Premier surgeons perform new weight loss procedure

Sara Trombley of Maryville knew she wanted to lose weight. But she wasn’t sure about all the risks and potential side effects of various surgical weight loss procedures. After discussing the options with physicians at Foothills Weight Loss Specialists in Maryville, Trombley decided to have a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG).

“I wasn’t crazy about the idea of having something implanted in my body, so this was a good option for me,” said Trombley.

Like other procedures, LSG creates weight loss by restricting the amount of food a patient can eat. But a LSG involves the actual removal of up to 85 percent of the stomach.

“Patients are able to eat normally, although in much smaller amounts, and they feel full faster,” said Dr. Mark Colquitt, surgeon at Foothills Weight Loss Specialists. “It’s a fairly new procedure but becoming more common around the country.”

Trombley was one of the first patients in East Tennessee to have the procedure. She lost roughly 40 pounds in the first nine weeks after surgery and is still losing weight.

Most insurance plans won’t cover a LSG, but it is less expensive than other weight loss surgeries. Recovery is usually quicker than other options such as a gastric bypass.

LSG patients also have less risk of side effects or complications. “Patients report they are able to eat more normally and experience less nausea than with other procedures,” said Dr. Jonathan Ray of Foothills.

Since the gastrectomy doesn’t involve an intestinal bypass, there is less risk of potentially costly complications such as ulcers, vitamin deficiencies and obstructions.

In studies, the sleeve gastrectomy procedure appears to reduce the levels of hormones responsible for hunger and appetite. It is also a suitable form of surgery for patients with medical conditions that would put them at high risk for other weight loss procedures, even if they aren’t classified as morbidly obese.

Dr. Colquitt points out that the LSG is becoming more popular, but isn’t for everyone.

“A sleeve gastrectomy patient is someone who does not like the idea of having a band in them or having frequent band adjustments. The sleeve can be used as a staged procedure where the sleeve is the first stage followed by the gastric bypass a year later. Staging can used when someone needs to lose a lot of weight -- 200 pounds or more.”

Most patients do some research before seeing see a doctor, and they appreciate having a number of choices available.

“This is just one of a growing number of options for surgical weight loss,” Colquitt said.

Foothills Weight Loss Specialists offers both surgical as well as non-surgical weight loss solutions from highly trained, board-certified surgeons. It has been designated a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Foothills Weight Loss Specialists is a division of Premier Surgical Associates and works in partnership with the Blount Memorial Weight Management Center. For more information, visit or

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