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  • Writer's pictureSamir Patel, M.D.

AtlantiCare Center for Surgical Weight Loss and Wellness celebrates 20 years

Twenty years ago, AtlantiCare’s Center for Surgical Weight Loss and Wellness began offering bariatric—or weight loss—surgery. (Courtesy Photo)

Twenty years ago, AtlantiCare’s Center for Surgical Weight Loss and Wellness began offering bariatric—or weight loss—surgery. We were the first to introduce this treatment for morbid obesity in our region. We knew how important it was for us to address the physical and mental health impact this disease has on individuals.

We began our program in 2002 by offering Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and in 2003 began providing the Lap Band®. Over the years, the field of bariatrics has evolved with new technology and advancements in medicine. The gastric sleeve procedure introduced in 2010 as a new restrictive bariatric option quickly gained popularity with patients replacing the Lap Band. Through this procedure, we reduce the stomach shape to be more of a tube or “banana” shape. This procedure allows for better absorption of nutrients.

AtlantiCare provides weight loss surgeries laparoscopically—or minimally invasively—for those who qualify.

In December of 2020, AtlantiCare became the first hospital in our region to offer robotic weight-loss surgery. Since then, we’ve provided more than 150 weight loss surgeries robotically. These include the gastric sleeve, gastric bypass and revision surgery that includes the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. The da Vinci Robotic system arms allow our surgeons to make small, precise movements with minimal trauma to the abdominal wall, resulting in less postoperative pain, often a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery.

Our bariatric providers personally offer patients the opportunity to improve life-limiting and dangerous health issues obesity can cause. These “co-morbidities” can include hypertension—or high blood pressure, sleep apnea, diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease and/or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Those who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35 with an obesity-related comorbidity or a BMI greater than 40 with no additional comorbidities qualify for surgery. The body mass index (BMI) is a measure that uses your height and weight to determine a healthy weight.

Medical treatment of obesity has also evolved. Our team provides a variety of non-surgical treatment options based on individuals’ unique needs. This approach is an alternative for those who might not qualify for, or want to have surgery but do want us to care for them in their journey to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The team approach to care includes physician/provider guided care; registered dietitian counseling, nutritional planning and education; and a three-month membership to the AtlantiCare LifeCenter with personalized coaching and health evaluations.

Over the last two decades, we’ve seen our patients reduce or eliminate co-morbidities through their commitment to making healthy, life-long changes. I’m always heartened hear patients’ stories—whether I see them in the office, in Downtown Hammonton, or elsewhere in the community.

Weight loss is truly a life-changing event. Together with you and your family, we’ll create a long-term plan to help you meet your needs and reach your goals—and live the healthy, confident life you want.

Our physicians and team are members of the community. They enjoy getting to know their patients and their families over the long-term follow-up care they provide. We are committed to guiding you in your journey long after surgery or participation in our medical management program.

You can learn more about the procedures and programs we offer by visiting There you can explore the benefits and alternatives of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, laparoscopic biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, and revision surgery. You can also view a free webinar to learn more about weight loss surgery. For additional information, call the AtlantiCare Access Center at 1 (888) 569-1000.

Samir Patel, M.D. is a surgeon at AtlantiCare.


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