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  • By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Guam's first bariatric surgery performed at GRMC

Guam’s first bariatric surgery was performed at Guam Regional Medical Center, marking the realization of a three-year goal for Dr. Christian Eusebio.

Eusebio, who performed the surgery on Oct. 30, 2020, has been working diligently to successfully implement the island’s first bariatric, or metabolic, surgery program to combat Guam’s obesity and diabetes epidemic. The surgery went smoothly with no complications and the patient was discharged the following day.

“The first procedure done on Guam was a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy or LSG,” said Dr. Eusebio, “Overall, the results are excellent in weight loss and remission of most obesity-related comorbidities. LSG is also less morbid than some other bariatric operations, such as laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, because of its technical simplicity and limited alteration of the normal anatomy.” Dr. Eusebio is a surgeon at Island Surgical Center with privileges at GRMC. He was assisted during the surgery by GRMC surgeon Dr. Nicholas Bandy.

“The surgery went very quickly and smoothly and without complications. If I was not told ahead of time this was the first procedure, I would have been easily convinced Dr. Eusebio has been doing this here for years,” said Dr. Bandy. “Bariatric surgery has not been a routine part of my practice in the past, but the data are clear that this is a lifesaving and medically necessary surgery that provides excellent and durable outcomes.” According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, in addition to weight loss, this surgery treats conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, and acid reflux. Bariatric surgery greatly reduces the risk of death from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases. These diseases are in the top five causes of death in Guam. “Given the rates of obesity on Guam, this procedure should be embraced strongly by the medical system, including our local insurance companies,” said Dr. Bandy. The patient was referred to Dr. Eusebio for bariatric surgery by her Primary Care Physician (PCP), Dr. Arania Adolphson at IHP Medical Group. “Under my care, the patient followed a diet and medication treatment plans and still struggled with her health conditions. Because she was so disciplined and determined to meet the physical and mental criteria, I knew she was a great candidate for metabolic surgery and referred her to Dr. Christian Eusebio for consultation and treatment,” said Dr. Adolphson. “Metabolic surgery, when done successfully and managed well, can improve many underlying health conditions includingdiabetes, hypertension and knee osteoarthritis. I am happy the patient’s surgery was a success and look forward to the improvement of her health and wellbeing.”

Dr. Eusebio’s metabolic program has strict guidelines for consideration. “The patient met all criteria to be a good candidate for LSG,” he said. “The overall goal is to put her diabetes, hyperlipidemia (abnormally high concentration of fats or lipids in the blood),and hypertension in remission to significantly reduce her risk of a catastrophic cardiovascular event ad prolong her life expectancy. I expect her to lose on average of 60-70 percent of her excess body weight, which will be roughly 70-80 lbs. The patient is highly motivated, I am confident she will do great and meet all my expectations.”

From the planning stages of his metabolic surgery program, Dr. Eusebio intended for surgeries to be performed at GRMC.

“Island Surgical Center and GRMC have always had a good business relationship and the infrastructure at GRMC accommodates bariatric surgery and the patients,” said Dr. Eusebio.

Since surgery, the patient has lost 20 lbs., more important than the weight loss, her high blood pressure and sugar levels have dropped to a safe range. As a result, the patient no longer needs to take medications to control hypertension or diabetes. These positive changes to serious medical conditions will enable the patient to lead a healthier, longer life.

“GRMC is proud to support Guam’s first bariatric and metabolic surgery program. This is an exciting medical development for Guam, where so many of our people suffer serious weight issues and medical conditions as a result,” said Dr. Michael Cruz, GRMC President/CEO, “I am pleased by Dr. Eusebio’s passion to reduce obesity and the comorbid conditions in our community. GRMC is happy to play a role in bringing this important procedure to Guam.”

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