Weight loss surgery takes a programmatic approach, said Alexander Onopchenko, bariatric surgeon and medical director of the Surgical Weight Loss and Wellness Center at AtlantiCare. The bariatric program includes a pre-surgery educational webinar on treatment, risks and alternatives. A complete medical history, physical and psychological evaluation is also performed before the procedure takes place.
“Doing the surgery and not providing patients with the knowledge about diet and exercise, which is essential in conjunction with the surgery, is impossible to be successful,” he said.
The patient, he said, has an essential role in the success of the operation, which comes with lifelong medical follow-ups to make sure no other issues arise.
While he operates below the neck, the program also addresses everything above the neck, like behavior modifications.
“Mental well-being contributes to physical well-being,” said Marcel Tabone, a licensed clinical social worker with AtlantiCare. “Maintaining a positive outlook on one’s self and life can be challenging. Making significant changes in so many areas of your life takes time.”
With a programmatic approach, patients are evaluated for their overall wellness and/or issues that may include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and how they handle stress in general.