Shedding Pounds through Weight Loss Surgery

A Fall River resident sheds excess weight and gains a healthy new lifestyle after undergoing bariatric surgery

Gary Correira had been overweight most of his life, but in the past few years, with his weight exceeding 300 pounds, Gary’s health and lifestyle began to suffer. “It was tough getting to work, it was tough tying my shoes. I was tired constantly, my knees were bothering me, my back was bothering me,” he recalled.

Seeking an alternative to dieting, which never seemed to work for him, Gary, 54, was referred by his primary care doctor to the Southcoast Center for Weight Loss. Based on his consultation, Gary opted for a type of bariatric surgery known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, which permanently shrinks the stomach size and reroutes the food stream by separating a small portion of the stomach and connecting it with the small intestine.

After completing three months of preoperative work with the weight loss program’s staff of surgeons, nutritionists, nurses and psychologists, he underwent a successful procedure in March 2014 at Tobey Hospital in Wareham. “Every step of the way they prepared me for what was going to happen,” said Gary.

And the results speak for themselves. “I was 326 pounds when I went to my primary care doctor. Now I’m down to 184 pounds,” he continued.

“This really works,” added Director of Bariatric Surgery Rayford Kruger, MD, FACS, who performed Gary’s procedure. “Eighty percent of people who have surgery keep the weight off long-term compared to the success rates of just diet, exercise and medical therapy, which are between 5 and 10 percent.”

Bariatric surgery also helps improve or eliminate co-morbidities, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea. Prior to surgery, Gary was taking two medications for hypertension, another for acid reflux and was at risk of needing a knee replacement. “I left the hospital without any medication and haven’t been on any medications since,” he noted.

Nearly 650 bariatric procedures are performed each year at the Southcoast Center for Weight Loss, which expanded to a second location in Fall River in 2014. In addition to Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, Southcoast bariatric surgeons perform sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric band procedures. Each is a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, usually taking an hour or less. Gary only spent three days in the hospital and was back to work as grounds keeper for the Fall River school district in three weeks.

In fact, Gary felt so good the day after he returned home from the hospital, he started a new routine: He now walks nearly five miles a day to and from work. He has also started going to the gym two to three times a week. “This is stuff that I wouldn’t have even thought about doing before surgery,” he said. “I’m living a new life.”

To learn more about weight loss and weight management options, and whether you or a loved one is a good candidate for surgery, visit the Southcoast Center for Weight Loss or call 508-273-4900.