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Temple Bariatric Surgeon First in Region to Use Realize Adjustable Gastric Band System

John Meilahn, MD, Chief of Bariatric Surgery at Temple University Hospital, today became the first surgeon in the Philadelphia region to implant a new type of adjustable gastric band, called the Realize™ Band, which offers patients post-surgical weight-loss coaching via a personalized, MySpace-style website.

Designed to offer patients 24/7 post-operative support in their fight to live healthier lives, the Realize Adjustable Gastric Band system eases the most challenging part in the battle against obesity – changing life-long habits that have been obstacles to success.

“While the surgery is among the most effective treatments for morbid obesity, it is just one stop along the patient’s journey,” said Meilahn, who has performed more than 900 bariatric surgeries. “The biggest challenge has always been changing their diet and lifestyle after surgery to help achieve long-term success. This new system offers online support and lifestyle coaching to reinforce the counseling patients receive during regular office visits with the bariatric team.”

To help them on their journey, Temple patients are given access to a personalized website, where, in collaboration with their doctor, they can set goals, chart their progress and invite family and friends to follow along. The website enables patients to keep a diet and exercise diary, which also offers gentle reminders designed to help them stay on course. Users can also download healthy recipes, and even create their own personal avatar that they can watch slim down as they lose weight.

In the clinical trial that led to its FDA approval, the Realize Band helped patients lose an average of 50 pounds, or 40 percent of their excess body weight, within the first year of surgery, and maintain that weight loss over three years. More than one-third of patients lost 50 percent or more, and about 10 percent lost 75 percent or more of their excess weight, according to ETHICON, the Johnson & Johnson company that developed the band.

To learn more about the Temple Bariatric Surgery Program, visit bariatric.templehealth.org or call 1-800-836-7576.

Date Published: Friday, August 8, 2008