A new weight loss clinic is opening in Wesley Chapel this week.
Bayfront Health Medical Group will open a satellite office at 2718 Windguard Circle, Suite 101 in Wesley Chapel.
The weight loss clinic will allow Bayfront Health Dade City general surgeon Dr. Naga Thatimatla, also known as Dr. Thati, to consult with Wesley Chapel patients, and have one-night stays post-weight loss surgery. The actual surgeries will take place at Bayfront Health Dade City.
Dr. Thati will begin seeing patients on May 13.
He specializes in bariatric surgery, using a technique known as the gastric sleeve, which is a form of laparoscopic (minimal-invasive) surgery removing nearly 80 percent of the stomach.
According to Bayfront Health’s website, the surgery takes out the portion of the stomach that curves outward, called the fundus. Once the fundus is taken out, the remainder of the stomach is closed into a tube shape, resembling a banana. With a much smaller stomach, patients fill up quickly at mealtimes, and ultimately, eat less.
“It makes it easier to lose weight after the surgery,” Dr. Thati said. “People are not struggling to lose weight. They don’t have the hunger, so they don’t have the temptation. A lot of people, when they look at the food, their preferences change.”
The surgeon noted the procedure has quickly become the most popular form of bariatric surgery, due to its simplicity to perform, and its long-term results.
“It has less complications compared to the other procedures like gastric bypass surgery and lap-band surgery. In terms of weight loss, it’s superior compared to the lap-band and comparable to gastric bypass surgery in terms of results,” the surgeon explained, adding it takes him about 40 minutes to perform the procedure.
“Overall, it creates a new life, basically,” he said.
The procedure in essence created a new life for one of his patients, Gail Burkett, a 57-year-old Dade City resident and Bayfront Health employee.
Since entering a six-month weight management program in January 2015 to having the operation in June 2015, Burkett has lost a total of 179 pounds.
“I had never had a ‘full’ feeling, until after I had the surgery. Then I knew what feeling full meant. But I had never had that before,” Burkett said, noting there’s significantly less stress on her knees.
“When I first came to work (at the hospital), I would park as close as I possibly could park to get into the building. Now, I park up on the hill and I walk down every day.”
Not only does Burkett look and feel healthier, but the surgery has also allowed her to discontinue medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes.
“On average, people lose like 100 pounds four to six months after the procedure,” Dr. Thati said. “The basic aim behind this surgery is to improve the quality of life with this problem of obesity — in terms of medications they take before surgery…and the activity level of what they do.”
The surgery is typically reserved for adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater — categorized as “morbidly obese.” Patients with a BMI between 35 and 40 may qualify for the surgery if they are associated with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Nearly 35 percent (or nearly 79 million) of U.S. adults are obese, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s more than double the obesity rate in 1980, which hovered around 15 percent.
“Obesity is exponentially increasing, there’s no doubt about it,” Dr. Thati said.
The bariatric surgeon blames the American environment as one of the key factors for the disturbing obesity rates, in particularly, the omnipresence of unhealthy foods combined with stressful, more sedentary lifestyles.
“The food,” he said, “is the main culprit.”
The surgeon currently does not recommend the procedure for adolescents under 18 years old, since their bodies are still developing.
“We don’t have studies to show how they react, how the body changes…so we don’t want to change anything before their body is complete,” he said.
Though the procedure’s complications are minimal compared to other bariatric techniques, there is about a “2 (percent) to 3 percent chance” of developing blood clots or leaks, the surgeon acknowledged.
“Just like any other procedure, the operation has complications, but less compared to the other kinds of procedures,” he said.
Published May 11, 2016