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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    New Bariatric and Metabolic Center at SBU Medical Center

    Stony Brook University Medical Center has been the home of the new Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Center. Director of the Center and Chief of General Surgery Dr. Aurora Pryor has seen positive results thus far and believes that the program for the patients will continue to be beneficial.

    “For those choosing surgery we offer a wide range of options with minimally invasive techniques,” said Pryor, who has been the head of the center since it opened September of last year. “We have an excellent track record with outcomes far exceeding national numbers.”

    Dr. Pryor has performed more than 2,650 weight-loss surgeries and has a 75 percent success rate, compared to the average national success rate which is at 68 percent.

    The programs are designed to help people who are morbidly obese get on track to lose the weight and keep it off. For some people, surgeries such as stomach banding or stomach stapling are considered as options to reduce the size of the stomach and therefore lower food intake.

    The New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study last year about appetite stimulant hormones Leptin and Ghrelin causing difficulty for those who had lost weight and were trying to keep it off. Even after a year of dieting, the hormones were showing to elevate levels of hunger in obese patients, making appetite more extreme and making it very difficult to resist gaining the weight again. Fortunately, with the kind of surgeries that Dr. Pryor takes on every day, the appetite hormones are not an issue.

    “The good news is that these hormones are suppressed with weight loss surgery, minimizing hunger,” said Pryor.

    Many people that are morbidly obese are depressed, and some of those individuals cope with the depression through excessive eating. At the new center, a psychological team is on duty to deal with the patients’ unhealthy relationship with food.

    “We feel strongly that combining surgery with the interdisciplinary program facilitates the best outcomes and most weight loss for our patients,” Pryor said.

    Since many morbidly obese individuals tend to depend on food as a coping mechanism, psychologists are assigned to patients to help them adjust their behaviors and train them to overcome and conquer their personal issues with their weight for the long-term.

    “Psychologists are important because they help to identify any barriers that patients might see before or after surgery which may prevent them from having the best treatment outcome,” said psychologist Genna Hymowitz, who works with patients at the new weight loss center.

    “We strongly recommend that every individual undergo a psychological evaluation to help any mental health care needs that aren’t being met,” said Hymowitz.

    Jordan Katz, senior executive account manager of Allergan, a company that makes surgical bands, also known as lap bands, is familiar with the weight-loss surgeries that Dr. Pryor does since he had a successful lap-band procedure four years ago. Katz has lost almost 100 pounds since his surgery and is aware of how important the new center is for people who are suffering with their weight and have a desire to turn their lives around.

    “I tell the patients that the best decision you can make is to have some kind of weight-loss surgery because it’s the only thing that’s been proven to work for the morbidly obese,” said Katz. “It’s about being healthy, moderation and not overindulging.”

    With such a high success rate and quality, outstanding experience, Pryor hopes to help the center continue to develop and get bigger.

    “We plan to grow all aspects of the program, creating a true center addressing the entire spectrum of needs for patients with obesity and its complications,” said Pryor.

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