Saint Agnes Hospital Now Offers More than just Gastric Sleeve Surgery in Maryland
Baltimore — Dr. Andrew Averbach, Director of Bariatric and Laparoscopic Surgery at Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, recently became the first surgeon in the Mid-Atlantic to provide intraoperative adjustments of Lap Bands. Dr. Averbach was also the first surgeon in Maryland to perform the transoral incisionless fundoploication (TIF) procedure with an EsophyX device. His clinic is one of the top providers of gastric sleeve surgery in Maryland.
A laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (LAGB), or lap band, is an inflatable silicone device that is placed around the top portion of the stomach. It is used to treat morbid obesity. This particular bariatric surgery is designed for obese patients with a body mass index (BMI) exceeding 40, but more recently surgeons have begun performing it on patients with lower BMIs to improve certain comorbidities including: sleep apnea, Hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis. The TIF procedure is the latest advancement in the evolution of surgical procedures for the treatment of Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – an extremely prevalent condition affecting more than 30 percent of the adult population in the US.
Adequate band adjustment soon after surgery is one strategy used to facilitate early and substantial weight loss after LAGB. Band patients commonly experience episodes of band obstruction or worsening of reflux symptoms due to band restriction. That usually requires temporary band deflation and medications to control symptoms.
As patients lose weight, their bands need adjustments, or “fills,” to ensure effectiveness and comfort. Surgeons typically adjust gastric bands by introducing saline solution into an access port just under the skin. Previous attempts of “blind” Lap Band “prefills” during the initial procedure have resulted in a significant rate of early band obstruction. Surgeons typically leave the band unfilled and start adjustments four to six weeks after surgery. Unfortunately, patients experience weight regain and may become discouraged.
An alternative strategy is to adjust the lap band during placement with the help of a new device – the Endoflip Catheter – which allows real-time intraoperative measurements of lap band diameter after placement. The device not only limits early band obstruction but suppresses hunger throughout the postoperative stage. Patients are showing increased compliance and reporting a higher level of satisfaction.
Dr. Averbach, one of the most respected Maryland bariatric surgery providers, was the first surgeon in the Mid-Atlantic to practice intraoperative adjustments of Lap Bands in April of 2011 using the Endoflip Catheter. Thus far, there have been no complications associated with the procedure at Saint Agnes Hospital, and patients have shown a high acceptance rate.
Dr. Averbach is also proving to be a pioneer in Maryland in terms of the treatment of GERD. A significant number of patients do not respond to medications used to treat the condition and develop complications such as: sever heartburn, regurgitation, hoarseness, and chronic cough. Complications may even lead to esophageal cancer. Interest in reflux surgery lead Dr. Averbach and his gastroenterology colleagues to develop a GERD/Hiatal hernia center which offers the full spectrum of treatment. Depending on each patient’s situation, surgery can be done with the EsophyX device. The EsophyX TIF is performed through the mouth, requires no incisions, and does not dissect any part of the natural internal anatomy. Besides tremendously improving GERD patients’ quality of life, this approach could become a “total cure” for reflux disease. According to Dr. Averbach, “nobody wants surgery, but my most important referral source are my patients enjoying tremendous improvement in their quality of life.”
St. Agnes Hospital is an accredited Maryland bariatric surgery provider for morbidly obese patients; it is a recognized “Bariatric Center of Excellence” for its safety and results. To learn more about bariatric surgery in Maryland and Dr. Averbach join us at a free weight loss surgery seminar or call us today at 410-368-8725.