Lutheran Officials Proud to See Bariatric Surgery Numbers Grow While Helping Patients Shrink

Significant milestone reached by center earlier this month

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013) – The Lutheran Bariatric Center has performed and surpassed the milestone of 1,000 weight-loss surgeries since the program began in 2005. The Lutheran Bariatric Center offers a comprehensive, medically supervised weight-loss program and serves severely and morbidly obese patients in northeastern Indiana, southern Michigan and northwestern Ohio.

The multidisciplinary team is comprised of nurses, registered dietitians, physicians, behaviorists, an exercise specialist, an insurance specialist and a clinical nurse specialist. The Lutheran Bariatric Center emphasizes education and support in addition to individual commitment to enable patients to drastically improve their quality of life.

“Our bariatric team has been given a wonderful opportunity to help individuals in our community overcome the physical and emotional devastation associated with severe obesity,” said Dale Sloan, MD, FASMBS, medical director of the Lutheran Bariatric Center. “Couple our multidisciplinary approach with a strong foundation of patient education and we have a recipe for success to deliver positive outcomes. The number 1,000 is only important as an indicator of the lives that have been changed.”

Lutheran’s bariatric program offers three surgical options:
• Sleeve gastrectomy,
• Adjustable gastric band and
• Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

The program also incorporates OPTIFAST® meal replacements and offers continuing education through weekly classes. Comprehensive education is critical for success, so patients attend four weekly preoperative classes and six weeks of postoperative classes specially tailored for them.

A patient’s length of hospital stay depends on the procedure and the patient. The average is a two-day hospital stay for Roux-en-Y surgery and for sleeve gastrectomy. Gastric band placement typically is performed as an outpatient procedure. All three surgeries are conducted laparoscopically.

After the first year, patients are supported and monitored medically for their lifetime via annual visits.

Huntington resident Jason Coburn, 43, initially participated in the Lutheran Weight Management Center’s OPTIFAST® program with some success, but the weight eventually returned. “I have seen a few friends die recently, and it scared me,” Coburn said. “I knew I had to do something different.”

Coburn had a sleeve gastrectomy Sept. 17, 2012, and as a result, he has lost 150 pounds. Before his surgery, Coburn wore a 5XL shirt. Today, he is down to medium or large shirts and he wears a 32/34-inch waist pant.

“I have no body aches and no pains,” Coburn said. “I have crazy energy now. I dropped 150 pounds and I have had a lot of positives since the procedure. The Lutheran team takes the time to listen and they don’t give you the runaround. They are professional, helpful and just a joy to be around. I stand behind this program.”

Coburn took two weeks off of work before returning to his post as a driver for UPS. He loads his own truck and delivers parcels throughout the day while maintaining his weight loss.

“My customers didn’t believe that I was who I was a year ago—I have to show them my driver’s license,” he added. “It’s been a great experience.”

Dr. Sloan has demonstrated a commitment to providing patient-centered care in his 40-year career and has been identified as one of the region’s best physicians in multiple publications, most recently by Fort Wayne Monthly in its recent “Best Doctors” issue. Board certified in general surgery, Dr. Sloan, who is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, has special interest and training in laparoscopic and bariatric surgery and he helped establish the comprehensive weight loss program at Lutheran Hospital.

The Lutheran Bariatric Center is accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. It first received accreditation in 2008.

The next Lutheran Bariatric Center information session will be offered Thursday, Oct. 10, at noon and again at 7 p.m., respectively. Each session takes place in the Lutheran Weight Management Center, which is located at the northeast corner of the Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, 7970 W. Jefferson Blvd., on the Lutheran Hospital campus. Most sessions last slightly longer than an hour. Guests are encouraged to arrive a few minutes early. Call 260-435-7844 for additional information. More information about the Lutheran Bariatric Center can also be found online at


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