, or gastric bypass, has been performed for years.
But on Wednesday and Thursday, Kent will perform six Gastric Sleeve procedures, which actually removes the greater curve portion of the stomach, decreasing its size.
It really restricts the amount you can eat, he said, adding, This is a much simpler, less-risky procedure.
While six patients are lined up for the surgery, which takes a couple hours to complete, on Wednesday and Thursday, Kent said the patients have been working with him and other professionals for months.
Kents Cumberland Surgical Specialists office includes physical therapists and dieticians, as well as psychologists to walk patients through the extensive pre-surgery process that includes multiple weight-loss strategies.
They go through months of supervised weight-loss before insurance will cover them, Kent said.
In the months leading up to the surgery, he noted the patient must exhibit the inability to lose weight through diet, exercise or other means. Professional dieticians work with patients beforehand to see how they can improve the food a patient eats.
Also, Kent said patients work with the physical therapists on a specific exercise routine. He said there are patients who lose weight from those pre-surgery months of exercise and supervised diets. However, many are unable to lose the weight and wind up having the surgery.
Obesity is a common problem in the United States, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting in 2010 that no state had met the Healthy People 2010 obesity target of 15 percent.
According to Kent, obesity is categorized as having a Body Mass Index of greater than or equal to 30. An individuals BMI is determined by comparing their height and weight.
Kent said Tennessees obesity rate has worsened during the past 20 years. In 1991, he noted, 15 percent of Tennessee residents were considered obese and in 2008 the number had doubled to 30 percent.
America isnt winning its battle with being overweight, Kent said. America is blessed with a Burger King and McDonalds on every corner, and Americans dont pick the healthiest foods to eat.
Diet is a large part of losing weight, as he noted, and the human body is very efficient. But even the new bariatric surgery offered at UMC can be unsuccessful in the long run if a patient continues to have a poor diet.
The doctor said following the surgery, patients will spend one or two nights in the hospital for observation and will then live on a liquid diet for a couple weeks. He pointed out there are companies that make specific shakes and liquid foods for this type of diet.
After the liquid diet is complete, Kent said patients can go right back to eating normal foods, but have to continue a healthy diet.
Unfortunately, I dont have a surgery that cant be defeated with the right diet, he laughed.
He said one issue with the gastric sleeve procedure is for a patient to get enough protein in their diet. He said when eating he encourages patients to begin with their low-fat beef or meat first when eating a meal as they will eat less and fill up faster.
People have to relearn their relationship with food, he added.
Kent noted bariatric surgery could help prevent a number of health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and even sleep apnea. He said obese individuals spend 42 percent more on medical costs and over 80 percent more on prescriptions due to other health issues that arise from obesity.
With UMC now offering bariatric surgery procedures, Kent said people in the local community and in surrounding counties could now come to Lebanon as opposed to Nashville or Clarksville for these procedures.
He noted the key location of Lebanon makes it an ideal center for medical services for many counties around Wilson. He said the quality of local healthcare coupled with the smaller size of Lebanon, makes it a more attractive option than traveling to downtown Nashville.
Lebanon is close enough and big enough to offer things you can get downtown but a lot closer and more convenient, Kent said.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at email@example.com.