Covenant Health Plainview launching weight-loss surgery program



Published 6:25 pm, Saturday, November 4, 2017


Covenant Health Plainview can now help you lose the weight and regain your life as the hospital is proud to announce it has started its new weight-loss surgery program.

“We are so excited to unveil this program and bring this life-saving service to the people of Plainview and to our surrounding neighbors,” said Bob Copeland, CEO of Covenant Health Plainview.

Heading the program is Covenant Health Plainview general surgeon and long-time bariatric specialist, Dr. Paresh Rajajoshiwala.

“(Dr. Raja) is highly qualified and fully credentialed to perform these procedures. West Texas is truly blessed to have this caliber of surgeon in our area, especially with the experience he has in bariatrics.”

“All of our caregivers in the hospital are as equally ecstatic to provide this new service line to the area. One of the best things about offering bariatric services is that after the procedure; patients will have a healthier and happier quality of life.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese and run a higher risk for diabetes, cancer, hypertension, stroke, heart disease and a cavalcade of other complications.

“Studies are predicting, because of obesity, that the life expectancy of Americans will be 10 to 15 years shorter than that of previous generations.” said Raja.

Raja began his general surgery practice in Plainview back in March 2017. Prior to that, Raja spent 15 years as a bariatric surgeon in San Antonio.

Raja explained that diet and exercise can work fine when you’re trying to lose 10 to 15 pounds. However, when you are trying to lose and keep off more than 100 pounds, it can be very difficult to maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise alone.

“Multiple studies show that medical means of losing weight when you are morbidly obese doesn’t work.” Raja said.

Raja explained that one of the best options to lose the weight and keep it off is weight management surgery.

Raja can perform a spectrum of weight loss surgery procedures, but the physician prefers the tried-and-tested, Gastric Bypass Surgery as well as the relatively newer procedure, Sleeve Gastrectomy.

“The gold standard is gastric bypass surgery,” said Raja, who explained the procedure has been performed for more than 50 years.

“And we still perform it because it’s the most reliable operation. More than 70 percent of all weight loss surgery is gastric bypass.”

Raja said the procedure essentially makes the stomach smaller.

“To give you an idea, a normal stomach is about the size of an American football.

In a gastric bypass, we are changing that to the size of a golf ball.”

The result: it takes less food to get you full and satisfied.

The less food, the more weight you lose.

After the procedure, Covenant Health Plainview is providing an in-depth bariatric support system to help guide the patient through their new and healthier life. This includes diet and nutrition coaching as well as a support group.

“This is a very successful way to lose weight and keep it off,” said Raja. “As people lose weight, they will become more healthy and energetic. Just imagine carrying around a 60 or 100-pound backpack everyday of your life. Imagine how tired that would make you. Now imagine taking that back pack off; you’re going to feel more energetic, you’re going to enjoy life a lot more.”

Though bariatric procedures have been around since the 1960’s, the technology and surgical techniques have drastically changed since then.

One big difference is the introduction of laparoscope surgery.

A surgery, like weight-loss surgery, used to require a long incision from the pelvis to the chest. Now, laparoscope allows a surgeon to perform the procedure though just a few small incisions.

“Years ago you were going to spend 10 days to two weeks in the hospital. On top of that, you would have to recoup for about six months. With laparoscopy, you’re spending one to two nights in the hospital and you’re back to work in two weeks,” Raja said.

Raja added that he is also offering revision surgeries, which can help patients correct bariatric procedures that were previously unsuccessful.

This would include the rising number of complications related to gastric banding.

In terms of cost, Raja said a lot more health insurance companies are adding weight loss surgeries as a benefit.

“Weight loss surgery is being recognized as a medical necessity and countless studies over the past four to five decades have shown that losing weight will help to improve a patient’s overall quality of life and overall health,” Raja said.

“Sometimes it’s easy to get approved, and sometimes there are some requirements, including undergoing a period of medically supervised diets before you get the procedure.”

Raja added that Medicare and Medicaid also include weight loss surgery in their benefits.

For those whose insurance excludes weight loss surgery or for those who would rather pay out of pocket, the hospital does have an all-inclusive price, which includes surgical costs, physician fees and the first 90 days of post-operative care.

So far, Raja has already preformed two bariatric surgeries in Plainview in October.

For more information you can contact Raja’s office at 296-7881. Covenant Health Plainview will host a free bariatric seminar at 10 a.m., Dec. 2 inside the Max Gabriel Conference Room. Contact Raja’s office to reserve your spot.

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Covenant Health Plainview launching weight-loss surgery program

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