A Center of Excellence at Buffalo General Medical Center 

by Annette Pinder

skinny beautiful blonde holding her old big pants

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese. Morbid obesity, typically defined as being 80-100 pounds or more over ideal body weight or having a body mass index of 40 or higher, has become a major local and national health issue. For those who are morbidly obese who have been unsuccessful in achieving their weight loss goals, bariatric surgery is often recommended.

Locally, the Center for Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Buffalo General Medical Center was recently named an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence (ASMBS BSOE) for the third time. It is a designation that recognizes bariatric surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes. Surgeons with ASMBS Centers of Excellence are the best in their field, and have extensive knowledge and experience in the procedures they perform.

Aaron Hoffman, M.D., FACS, is Chief of Surgery at Kaleida Health and Medical Director of the Center for Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery. He works with surgeons Alan Posner, M.D., FACS and John Butsch, M.D., FACS. “We have a unique multidisciplinary team approach,” says program manager and nurse practitioner, Barbara Lahrs, who began the Center 10 years ago with Dr. Posner. The team includes four nurse practitioners, several dietitians, a physical therapist and support staff. Ms. Lahrs conducts bi-weekly seminars, which are open to the public and program participants attend a formal seminar, conducted monthly, to meet with the surgeons. All prospective patients must complete a screening application.

In speaking about the Center, Dr. Hoffman says, “We have made unprecedented investments in support of our program. As we celebrate our 10-year anniversary, our expansion makes us the only Center in Buffalo performing both general and bariatric surgery. This includes laparoscopic and robotic surgery, anti-reflux surgery, hernia surgery, gall bladder surgery, and advanced general surgery. In fact, we perform more anti-reflux and weight loss surgeries than the Cleveland Clinic.” Weight-loss surgeries require a one to two-night stay, and patients typically return to work within two weeks. “We have great weight-loss outcomes, which also results in significant improvement in chronic medical conditions,” says Dr. Hoffman.

According to the National Institute of Health, bariatric surgery is the only effective therapy for morbid obesity and its complications, including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Bariatric surgery, when performed correctly, can help morbidly obese patients manage these conditions with the additional commitment from patients to practice a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise.

“Given the high rates of obesity and diabetes in Western New York, we are committed to providing world-class bariatric care right here in Western New York at the epicenter of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Most of all, we are committed to our patients. What truly separates us from others is that we follow our patients for life!,” says Dr. Hoffman.

Weight loss surgery seminars are open to the public and held at Buffalo General Medical Center bi-weekly on Thursdays at noon. Call the Center’s patient liaison, Melissa, at 716-859-2067 for the date of the next seminar. To download an application to be considered for bariatric surgery, visit http://www.kaleidahealth.org/Services and click on “Bariatric Program.”