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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 5, 2007

UI Hospitals and Clinics named Center of Excellence for bariatric surgery

University of Iowa Health Care leaders announced today that UI Hospitals and Clinics has been named an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Center of Excellence.

Faced with clinical evidence that the most experienced and best-run bariatric surgery programs have by far the lowest rates of complications, the ASMBS Centers of Excellence program was created to recognize bariatric surgery centers that perform well and to help surgeons and hospitals continue to improve the quality and safety of care provided.

To earn a Center of Excellence designation, UI Hospitals and Clinics underwent a site inspection during which all aspects of the bariatric surgery program -- UI Obesity Surgery -- and its surgical processes were closely examined, and data on health outcomes was collected. In becoming a Center of Excellence, UI Obesity Surgery has held itself to some of the highest standards in the industry. The designation is indicative of the program's demonstrated track record and comprehensive commitment to a high level of bariatric care.

The Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence program benefits patients by enhancing safety and advocacy efforts, providing a platform for continuously improving the procedure, building a shared database to help guide decisions about patient care, and advancing research in the field.

Obesity has become a significant national health issue, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that 66 percent of all U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Morbid obesity is closely correlated with a number of serious conditions that severely undermine the health of overweight patients, including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Bariatric surgery, when performed correctly, can help obese patients manage these conditions. By definition, surgeons with ASMBS Center of Excellence designations practice only top-quality care, ensuring efficacy of the procedure with each patient to the best of their abilities.

UI Obesity Surgery provides a comprehensive pre-operative patient education program and a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. The program's low complication rates match, and even exceed, the best published national series in the field, making the UI Obesity Surgery program one of the nation's safest. A long-term, post-operative follow-up process maximizes weight loss.

Isaac Samuel, M.D., director of UI Obesity Surgery, stated, "UI Hospitals and Clinics is widely recognized as the birthplace of obesity surgery. Edward Mason, M.D., professor emeritus, was the first to conceptualize and perform gastric bypass operations for severe obesity in 1965 and is widely known as the father of obesity surgery. I thank the entire team for working hard over the past three years to achieve this special designation."

The program was the first in Iowa to offer minimally invasive laparoscopic gastric bypass for the treatment of severe obesity. Results show that this technically complex procedure can be performed safely at specialized centers. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is associated with less post-operative pain, reduced hospital stays, earlier return to work and substantial cosmetic benefits.

In 2005, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa designated UI Hospitals and Clinics as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. The national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association "Blue Centers for Bariatric Surgery" status followed in 2006. Those designations also underscored the program's excellence in patient education and outstanding clinical outcomes.

For further information, visit

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,