For Immediate Release: April 21, 2006

 GALVESTON, Texas – The 71 patients who had weight loss surgery at UTMB at least three months ago have lost a total of 5,174 pounds, more than two and one-half-tons, according to Dr. Michael Trahan, surgical director for the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Center for Weight Management. Dr. Trahan recently completed the center’s 100th bariatric surgery.

“Our first 12 patients are a total of 1,236 pounds lighter,” Trahan said. “I’m proud of these people and I’m proud of our program.”
The Center for Weight Management, established in July 2004, provides options for people who are at least 100 pounds overweight. Such individuals are at higher risk for developing an array of life-threatening diseases.
“Obesity is a cruel and persistent disease with no quick fix,” Trahan said. “The best weight loss plan is a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise but some people need something more.”
Bariatric surgical procedures are gastrointestinal operations that seal off a portion of the stomach to reduce its capacity and rearrange the small intestine to reduce the absorption of calories. There are several types of bariatric procedures.
Bariatric surgery is one option for extremely obese patients. While successful in many cases, it can also be risky and is only for individuals who meet strict criteria and who are healthy enough to do well in surgery, he said.
“Part of the whole process is to learn how to eat properly; the operation doesn’t do all the work for our patients,” Trahan said. Patients rely on extensive post-operative follow-up, support and education to ensure maximum weight loss and resolution of medical conditions that accompany obesity.
In fact, people who have the operation can still gain their weight back if they are not careful with their diet, Trahan cautions.
The American Obesity Association has reported that morbid obesity affects about 9 million adults in the United States. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services Center for Health Statistics, approximately 1.3 million adult Texans were classified as morbidly obese last year. The rate of morbid obesity among the state’s adults almost tripled between 1990 and 2003. Morbid obesity is defined as being 100 pounds over ideal weight or having a Body Mass Index of 40 or higher.
Obesity can increase a person’s risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and other medical conditions. It is second only to tobacco use as the most preventable cause of death. Causes of obesity include eating behavior, genetics, metabolism and environmental factors in the home and community that discourage physical activity.
For overweight individuals who are not candidates for bariatric surgery, the UTMB Center for Weight Management offers other solutions, such as weight-loss medications and counseling.
For more information, contact the Center for Weight Management at (409) 772-1296.
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Media Hotline (409) 772-6397
Marsha Canright: