Richmond Observer – Bariatric Program Expands to Complete Weight Loss Center

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PINEHURST – The Metabolic and Weight Management Center is now open in Southern Pines offering new medical resources for surgical and non-surgical weight loss.

A joint venture between Pinehurst Surgical Clinic, FirstHealth of the Carolinas, and Pinehurst Medical Clinic, the center is unique in the region and one of the few comprehensive metabolic centers in North Carolina.

Located off Morganton Road at 300 Pavilion Way, Suite 102, the Metabolic & Weight Management Center opened to patients in February, with the addition of medical weight management services in April. The Center is an extension of the FirstHealth Bariatrics program, founded in 1999, and the new name and building mark a significant expansion in capacity.

Alex Bonnecaze, MD, an endocrinologist from Pinehurst Medical Clinic, joined David Grantham, MD, and Raymond Washington, MD, bariatric surgeons from Pinehurst Surgical Clinic, to form an interdisciplinary team of physicians. All three are highly experienced and board certified.

“There has been a growing need to provide non-surgical options for weight loss,” Dr. Washington said. “Surgery is not the preferred approach for all patients, and the addition of medical weight management allows us to continue to treat people who are not surgical candidates or want to try another first. way.”

Expanding services and hiring an endocrinologist also creates the opportunity to provide better and more streamlined patient care.

Endocrinology, or the study and management of hormones, can help nonsurgically treat the complex disease of obesity. Dr. Bonnecaze offers a variety of tools for medical weight management, including anti-obesity medications. He works one-on-one with patients to determine an ideal treatment plan for their specific situation. Individualized plans can include lab work, treating obesity-related complications, and helping to change habits that inhibit weight loss.

Non-surgical patients also receive advice from a registered dietitian and personalized weight-loss diet plans.

“Having a variety of tools available to help patients with their weight helps us provide the best care to treat each patient and decide which approach works for them,” Dr. Bonnecaze said.

Surgical and non-surgical patients work with the Centre’s multidisciplinary team, which includes a program manager, program specialist, licensed clinical social worker, registered nurse, trained patient attendants and registered dietitians.

“The team approach and comprehensive care we provide sets us apart from other weight loss programs,” Dr. Grantham said. “We focus on the overall health of the person and meticulously address all aspects of our patients’ needs.”

Drs. Grantham and Washington use a dual-surgeon approach and have performed nearly 1,500 bariatric surgeries together. Surgical procedures available at the Center include Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. Both surgeries can be performed laparoscopically and robotically.

Additional benefits of the surgical program include:

  • Comprehensive preoperative education and hands-on nutrition classes
  • Monthly support groups led by a behavioral coach
  • Access to a dedicated nurse line with daily monitoring of post-operative telephone calls
  • Access to behavioral staff to support adaptive outcomes
  • Lifetime follow-up by multidisciplinary team

All patients also have access to store products, including protein and vitamin supplements, as well as nutrition and food preparation classes led by registered dietitians in the Center’s full-service kitchen.

As obesity rates continue to rise, access to medical weight loss programs that provide positive long-term results is increasingly important. According to the World Health Organization, at least 2.8 million people die each year from obesity and its related conditions.

“Creating a comprehensive center is something we’ve been working on for a long time,” said program manager Christi Embler, RN, BSN, CBN. “We have always had the vision to serve the community at a higher level and we are happy to have those capabilities now.”

For more information about the Metabolic & Weight Management Center, call 910-725-7966 or visit www.WeightLossNC.org. Suppliers of Pinehurst Surgical Clinic and Pinehurst Medical Clinic are under contract with FirstHealth Metabolic & Weight Management Center.

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