Just five years after opening, the Weight Loss Center at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound has reached a national audience. The hospital partnered with DaVinci robot manufacturer Intuitive Surgical to serve as an observation site for surgeons interested in watching Folahan Ayoola, MD, FACS FASMBS, the program’s Medical Director, and his team perform robotic assisted weight loss surgery.
“There aren’t a lot of places in the country that serve as observation sites,” Dr. Ayoola said. “The hospital has four DaVinci robots that allow us to perform advanced robotic surgery. I know of other sites in DFW but usually they are at major medical centers. To have a program such as this at a smaller community hospital is a pretty big deal.
“In the past, I visited other surgeons but now they are coming to Flower Mound to visit and talk to our doctors and the administration to learn how the hospital’s program works.
“A lot of people think the robot does the surgery but it’s actually the surgeon who performs the procedure. The robot just allows the surgeon to be more precise laparoscopically by using a computer to smooth movements and to make sure the surgical stapler and other tools are being used optimally.”
Once elective procedures were allowed to return after the initial thrust of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, patients jumped at the opportunity to utilize the Weight Loss Center’s services. With so many people working from home they could return to work a day or two after their procedures rather than waiting the typical 1-2 weeks to return to their offices.
To make it easier for patients to prepare for their procedures, the Weight Loss Center has been offering at-home teaching rather than the typical on-site education. This has allowed patients to learn on their own time and in an environment requiring less interaction with people and thus limiting their exposure to COVID-19.
“All these things made the decision to have surgery a lot easier,” Dr. Ayoola said. “There’s a lot of information to learn and to be able to do it from the comfort of your home and at your own pace is a huge benefit.”
Since starting in 2016, the program has grown from three surgeons to nine who Dr. Ayloola estimates will perform a record 300-400 surgeries this year. Besides Dr. Ayoola, the surgeons include Dr Tarik Al-Kalla, Dr. Chukwama Apakama, Dr. Richard Novack, Dr. Jay Roberts, Dr. Patrick Shovlin, Dr. Adam Smith, Dr. Chad Treece, Dr. Robert Snow and Dr. David Dyslin. The team also includes dieticians, psychiatric pre-op specialists, radiologists, and nurses who specialize in caring for bariatric patients and counselors who provide support group meetings on a routine basis.
“When you visit the facility you meet people who are experts in bariatrics,” Dr. Ayoola said. “Our experienced team as well as the cutting-edge technologies available in the operating rooms help drive our excellent outcomes.
“Part of our strength is that we are all collegial. If one of our doctors sees a patient requiring a procedure they don’t offer, they will refer to another physician in the program. This matters because it allows the patients to get the personalized care that they need rather than being shoehorned into a particular therapy. It reflects a team effort with the patient at the center.”
Bariatric surgery is a big decision and one that should not be taken lightly. Pointing to a National Institute of Health Study, Dr. Ayoola noted that when comparing those struggling with obesity who undergo bariatric surgery with those who went untreated, the study found that those who underwent surgery most likely lived longer as a result of having the surgery.
“The key is really the need to change the attitude of those individuals who surround patients struggling with obesity so that patients decide to get help,” he said. “Telling someone to just stop eating can be incredibly demoralizing– many who reach the point of having surgery have tried multiple methods of weight loss and have simply been unsuccessful. This approach does not help patients move forward.”
Why is it so important that patients continue to try to tackle their struggles with obesity? The doctors at the Weight Loss Center at Texas Health Flower Mound have many patients who have seen their diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol improve and, in some cases, resolve after reaching a healthy weight.
“It’s been pretty exciting to have this young hospital be a powerhouse of successful bariatric surgery,” Dr. Ayoola said. “It’s important to note that surgery is not the only treatment option provided by the Program, we have a really good group of providers and staff who have expertise in a wide range of weight loss options.”
The Weight Loss Center helps patients reach their objectives by employing a comprehensive approach to weight loss. With accountability and support groups, customized weight loss programs, and toning up after weight loss with aesthetic offerings to help patients look as great as they feel, it has you covered. At the Center, patients have access to many treatment options including bariatric surgery (Duodenal Switch, Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeves and Lap Bands), weight loss medications, nutrition counseling, medical aesthetics, personal weight/cardio training, as well as vitamins and supplements.
Start the journey that can change your life forever today. Schedule a consultation with the bariatric professionals at the Weight Loss Center at Texas Health Flower Mound. To make an appointment, call 469-565-0414.
Texas Health Flower Mound is a joint venture owned by Texas Health Resources and physicians dedicated to the community and meets the definition under federal law of a physician-owned hospital. Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees of agents of the hospital.