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August 10, 2009- Patient drops 335 pounds Thanks to pioneering weight-loss program At DMC Harper University Hospital

By Tom Nugent

As seen in The Michigan Chronicle

Carlos was working as a registered nurse at a Detroit-area hospital, and he was in desperate trouble. "When Carlos first came to see me about four years ago, he weighed more than 500 pounds," remembers Michael H. Wood, M.D., F.A.C.S., head of the weight-loss program at DMC Harper University Hospital. "He was so overweight that his life was actually in jeopardy."


"Because of his extreme obesity, he was already in the early stages of diabetes, and his blood pressure and blood cholesterol were sky-high. Carlos was simply a heart attack waiting to happen. Because of his condition, he was also struggling with clinical depression." For the 500-pound Carlos, the surgery was a lifechanger.


Dr. Wood felt that Carlos could benefit from Harper's laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery procedure. In this operation, a small pouch is created that limits the amount of food that can be consumed at one time. "Very small, state-of-the-art surgical tools are used in this minimally-invasive procedure and only a few tiny incisions are made. As a result, patients usually experience significantly less pain and faster recovery times than in older forms of surgery where the incision is much longer and deeper," Dr. Wood said.


"I watched this patient go from 500 pounds to his current weight of 165," says Dr. Wood with a cheerful smile. "Today he's a highly energetic, bright-eyed young man with a bounce in his step and a very optimistic attitude. His blood-sugar and cholesterol levels are normal those days, and he no longer takes medication for depression.


In addition to laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, Harper's program offers several other cutting-edge weight-loss techniques. In the gastric sleeve procedure, a large portion of the stomach is actually removed, decreasing the size of the stomach and reducing its ability to stretch. Another procedure is the laparoscopic gastric band, in which the surgeon implants a silicon band in the patient's abdomen and then uses it to constrict a portion of the stomach, so that the patient takes in less food at mealtimes.


More than 10 million Americans face potentially life threatening health risks because of obesity and only about two percent are able to lose the weight on their own. Fortunately, the Harper "bariatric" (or weight loss) program, run by Dr. Wood and his colleagues, is nationally recognized for helping patients recover from severe obesity.


"In our programs, more than 90 percent of our patients lose at least half of their excess body weight, and they keep it off," Dr. Wood said. "Our great hope is that the people who need these programs most will take advantage of them!"


Obesity creates life-threatening health risks. For more than 10 million obese Americans, complications of the excess weight include life-threatening health risks such as diabetes, hypertension, heart attack and depression. Statistics show that only about two percent are able to lose the weight on their own.


The bariatric (weight loss) program at DMC Harper University Hospital is helping patients recover from severe obesity. Harper's bariatric surgery program is recognized for meeting the rigorous standards set forth by the nation's highest bariatric accreditation organizations. Its surgeons are way out front in skill and experience, and offer the most advanced weight loss surgery options including Minimally Invasive Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass, the Lap-BANDW, Realize Band, the Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, and the gastric sleeve procedure.


As with all DMC medical services, bariatric patients have the added benefit of 100% doctors' computerized orders and 100% medication scanning. DMC is the first and only Michigan hospital system with fully implemented electronic medical records.


To view videos on DMC bariatric services, visit Emery King's Medical Library at DMC.org. For more information about DMC bariatric services or other weight loss options, please call 1-888-DMC-2500.

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