LA PLATA, Md. – June 14, 2022 — The University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Group has increased the scope of its Surgical Care practice to include specialized bariatric services.
Obesity is a growing health problem nationally, with over 40% of U.S. adults qualifying for the medically defined category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thirty percent of Marylanders are defined as obese. Surgical weight loss assistance can provide results to adults suffering from obesity who have struggled with traditional weight management methods like diet and exercise alone.
Surgeon Rumbi Nzara, MD, heads the new bariatrics program at UM Charles Regional. Dr. Nzara earned her medical degree from the University of Minnesota then completed her residency at Boston University. She went on to complete a fellowship at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore with a focus on Advanced GI and Minimally Invasive Surgery. During her fellowship she had extensive training in bariatric surgery and the treatment of obesity. Dr. Nzara is certified by the American Board of Surgery.
Potential candidates for the program will first go through a consultation to determine if they are appropriate for a weight management surgical procedure. UM Charles Regional follows criteria from the National Institutes of Health. Eligible patients have a body mass index of 40 or greater, or a BMI of 35 or greater with an obesity-related condition such as diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure. Patients should have also tried other ways to lose weight without success before seeking a surgical solution.
The two bariatric procedures available, sleeve gastrectomy and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, are the most commonly performed bariatric surgery procedures across the U.S. The procedures are low risk for appropriately selected candidates and can come with lifelong benefits, according to Dr. Nzara.
In a sleeve gastrectomy procedure, the stomach size is reduced by about 80% using medical staples. In a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass the stomach is divided into a small pouch, about the size of an egg, and the small intestine is rerouted to the pouch bypassing the larger section of the stomach. Both procedures limit caloric intake and decrease hunger hormones.
“Obesity can contribute to a number of other conditions like heart disease, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure and arthritis,” Dr. Nzara said. “Bariatric surgery can significantly improve or even resolve many of these conditions. Additionally, bariatric surgery can serve as a preventive step that stops obesity from ever progressing to that stage.”
While the surgical procedure is the focal point of the bariatrics program, Dr. Nzara has created a comprehensive approach that also accounts for pre- and post-operative care. This involves an extensive screening process as well as a peer support group for patients to share their experiences and advice for success after surgery.
“It’s been incredible to watch Dr. Nzara develop the bariatrics program so thoughtfully,” said Joseph Moser, MD, UM Charles Regional Chief Medical Officer. “She is ensuring that every step of the journey will meet patient needs by fostering a supportive and compassionate environment for them to thrive.”
The schedule a consultation or find out more about the new Bariatrics Program, please call 301-609-5006.