When Ashley Lankford, MD, learned about an exciting new gastric band and integrated weight loss support program, she felt it was such a breakthrough that she embarked on a journey overseas to bring it home to her patients.
As Dr. Lankford, general surgeon, explained, “It was definitely born out of a need in this area. I had been getting calls from people seeking help to overcome their obesity and asking me if I could provide gastric band surgery. I had read about a new band and the unique support program developed to work with it and felt it would offer my patients the greatest benefits. It had been used successfully in Europe since 1996, but was not yet available in the United States. So, I traveled to Prague to train on its use. It was a lengthy process, and while I was there, I attended multiple conferences and seminars, while also scrubbing in on a large number of band placement procedures It was a wonderful opportunity to study their model and will allow a team of us to blend what we feel are the best practices from a variety of programs worldwide.” The new band, called the Realize™ Personalized Banding Solution, has now been approved for use in the United States, and Dr. Lankford was one of the first in the nation to be trained on this revolutionary procedure.
How Does the Realize Band Work?
The Realize band is a soft, flexible band that is placed around the stomach to divide it into two parts: a small upper pouch and a lower stomach. The upper pouch can only hold a small amount of food. For this reason, patients feel full sooner and longer than usual, which helps them eat less. It is implanted using laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that involves just a few tiny incisions. The band is adjustable and does not permanently change the anatomy of the stomach. While it is similar to the Lap-Band, there are important differences that make implanting the Realize band a simpler procedure. According to Dr. Lankford, “The port, for example, is specially designed for ease of deployment. The design helps lead to a better, less complicated recovery for the patient.”
REALIZE mySUCCESS™ Provides Interactive Support
Beyond the improved band and surgical technique, what attracted Dr. Lankford to the Realize band is the pre-and-post-surgical support component offered to the patient. “Research shows that support is critical in helping patients lose weight and keep it off,” explained Dr. Lankford. “REALIZE mySUCCESS™ is part of a comprehensive support program that we offer patients. It includes a complete, patient-driven Web site where they can track their weight, discover what is working well for them and what is not. They can post their progress photographs and find answers at helpful patient forums. They may also choose to give their physician access to the site to follow their progress.”
Who is a Candidate for the Realize Program?
Sri Mokshagundam, MD, endocrinologist, provides pre-operative clearance for patients who wish to receive the Realize band. According to him, “Gastric band surgery is increasing in importance as the epidemic of obesity grows. Candidates for the Realize banding solution are significantly overweight and typically have tried other diet and exercise methods without long-term success. Their BMI, or Body Mass Index, is usually in the obese range of 35 or above. Generally they will also have other conditions that are caused or exacerbated by obesity, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea or degenerative joint disease.”
Free Seminars on Realize Band Surgery
Free seminars on the Realize banding option are held one Tuesday evening and one Saturday morning each month. Pre-registration is requested. For the dates of upcoming seminars, please call 1-800-4-SOURCE (1-800-476-8723).