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St. Mary's is First Hospital in U.S. to Perform New Lap-Band Procedure

Realize® Banding Solution offers newest technology; personal support program for patients

A team of bariatric surgeons at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital today performed the first adjustable gastric band procedure in the United States using the Realize Adjustable Gastric Band–C, a new surgical implant allowing for greater ease of use and wider adjustment range for severely obese patients.

Only recently approved for use in the United States, the Realize® Adjustable Gastric Band –C has been used successfully in thousands of patients worldwide.

The Realize Adjustable Gastric Band–C is part of Realize™ Banding Solution, a comprehensive program of Ethicon Endo-Surgery (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) now available through St. Mary’s Hospital. It offers the latest in gastric band technology as well as Realize mySuccess, a personalized patient support system helping each patient to build the necessary habits in nutrition and exercise, as well as ongoing communication with their healthcare team, to ensure long-term success.

Gregory L. Schroder, M.D., F.A.C.S., Matthew L. Brengman M.D., F.A.C.S., and Eliseo Bautista, M.D., are the surgeons performing the procedures at St. Mary’s.

“Weight loss surgery has made significant progress in the last 10 years with new options in surgical procedures and technologies now available to patients,” said Dr. Brengman, a leading bariatric surgeon practicing at St. Mary’s. “Our bariatric program is nationally recognized for excellence and we saw an opportunity to offer this new procedure. We believe it will leave a positive impact on many individuals throughout Central Virginia who for years have struggled with obesity.”

The Realize Adjustable Gastric Band-C allows for greater ease of use and wider adjustment range for severely obese patients, who typically are 100 pounds or more over ideal body weight or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 35. It features a streamlined band design that is pre-curved to facilitate placement around the stomach and has a closing mechanism that is easy to lock and re-lock.

The Realize band includes a soft balloon of sterile saline, which controls the band’s tightness around the stomach.

During the laparoscopic procedure, the band is wrapped around the stomach to create two chambers -- a small upper stomach with a narrow opening to the lower stomach. Once the band is in place, surgeons attach the Realize Injection Port to the abdominal wall underneath the skin, whereby doctors can inject or remove saline to tighten or loosen the band. The tighter the band, the more quickly the upper stomach fills up and the less food a person can eat. Adjustments are made periodically based on the patient's individual needs.

Before and after surgery, patients can access Realize mySUCCESS; the interactive web application allows them to develop personalized eating and fitness plans and links them to their health care team who can track their progress between visits. It also provides support and information on recovery and adjusting to new eating habits.

“Patients who undergo weight loss surgery often face a host of challenges such as adjusting to a new lifestyle of diet and exercise, and this often can be overwhelming,” adds Dr. Brengman. “By offering the Realize program as well as the latest in bariatric surgical options, we can provide our patients with the highest level of care.”

In addition to Realize mySUCCESS, benefits of the Realize Personalized Banding Solution include:

  • With laparoscopic surgery, smaller incisions and less tissue trauma result in shorter hospital stays, faster recovery, smaller scars, and less pain than open surgical procedures – and usually less time under anesthesia.
  • It is the safest and most effective for weight loss; it has lower leak rates than other adjustable bands.
  • It is adjustable so if the rate of weight loss is not acceptable, the band can be tightened or loosened.
  • The surgery does not permanently change the anatomy of the stomach and intestines, and the Realize Band can be removed if necessary.

In multiple studies involving over 3,000 patients, adjustable gastric banding resulted in excess weight loss ranging from 28 percent to 87 percent, with a minimum two-year postoperative follow-up.

According to the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), more than 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from severe obesity and about 205,000 people are expected to have some form of bariatric surgery this year. The two most common procedures are gastric bypass and gastric banding.

Patients who are severely obese and are considering weight loss surgery may attend free information sessions on the Realize Personalized Banding Solution, held at St. Mary’s in November and December. For dates and information, please call (804) 359-WELL or visit

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