The designation recognizes that BMSCH and its surgeons are providing exceptional care and are dedicated to continuously improving patient safety and success.
Obesity is an epidemic that affects more than 12.5 million children and adolescents in the United States, and the incidence of morbid obesity is continuing to grow exponentially each year. Bariatric surgery, also known as metabolic surgery, at BMSCH is a key health tool that helps adolescents aged 15 through 21 who are suffering from obesity and obesity-related health issues, and have several failed attempts at weight management.
Qualifications that adolescents must meet in order to be considered for these surgeries include having a BMI of 50 or more, or having a BMI of 40 with physical and emotional obesity-associated problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety, joint pain, asthma, fatty liver and more. In order to be eligible for surgery, adolescents also must have reached skeletal maturity, have documentation of at least one physician-supervised diet plan in the past five years or participated in the Healthy Challenge weight awareness program, have no uncontrolled psychiatric illness, no history of drug or alcohol abuse within the past year, and must be committed to participating in the post-operative exercise and support programs.
Through the program, BMSCH and RWJUH help patients to achieve their health goals through pre-operative preparation, multi-disciplinary evaluation, nutrition education, bariatric-specific support group topics, lifetime follow-up, exercise programs and encouragement at every avenue of their progressing journey to help patients perceive, believe and achieve their health and weight loss goals. Designation as a Center of Excellence supports the hospital’s longstanding commitment to exceeding the highest standards and protocols by providing safe and lasting care to its bariatric patients in an environment that is dedicated to their comfort and dignity, every step of the way.
In order to be named the world’s first Adolescent Center of Excellence for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, BMSCH met vigorous standards set in place by the Surgical Review Corporation. Requirements include: an institutional commitment to excellence, surgical experience of performing at least 80 qualifying bariatric surgery procedures in the preceding 12 months, a program medical director of bariatric surgery, an assistant medical director of pediatrics, an assistant medical director of pediatric surgery, interdisciplinary team, a full complement of consultative services, complete line of equipment and surgical instruments to provide appropriate perioperative care for patients, proper surgeon qualifications and a commitment to ongoing medical education, a surgical team and support staff, patient education and support programs, and a long-term patient follow-up program to consistently monitor and track outcomes, complications and comorbidities for bariatric surgery patients.
BMSCH’s program only allows a surgeon of excellence (SOEMBS), as designated by the Surgical Review Board, to perform surgery on its adolescent patients. A surgeon of excellence ‘has performed at least 125 qualifying bariatric surgery procedures in his or her lifetime, with at least 50 cases performed in the preceding 12 months’ and exceeds the national benchmarks for complications.
“This designation reinforces the quality of our program and our dedication to achieving the highest level of patient care and outcomes,” said Ragui Sadek (pictured right), M.D., FACS, SOEMBS Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at BMSCH. “The Center of Excellence designation allows patients the ability to identify providers that meet and exceed the requirements for delivering the highest quality perioperative and long-term follow up care, so they can make informed decisions when selecting a healthcare provider for specialized treatments and procedures, like bariatric surgery. Our bariatric program treats patients form across the globe, helping them achieve health and wellbeing.”
“Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital perform as the premier hospital havens for the adult and adolescent bariatric population to obtain safe, comfortable and effective medical care,” said Kimberly Brennan (pictured right) RN, BSN, CBN and Bariatric Center of Excellence Program Coordinator at RWJUH and BMSCH. “Earning this designation took a lot of hard work and dedication, but it is something we are extremely proud of, as we are the first and only in the world. Bariatric surgery can dramatically improve the quality of life for patients with obesity, both physically and mentally, and helps them live longer, happier and healthier lives. We have a dedicated interdisciplinary team who understand our patients and create tailored weight loss programs and treatment plans to meet their unique needs.”