Weight loss doctors in Savannah, Georgia
Memorial Health is home to the only comprehensive bariatric surgery program in Savannah. Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, can help patients experiencing obesity reach a healthy weight and improve their overall well-being.
Our bariatrics team is committed to helping you succeed in your long-term weight loss goals. We provide post-operative resources to ensure that you are able to lose weight and keep it off. Bariatric support groups are offered, so you can discuss your experience with other patients who are going through the same process.
Completion of our bariatrics program can result in dramatic weight loss, increased confidence in physical appearance and mental health benefits.
To learn more about our bariatrics program, please contact our Consult-A-Nurse® team at (912) 350-9355.
Memorial Health is an Accredited Bariatric Surgery Center recognized by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation & Quality Improvement Program.
About our weight loss center
Bariatric surgery is considered a major medical procedure that requires preoperative education and post-surgical recovery. However, there are many benefits associated with significant weight loss including:
- Heightened self-esteem
- Improved health
- Increased mobility
- Longer life span
For most patients, the potential for health benefits exceeds any possible risks associated with surgical complications. Our weight loss surgeons take time to educate every patient about risk factors and their bariatric surgery options.
Bariatric surgery is a tool to aid in significant weight loss, but it is only successful when patients follow the required postoperative lifestyle and eating changes. Every patient's success is dependent upon how closely they follow the diet, exercise and vitamin requirements following surgery.
Bariatric programs and workshops
Our bariatrics program connects patients to resources that provide support throughout the weight loss journey. Our hospital sponsors two programs:
- Back on Track—This program is for patients who feel like they have lost focus and/or hit a plateau in their weight loss journey. Designed by Bariatric Support Centers International, the program offers education and motivation to help patients reach and maintain their weight loss goals. This program is available for any patient who has received weight loss surgery, regardless of where it was performed.
- Success Habits—In this program, patients learn about the principles of weight loss and how to incorporate healthy habits into their own lifestyle. Patients also have the chance to meet other weight loss surgery patients, enjoy healthy refreshments and win door prizes.
To register for either of these programs, please call us at (912) 350-3428 or (912) 350-DIET.
Weight loss procedures
Our bariatrics clinic offers multiple options for weight loss surgery, including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and bariatric revision. Each procedure offers a different surgical strategy to weight loss, and your doctor will assist you in choosing the best option for you.
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure is considered to be the gold standard for weight loss surgery and is one of the most commonly performed bariatric procedures in the U.S. This surgery helps patients feel full sooner, reducing the desire to overeat.
During the procedure, the surgeon uses a stapling device to create a small stomach pouch. The remainder of the stomach is not removed, but it is completely separated from the new pouch. This surgery helps patients feel full sooner, reducing the desire to overeat.
Sleeve gastrectomy, also called gastric sleeve, is considered a restrictive procedure, meaning it reduces the amount of food a person can consume.
During a sleeve gastrectomy, a large portion of the stomach is removed and the remainder is shaped into a thin tube with a pouch at the bottom. The surgeon removes the portion of the stomach that is more prone to stretching. Although, the remaining portion of the stomach is still susceptible to stretching over time. The stomach remains attached to the intestines.
Additionally the pylorus, a muscular valve at the bottom of the stomach, is left in place. This help prevent dumping syndrome, which occurs when food moves too fast into the small intestine. Patients who undergo sleeve gastrectomy must take B12 supplements for life.
Advantages of sleeve gastrectomy
This procedure offers several advantages over other types of weight loss surgery, including:
- Fewer problems with vitamin deficiency
- No need for postoperative adjustments
- No use of implanted devices that could fail or become infected
- Very rare occurrence of intestinal obstruction
In the first year after surgery, patients who underwent a sleeve gastrectomy may lose between 33 to 80 percent of their excess body weight.
Risks of sleeve gastrectomy
Each bariatric procedure comes with its own potential for surgical complications. Sleeve gastrectomy is an irreversible procedure and does carry a small risk of a leak or bleeding during the early postoperative period.
Additionally, patients may be at an increased risk for developing blood clots in the legs that can travel to the lungs. Patients can help lower this risk through early walking, using compression boots or anti-embolism stockings and taking small doses of a blood thinner.
Sometimes, past weight loss surgeries need to be changed or redone. Revision surgery is offered regardless of where your first surgery was performed.
Revision surgery may be needed if a patient's stomach structure has changed over time and requires repair. It may also be performed if a patient has experienced weight regain.
Diet and life after bariatric surgery
During postoperative recovery, patients stay in the dedicated bariatric surgery unit. This unit is staffed by nurses with special training to meet the unique needs of surgical weight loss patients. Following hospital discharge, patients have access to a nurse 24/7 via telephone. Additionally, patients will attend scheduled appointments with an exercise physiologist and dietitian.
Patients are asked to attend regular weight loss support group meetings. Research has shown that adequate support is crucial to weight loss success. Meetings occur twice a month in Mercer Auditorium inside the Hoskins Center on the hospital campus. Additional monthly meetings are offered in surrounding communities.
Required changes in eating habits
After weight loss surgery, permanent changes must be made to your daily eating habits, such as:
- Avoid carbonated drinks, alcohol, high-calorie nutritional supplements and milkshakes.
- Chew solid foods, such as steak, thoroughly.
- Cut out foods that list sugar as one of the first three ingredients from your diet.
- Eliminate foods with high-fat and high-fiber content.
- Limit snacking to between meals.
- Stop drinking fluids while eating, you must wait 90 minutes after eating before drinking any type of fluid.
- Take vitamin supplements as directed by your doctor.
Following a sleeve gastrectomy
After a sleeve gastrectomy, you will remain in the hospital for two to three nights. Once you have recovered from the anesthesia, you will begin a liquid diet that you will follow for several weeks. You will also start doing simple exercises from your bed just four hours after surgery. You will experience slight discomfort following surgery, but pain relief will be provided as needed.
You will return to the hospital for postoperative follow-up visits after two weeks, four weeks, three months, six months and one year. Following the one year mark, you will return annually to ensure long-term success. During these visits a member of the bariatric team will:
- Check your strength
- Check your weight
- Measure certain parts of your body
- Perform additional tests as needed
Check-ups help make certain you are healthy and following diet and exercise guidelines.
Returning to life after surgery
Your ability to resume normal activities will depend on your physical condition and the nature of the activity. Many patients are able to return to their pre-surgical activity levels within six weeks following surgery. Patients who are eligible for a minimally invasive approach may be able to return to normal activities within a few weeks.
Pregnancy and weight loss surgery
It is strongly advised that women of childbearing age use at least two effective forms of birth control during the first 16 to 24 months following a weight loss procedure. Pregnancy places additional demands on the body that may result in increased complications during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your pregnancy plans and how to manage them throughout weight loss.