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New Year, New You

Posted on January 16, 2020 in Bariatrics

Have you considered shedding pounds but have not had luck with diet and exercise alone? It may be time to consult a physician who specializes in bariatrics, or weight-loss medicine.

Photo of Dana WebberNearly six years ago, Dana Webber, RN, a certified bariatric nurse, was part of a team that started the bariatric program at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. She was responsible for the bariatric program’s documentation process for achieving accreditation, staff education and patient education.

Today, the Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery is accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). The Center has treated more than 3,000 patients who collectively have lost more than 300,000 pounds since the program opened.

Webber dedicates herself to educating people about obesity, discovering reasons behind it, and exploring healthcare options that are best for each patient. During her years serving as bariatric coordinator, she saw a need for a second component of the program: a non-surgical option.

“Since my passion is obesity medicine, I put together the idea for the Fort Sanders Regional Weight Management and Nutrition Center, not only to assist patients preparing for surgical weight loss, but to offer a non-surgical program as well.”

Together, the Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery and the Fort Sanders Weight Management and Nutrition Center allow providers and clinicians to help patients address obesity in order to improve the patient’s overall quality of life and in hopes of preventing other comorbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or heart disease.

According to Webber, treating and preventing obesity through these programs is like assembling different puzzle pieces to make up the complete picture. An educational approach is key in overall success. Bariatric services offered at Fort Sanders Regional focus on the “why” behind obesity and help patients take steps toward life-long changes to prevent obesity-related medical conditions.

Deciding Between Surgical and Non-Surgical Options

Surgical candidates typically have a body-mass index (BMI) of 35-40 with two comorbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or sleep apnea, or a BMI of 40 with no comorbid conditions. The non-surgical candidate typically has a BMI of 27 or higher. Patients who fit criteria for the non-surgical option participate in a 12-week program that includes nutrition, exercise, medical management and emotional psychological work.

For more information about Fort Sanders Regional’s bariatric services, visit