January 13, 2010
Dr. Katie Trahan uses many specialized tools in gastric banding, which is a type of bariatric surgery to help patients lose weight. Dr. Trahan says the procedure is not a solution to body image issues, rather it is for people with serious health risks related to being overweight.
"A lot of bariatric surgery patients remain overweight, but their hypertension, their diabetes, and their other health risks go away. They can start exercising, their bodies change, but this really is not a cosmetic procedure in any way," said Dr. Trahan.
Ironically, 80 percent of bariatric surgery patients are women, but Dr. Trahan is one of only a few women in the United States doing the surgery.
"Currently to my knowledge, I'm the only one in central Virginia, including Charlottesville and the Richmond area, that is performing bariatric surgery. I think there is only a handful of in the United States currently practicing bariatric surgery," said Dr. Trahan.
Dr. Trahan says many women prefer female doctors and feel they relate to female doctors better. Dr. Trahan says the trust between surgeon and patient is vital to the procedure's success. "If you become a bariatric patient, you're my patient forever, you're stuck with me."
A free information session on the procedure will be help Friday, January 18 from 1:00pm until 3:00pm at the Martha Jefferson Education Center. Anyone interested that cannot make the meeting this week, a Q&A session about the procedure is held the first Wednesday evening of every month.
Dr. Trahan says gastric banding is done as often as six times a week at Martha Jefferson Hospital.