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University of Missouri Health Care News Releases
University Hospital surgeon first to perform single-incision weight-loss surgery

COLUMBIA, Mo. - University Hospital surgeon Roger de la Torre, M.D., recently performed the first single-incision adjustable gastric band weight-loss surgery in mid-Missouri.

Traditional laparoscopic gastric banding surgery involves a surgeon making as many as to six small incisions in the patient's abdomen. De la Torre's new surgical technique requires only a single incision in the patient's navel. Through that incision, de la Torre surgically places the gastric band device in the standard location inside the patient's stomach.

Single-incision surgery leaves almost no visible scar on the patient's abdomen. Once the wound heals, it is virtually invisible. Patients also experience less pain and a faster recovery, since the surgery involves fewer incisions.

"The single-incision surgery enables us to accomplish all of the goals of gastric banding," said de la Torre. "We can place the band around the stomach to limit how much volume a person will eat to feel full."

The adjustable gastric band is a silicone band that is surgically placed around the top part of the stomach to reduce the amount of food a patient can hold in his or her stomach. The band helps obesity patients gain the ability to control portion size and realize long-term weight loss.

Surgery becomes a weight-loss option when obese patients struggle to lose weight through diet and exercise. Those who suffer from severe obesity are at risk for life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Gastric band surgery often reduces these health risks, if the patient maintains a healthy diet and lifestyle.

"Typically, patients can lose up to half of their excess body weight within two years of gastric band surgery," said de la Torre. "We expect the single-incision surgery to produce similar results, with the added benefits of an even less-invasive surgical approach."

Internationally recognized as a leader in laparoscopic surgery, de la Torre has been invited to hospitals and universities throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and South America to lecture and perform various laparoscopic operations. He holds more than 50 patents worldwide for surgical devices and has performed more than 5,000 bariatric procedures. He has also published articles in surgical journals and laparoscopic textbooks about the techniques he helped develop.

University of Missouri Health Care's Missouri Bariatric Services program is recognized as a Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The Center of Excellence designation is awarded to bariatric surgery programs with excellent standards of patient care and effective results. Designated programs must have high surgery success rates, good short-term and long-term results, a comprehensive program and extensive experience. De la Torre serves as medical director of Missouri Bariatric Services and is part of a multidisciplinary team that includes Nicole Fearing, M.D., Archana Ramaswamy, M.D., Bruce Ramshaw, M.D. and Kevin Suttmoeller, D.O., an internal medicine physician who specializes in obesity. In addition, Missouri Bariatric Services consists of Justin DeLap, program manager, as well as a comprehensive staff of nurses, dietitians, physical therapists and counselors specially trained in helping patients manage their weight loss.

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