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Atlantic General Hospital Surgery Team Performs its First LAP-BAND Procedure

Atlantic General Hospital’s bariatric surgery team performed its first Laparascopic gastric banding procedure in early December, marking the end of 11 months of preparation and community education.

In addition to the staff training and specialized equipment procurement that occurs when a new procedure is introduced, the hospital forged a relationship with the medical practice of general surgeon Alae Zarif, MD, to ensure that patients receive continued support through post-operative nutrition and fitness education and counseling services.

“The surgical staff at Atlantic General Hospital was very excited to start at the beginning in preparation for this new procedure. Our multi-specialty team researched and addressed all requirements to perform the procedure safely and competently and we worked very closely with Dr. Zarif’s team of specialists including an office coordinator, dietary, exercise physiologist and psychological counselors,” said Shirley Spirk, Director of Surgical Services at Atlantic General Hospital. “Obesity has become an epidemic, and assisting patients in obtaining a healthy weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle is a phenomenal achievement.”

Zarif, who performs the gastric banding procedures, joined Atlantic General’s medical staff in April 2006. He has been in practice since 1996 when he finished his residency at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut, a Yale-affiliated surgical training program. Currently in private practice, Zarif is certified by the American Board of Surgery and performs multiple advanced laparoscopic procedures.

The LAP-BAND® System is the first FDA-approved adjustable gastric band for use in weight reduction. It was approved for use in severely obese adults with a BMI of 40 or more or for those obese adults with one or more severe obesity-related health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension or asthma.

Used in more than 300,000 procedures worldwide, this simple reversible surgically implanted device has safely helped many severely obese adult patients achieve and maintain long-term weight loss.

The LAP-BAND® System is considered to have less risk than other types of weight loss procedures such as the gastric bypass surgery. Unlike gastric bypass, it does not involve stomach cutting, stapling or intestinal re-routing. Using laparoscopic surgical techniques, the device can be placed around the top portion of the patient’s stomach, creating a small pouch. This offers the advantages of reduced pain, length of hospital stay and recovery period. In many cases the LAP-BAND® System procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis and the patient can return home the same day.