Duke weight loss surgeons are among the first in the country to offer VBLOC therapy as an alternative to weight loss surgery. The newly-approved device emits signals which control feelings of fullness and hunger. The pacemaker-like therapy is the first to block the hunger signals that travel along the vagus nerve, which extends from your brain to your stomach. According to researched published in Obesity Surgery, people lost an average of 22 percent of their excess weight in the first two years when the device was used as prescribed. Improvements were also seen in obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
First in North Carolina to offer weight loss device
VBLOC therapy is an alternative to weight loss surgery. Rather than altering the stomach or intestine, Duke weight loss surgeons use small incisions to implant the rechargeable generator under the skin during an outpatient procedure. Two wire leads connect the device to electrodes, which are placed on the vagus nerve in the stomach. After the procedure, external controllers are used to charge the device, and allow your doctor to adjust the device’s settings for optimum use and minimal side effects.
Choose Duke for your VBLOC therapy because we offer:
- Excellent patient outcomes. Our weight loss programs at Duke Regional Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital are designated as MBSAQIP Accredited – Comprehensive Centers by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). In addition, our weight loss surgery programs are recognized by private insurance companies, including Cigna and OptumHealth. We have achieved this recognition because we consistently deliver high quality care, comprehensive services and achieve positive patient outcomes.
- Experience matters. Our weight loss program has been serving Raleigh and Durham for more than 20 years. It is staffed by board-certified surgeons who are fellowship-trained, meaning they have completed additional years of training in bariatric surgery. They perform approximately 800 bariatric surgeries each year. Studies show that surgical experience is an important indicator of your successful outcome.
- Our commitment to you. Our surgeons, physician assistants, psychologists, nutritionists, endocrinologists, nursing, and anesthesia teams are committed to helping you achieve your weight loss goals. We work with you and your doctor to establish a successful weight loss plan.
- Choosing the right approach. Your initial consultation will include an extensive physical exam and nutritional, psychological, and lifestyle evaluation. We also carefully evaluate you for all related medical conditions. This often requires special studies and occasionally consultations from medical specialists. This information helps us recommend the safest, most effective surgical approach for you.
- Scheduling your procedure. Scheduling surgery depends on your individual circumstances and insurance requirements. Surgery typically occurs within weeks of the initial consultation.
- Safer, minimally invasive surgery. Nearly 99 percent of our weight loss surgeries are completed laparoscopically, meaning they only require small incisions. In some cases, we use robotic tools to minimize incisions for more complex procedures that would normally require larger incisions. Smaller incisions translate to less pain, fewer complications, smaller scars, shorter stays, and faster recovery. Sometimes an abdominal incision is necessary based on your weight, body shape, and surgery history.
- Post-surgery body contouring. If unwanted, loose skin and tissue hide the results of weight loss surgery, our skilled plastic surgeons can work with you to smooth and shape your body and ensure you feel and look your best.
- Support groups before and after surgery. We offer free, monthly and weekly support groups in Durham and Raleigh to people who are preparing for weight loss surgery, as well as those who have already had surgery. Our experts address a variety of topics including nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes. You will also have the opportunity to talk to people with similar experiences in an educational and supportive setting. Your weight loss surgery did not have to be performed at Duke to participate in these support groups.
The journey to weight loss surgery includes several consultations to evaluate your medical condition and overall well-being. The consultations are typically scheduled to take place during your first visit to our weight loss surgery clinic.
Your surgeon will conduct a physical exam, and a series of tests (described below). The results are used to identify and evaluate any medical problems related to your obesity, and is used by your surgeon to recommend the right procedure for you.
During the two-hour consultation, which is required for weight loss surgery, our licensed clinical psychologist will review your knowledge about weight loss surgery, as well as your motivation, support and goals following the procedure. In addition, the psychologist will review your eating patterns, psychological functioning and history, as well as lifestyle behaviors (such as diet, exercise and smoking habits). You will leave with an individualized lifestyle and behavioral treatment plan, educational material and recommendations to help you prepare for weight loss surgery.
Our dietitian will review your dieting history, current meal planning, eating behaviors, and your diet progression following surgery. The dietician will work with you to develop a plan to change your current diet as you prepare for surgery. Dietary changes may include eliminating high calorie beverages such as sweet tea, regular soda, juice and alcohol from your diet; reducing fast food consumption; eating three meals a day with no meal skipping; taking a daily multivitamin; and using a food journal.
Several tests are needed to complete the medical evaluation. Tests can be completed at Duke Raleigh Hospital or Duke Regional Hospital, or your surgeon can order the tests at a location that is convenient to you.
Radiographic images allow your doctor to examine your chest, lungs and other organs.
Sound waves are used to capture high speed, 3-D images of the moving heart.
These procedures are performed to identify signs of gastrointestinal concerns such as acid reflux, GERD, hernias or ulcers. A solution of barium is digested during the barium swallow which enables your doctor to take X-ray images of the upper portion of your digestive tract. During an endoscopy, a lighted tube is passed through your mouth and down your throat. A camera on its tip allows your doctor to see inside your esophagus, stomach and parts of your small intestine.
A variety of tests are performed to screen for medical conditions including diabetes, high cholesterol and thyroid disorders, assess your body's chemical balance and metabolism, such as iron and folate levels, as well as possible vitamin deficiencies.
A sleep study may be necessary if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea. You may also undergo additional studies if previous tests and the medical evaluation uncover a history of heart disease, kidney disorders, or lung problems.