UNION, New Jersey ( 9/19/11)— New Jersey Bariatric Center® surgeons Dr. Ajay Goyal and Dr. Glenn Forrester became the first practice in New Jersey to offer robotic-assisted bariatric surgery, after performing the state’s first gastric bypass using the daVinci Surgical System at Trinitas Regional Medical Center.

The robotic surgery, which was done in July at Trinitas, opens the doors to weight loss surgery for bariatric patients whose excess weight placed limitations on conventional surgical tools.

“Higher-weight patients are more challenging to operate on because their body structure places limitations on conventional laparoscopic instruments,” explains Dr. Glenn Forrester, New Jersey Bariatric Center® surgeon and director of Bariatric Surgery at Trinitas. “The da Vinci diminishes the problem by giving the surgeon greater control and maneuverability.”

The da Vinci extends the reach of surgeons during delicate laparoscopic procedures with robotic “hands” that reproduce the fine movements of their fingers with incredible precision. At the same time, surgeons also control a tiny camera that enhances their vision with a hi-definition 3-D image. The minimally invasive procedure has the potential to raise the standard of care for complex surgeries, translating into numerous potential patient benefits, including less pain, a shorter recovery and quicker return to normal daily activities.

Trinitas is the first hospital in the state to expand its Robotic Surgery offerings to include bariatric surgery, according to Trinitas spokesman Doug Harris.

Bariatric surgery, also called weight-loss surgery, is study-proven to be more successful for obese patients than conventional weight loss methods, such as diet and/or exercise alone. Weight loss surgery alters the patients anatomy to limit the amount of food the patients can comfortably eat or both limits food intake and absorption of calories.

“The surgery is a way for people who have tried losing weight through other means to drastically increase their chances at being able to keep the weight off for good and finally live the healthy, active lives they have always dreamed about,” says Dr. Goyal, founder of the New Jersey Bariatric Center.

“A lot of people think weight loss surgery is a quick fix,” he explains. “That’s not true.  Surgery is only a tool, patients still have to eat healthy and exercise. However, for people who continuously struggle with significant excess weight and maintaining weight loss, we’ve seen them not only lose 100 pounds or more with these procedures, but also rid themselves of chronic illnesses like sleep apnea, diabetes and high blood pressure.”

Weight-loss surgery is approved for patients who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or who have a BMI of 35 to 39.9 and serious weight-related health problem. (Wondering what your BMI is? Check here.) One procedure, gastric banding, also known as the LAP-BAND or REALIZE Band, was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for patients with a BMI over 30 with co-morbid conditions.

As for the 20-year-old, 380-pound patient who was the recipient of the first robotic-assisted gastric bypass in New Jersey, he’s doing great, says Dr. Forrester.

“He’s lost more than 50 pounds since he first came to see us and his sleep apnea has resolved,” he reports. “I would say he’s sleeping better than he has in a long, long time.”


About New Jersey Bariatric Center®

The New Jersey Bariatric Center®, a medical & surgical weight loss center with offices in Union and Hoboken, New Jersey, helps patients achieve long-term weight loss success through the most advanced bariatric surgery procedures, including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, LAP-BAND  and REALIZE Band procedures. For more information about bariatric surgery, visit  www.NJBariatricCenter.com

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