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HONOLULU, HI–(Marketwire -04/12/12)- According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), over 68% of Americans are considered overweight or obese, a condition that has been linked to hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart attack, and other serious medical complications. While the recent statistics show that more than 5% are considered morbidly obese, the ASMBS also reveals that just 1% (220,000) of the clinically eligible population (15 million) underwent bariatric or weight loss surgery in the past year. Dr. Steve Fowler, a bariatric surgeon in Hawaii at Aloha Surgery, says new advancements in weight loss surgery procedures will hopefully make a difference in influencing more patients to take control of their weight and improve their health. He says the gastric sleeve is one such procedure that has been introduced in the past few years to help patients reduce the risk (and cost) of weight-related complications.
Having performed the gastric sleeve, or vertical sleeve gastrectomy, procedure at his Hawaii weight loss surgery practice for the past two years, Dr. Fowler says he utilizes a single incision through the belly button to surgically remove about 80% of the stomach so that patients need less food to make them feel full. As the first surgeon to perform the single incision approach in Hawaii, he says one of the most important factors in achieving successful results is having the knowledge and experience to identify which candidates are right for the procedure. Dr. Fowler says through individual and personalized attention to patients, weight loss goals can become a realistic and manageable journey for most people. “What is important for the patient is to have a safe operation. If the procedure can be done safely through the belly button providing minimal scarring, then patients want this. We have been performing the vertical sleeve gastrectomy for over two years now, and patients have seen substantial results,” he says.
With the growing acceptance of the procedure as an effective treatment for obesity, the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA), Hawaii’s largest medical insurer, has also recently announced coverage of gastric sleeve surgery. Using the same standards in place for the LAP-BAND® System and gastric bypass, Dr. Fowler says the addition of the gastric sleeve in Hawaii to insurance plans will help more patients take advantage of the benefits available through effective treatment from a board-certified surgeon. He also adds that exposure to a broader range of surgical options has increased patient outcomes and will continue to advance the pursuit of successful and safe procedures. “It’s been a long time coming, and I am encouraged with HMSA’s decision to cover the vertical sleeve gastrectomy. This will provide an excellent option for patients interested in surgical weight loss,” says Dr. Fowler.
Dr. Fowler says he is excited about recent public exposure to the success of the gastric sleeve and is confident in its ability to help patients achieve a fitter, healthier self. However, he strongly recommends patients seek the expertise of a board-certified and experienced bariatric surgeon before undergoing any weight loss surgery treatment. Through the skilled hands of a dedicated surgeon, Dr. Fowler says the gastric sleeve and other bariatric procedures can offer patients relief from the burdens and risks of obesity, and a guiding tool towards a more positive outlook on life.
About Steven Fowler, MD, FACS
Dr. Steve Fowler graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts and received his medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his surgical residency at the Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr. Fowler is the acting Medical Director for Bariatric Surgery at Castle Medical Center. His practice, Aloha Surgery, as well as Castle Medical Center have been designated by the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the only practice to receive this distinction in the state of Hawaii.
Located at 928 Nuuanu Avenue #400 in Honolulu, HI, Dr. Fowler’s practice can be reached at (808) 521-1300. He can also be contacted online via the website alohasurgery.com or the Aloha Surgery Facebook page.
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