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NJMS Surgery Welcomes Bariatric Surgery Candidates

Obesity is an epidemic that has touched the lives of countless people across New Jersey. In fact, more than 27 percent of New Jerseyans are currently coping with obesity, according to the State Department of Health.

In light of a clear need for services within our community, NJMS division of general surgery is ramping up the evaluation of candidates for bariatric surgery to be cared for by Dr. Dustin Cummings, clinical assistant professor of surgery at NJMS.

"We are hoping for our first operations to occur by the end of the year at University Hospital," said Dr. Aziz Merchant, an associate professor and chief of the division of general/MIS surgery at NJMS. "Please be mindful of those who may benefit from this important service, particularly now that obesity was identified by the CDC as a risk factor for COVID-19."

Bariatric surgery is the most effective way to help patients achieve lasting weight loss and regain control of their health. This surgery does more than help patients lose weight; it can also help treat or cure many life-limiting medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

The most suitable candidate for bariatric surgery is a person with a body mass index (BMI) of 35, with a comorbid medical condition, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea. Alternatively, a patient with a BMI of 40 or greater with or without comorbid medical conditions is considered a candidate for surgery. 

Usually patients seek bariatric surgery after trying diet and exercise for a period of time without obtaining adequate or sustained weight loss. Ample research has demonstrated that bariatric surgery is the most effective way to achieve lasting weight loss. Within the first year, patients can lose a significant amount of their excess weight and should expect to see an improvement or resolution of their comorbid medical conditions.

In the setting of the current COVID-19 pandemic, obesity has been identified as a potential risk factor for worse outcomes in patients affected by this disease. Patients are currently being seen by NJMS experts both in-clinic and via E-health for consultation, while adhering to the distancing guidelines put forth by the CDC.

Please contact the office to learn more. Call Dr. Merchant, Dr. Cummings, or Alex Padilla at 973-972-5540 with any questions.