NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Denise was suffering from excruciating pain, but surgeons said she needed to lose considerable weight before they could perform hip replacement surgery.
At nearly 300 pounds and unable to walk, she wheeled herself into the offices at the Weight Loss and Bariatric Center at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, desperate for help.
“Today, she weighs about 120 pounds,” said Carlos Aitor Macias, MD, MPH, FACS, surgical director of the Weight Loss and Bariatric Center. “She’s actually within her target weight. She had the two hips replaced. She’s not in pain anymore and walking by herself.”
There have been dozens of success stories like Denise’s since the Weight Loss and Bariatric Center opened in 2018. Dr. Macias and the staff use a proven, healthy weight loss strategy, incorporating nutrition, psychology, physical therapy, exercise and surgery – all while adhering to strict COVID-19 safety guidelines and practices.
Their work has helped patients lose weight, improve their health, regain their vitality and lead richer, freer and more pain-free lives.
Obesity has been proven to contribute to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control. With obesity as a health crisis impacting so many issues, the center has also become is a prudent option for individuals who were previously unable to lose weight on their own.
Many of the clients working with the Weight Loss and Bariatric Center have tried fad diets, intermittent fasting, overtraining in the gym and other methods that just didn’t work in the long run.
The CDC estimates that more than 40% of American adults are obese (a body mass index above 30).
Dr. Macias tells the patients at the initial consultation that the center will show them what to eat, how much to eat, how to exercise and put them on the road to weight loss and better health. But, ultimately, they are in the driver’s seat.
“I tell them – maybe I have a bias because I like cars – that the process of getting back to your ideal weight is like driving from here to New York,” he said. “We can give you a Formula One race car. I can even stop all the traffic on the highway so you will have the best machine you can have on the highways. But I am not driving. None of us are driving. You need to learn how to drive.”
Surgery can also be a valuable tool for some patients.
At the Weight Loss and Bariatric Center, gastric bypass surgery and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy are performed. Dr. Macias said the plan is to also offer revision surgeries – those done to correct a prior one.
The goal is to use the da Vinci Surgical System to perform the surgeries. This device puts a surgeon’s hands at the controls of a robotic platform.
“The benefits of working with the robot are that it allows us to use more tools and optimize utilization of space that is limited inside the abdominal cavity,” he said. “The robot allows for a greater degree of freedom and movement.”
The center hopes to continue to help produce happier and healthier patients – like the one man who told the peer-to-peer support group via video conferencing technology that he had to throw away his old dinner plates.
“He mentioned that his dishware didn’t do him justice any longer because his usual typical portion size before surgery had been so much larger,” Dr. Macias said. “And after surgery, his food was basically occupying one-fifth of the plate. He was like, ‘It doesn’t make any sense for me to put my meal on a plate this big, so I had to change them all.’”
Visit Saint Peter’s website for more information about the Weight Loss and Bariatric Center.