When Dr. Natalee Stone joined the Riverside Surgical and Weight Loss Center and Steward Medical Group at the Sebastian River Medical Center, she went to work immediately, performing five separate bariatric surgeries on her very first days on the job – which happened to be Labor Day weekend.
Why? Because, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third (36.5 percent) of U.S. adults are now considered clinically obese and “Bariatric Centers of Excellence” like SRMC are seeing a huge increase in demand for surgical services to combat the epidemic.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a mere 12,775 bariatric surgeries were performed in this country back in 1996, and few of those employed today’s safer, minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques.
Today the number of bariatric procedures is well over 230,000 a year and growing. SRMC’s bariatric case load has increased 35 percent in just the past 12 months.
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