Weight Loss Surgery: More Accessible Than Ever

A Fall River resident loses weight to gain health

Southcoast’s Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) program, led by surgeon and medical director Rayford Kruger, MD, has helped nearly 6,000 Massachusetts and Rhode Island residents tackle the challenge of obesity.

Southcoast Center for Weight Loss from Southcoast Health on Vimeo.

Joanne Nadeau, of Fall River, started the program two years ago at the urging of her primary care physician, after she tried and failed at branded weight-loss programs.

“My doctor said I should at least go to the free weight loss seminar [at Tobey Hospital],” Joanne recalls. “That helped me make the decision to have surgery.”

One key factor in her decision was how the WLS program assists patients before, during and after surgery with medical and psychological evaluation, behavioral therapy, post-surgery follow-up and ongoing support groups.

More than surgery

After Donald Colacchio, MD, performed Joanne’s sleeve gastrectomy surgery, she adopted a new diet and made important lifestyle changes.

“I had no activities before surgery,” says Joanne. “I went to work and back home to sit in front of the TV.”

Adding exercise to her daily regimen was challenging, but ultimately rewarding. “At first, I couldn’t even walk a block without pain, then I felt better and better,” she says. Soon, Joanne was finding fun ways to be active, such as a color run, where participants are showered with brightly colored paint. She joined a Zumba class and liked it so much she became an instructor.

“My quality of life is completely different now,” says Joanne. “I was tired and my back hurt before surgery. I had high cholesterol and really bad sleep apnea.” Since losing weight, Joanne passed a sleep study with flying colors, which allowed her to stop using her CPAP machine.

Convenient locations

The WLS program is at Tobey Hospital in Wareham and Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River. Both sites are accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, which evaluates weight loss programs around the nation for safety and effectiveness.

“We continue to be a leader in the Northeast for bariatric medicine,” says Dr. Kruger.

Healthy and happy

For those with 100 or more pounds to lose, the WLS program has encouraging success rates. Patients are asked to commit to a three- to four-month pre-operative plan, as well as ongoing support groups. For those who are truly invested in their health, like Joanne, it isn’t a burden.

With a current total loss of 65 pounds, Joanne is pleased with her progress and the changes she has made. “Before surgery, I had given up on living — you know, really living,” she says. “I’m still overweight, but I’m not as overweight as I used to be. I didn’t have surgery to be thin; I did it to be healthy, and I am.”

Learn how Southcoast can help you meet your weight-loss goals.