Technology & Procedures
Mark Tousignant, MD, a minimally invasive surgeon with Backus Physician Services, is Medical Director of the new Backus Weight Loss Center.
He will lead community education events outlining the program, including one on Tuesday, July 20, from 6-7 pm in the conference rooms of the Backus Outpatient Care Center.
Local, state and national statistics show that obesity is a growing epidemic with many severe health ramifications. Approximately 21 percent of people nationwide are classified as obese, according to a recent study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a May 2010 Backus health risk assessment survey conducted by a national firm shows that Windham and New London Counties have even higher numbers at more than 28 percent. The numbers are much higher for people who are simply considered overweight.
For some people who have tried dieting, exercise, drugs and other ways to lose weight, bariatric surgery is an option. The Backus Weight Loss Center will offer LAP-BAND® surgery, which gives obese patients a minimally invasive and safe surgical option close to home.
Not all patients are candidates for the procedure and other options must be attempted first, such as dieting, exercising, food journals, support groups and other weight loss methods. He added that those who do qualify must be committed to the entire program, which includes nutrition information, support groups before and after surgery, psychiatric screenings and follow up visits. Recipes and cooking classes will also be offered. “Being aggressive with the obesity problem is the right thing to do,” Dr. Tousignant said. “More than 75 % of children who are overweight will be overweight as adults, and overweight people tend to suffer from a wide range of medical problems, from heart disease to diabetes. If we can help people lose weight, we can prevent potentially serious medical issues, improve patients’ quality of life and at the same time do our part to reduce skyrocketing healthcare costs. This is a very important endeavor and we are determined to succeed.”
Nurses, psychiatrists and other support staff. Most patient appointments are at the Backus Outpatient Care Center in Norwich, which is easily accessible off I-395 with ample parking and located on one ground level. The LAP-BAND® procedure involves a silicone ring that is inserted as a “belt” around the upper abdomen. The ring, or “band,” is connected by thin tubing to an access port just below the skin, and the surgeon tightens or loosens the fit of the LAP-BAND® system by injecting or withdrawing saline. Unlike gastric bypass, this procedure does not require cutting or stapling the stomach. The LAP-BAND® system creates a pouch in the upper stomach providing patients the sensation of fullness despite smaller meals. Additionally, patients’ appetites are satisfied for longer periods of time, so they tend to eat less. Patients typically lose 1-2 pounds per week, which is healthy and safe, Dr. Tousignant said.