Weight Loss Success

Southcoast’s Weight Loss Surgery Program looks beyond surgery to promote weight loss and health

Rayford Kruger, MD, FACS, is the Medical Director of Southcoast’s Weight Loss Surgery Program, located at Tobey and Charlton Memorial hospitals. Here, he discusses the program, which includes not just surgery, but also a variety of educational programs and a support network designed to increase patient success.

Health+: How does the Weight Loss Program work?
Dr. Kruger: The program treats patients who are morbidly obese or significantly overweight, which is defined as being 100 or more pounds overweight. We have surgical procedures that allow them to lose the weight safely. It can also improve their health by resolving obesity-related health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Our procedures are done laparoscopically, or minimally invasively, which reduces risk of this surgery to that of other common procedures. In addition, there is less scarring and recovery times are improved.

The program is nationally known and is now the largest in New England, serving more than 700 patients per year through our certified centers at Tobey Hospital in Wareham and Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River.

H+: The program has MBSAQIP accreditation. What does that mean?
Dr. Kruger: With weight loss surgery, patients receiving surgery at specialized centers with high volumes and certain resources have better results. The Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) is performed by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Having that designation is important to us and our patients because it proves we have a high-quality program.

H+: What does the program offer in addition to weight loss surgery?
Dr. Kruger: Our program is a multidisciplinary approach to surgery, involving behavioral health, nutrition and medical therapy to treat obesity. We also have medical weight loss plans and surgical weight loss plans. The medical plans are supervised by our nutritionists and incorporate healthy eating and activity counseling.

H+: What are some important keys to weight loss success?
Dr. Kruger: Success in the surgical realm, which is where I specialize, really lies in patients finding a local program that they connect with and follow.

Getting ready for surgery takes about four months in our program, involving discussions with dietitians, behavioral health and education.

We like to see patients frequently after surgery to monitor vitamin levels, weight and any issues they might be having. That’s why having a local program is so helpful — because people are more likely to follow up if they don’t have to drive an hour or more away. About 95 percent of patients undergoing our procedures lose significant weight, and a majority of them keep it off long-term. There really is no better program.

Learn more about Southcoast’s Weight Loss Surgery Program.