It’s hard to enjoy life when you’re feeling unhappy and out of energy. Add in joint and back pain with poor sleeping habits, and day-to-day tasks become even harder. Extra weight was causing health and emotional challenges for Irenita James, so she decided to do something about it.

Irenita chose weight-loss surgery at the Tulane Bariatric Center, which was recently recognized as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®). Accreditation verifies the Tulane program meets the highest standards for patient safety and quality of care.

Less than a year after her surgery, Irenita’s life is significantly improved, she said. “I can run around with my nieces and nephews. I can breathe better, and my sleep apnea resolved so I get good sleep now,” she said. “I can run, and I feel free.”

Irenita’s experience is similar to many other patients’, said Dr. Christopher DuCoin, the Tulane Bariatric Center’s medical director. “Bariatric surgery can improve your overall health and help address related health issues,” he said. “Obesity is linked to increased incidence of everything from diabetes to hypertension to some cancers. Bariatric surgery is a low-risk option for many people who want to choose a healthier lifestyle.

“As an academic medical center, we are equipped to manage and address complex medical needs. Combining that ability with a bariatric center sets us apart and provides options to patients many centers can’t offer. A comprehensive program that cares for patients before, during and after their surgery is what this accreditation represents.”

The MBSAQIP Standards, outlined in the Resources for Optimal Care of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Patient 2016, ensure bariatric surgical patients receive a multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success. A joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), the accreditation affirms the center offers preoperative and postoperative care designed specifically for severely obese patients.

“It’s clear that patients suffering from obesity benefit most from a comprehensive program,” said Dr. Shauna Levy, a bariatric surgeon at Tulane Bariatric Center. “That’s important, as we know a lower body mass index can literally add years to a person’s life. With our program’s follow-up care and support groups, we’re going to stay with our patients every step of the way.”

Tulane Bariatric Center’s commitment to quality care begins with specially trained staff and surgeons who work closely to review and improve outcomes. The center provides a wide range of minimally invasive weight-loss surgical procedures, including sleeve gastrectomy, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and biliopancreatic diversions.

To earn the MBSAQIP designation, Tulane Bariatric Center met essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity. The center also participates in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports on the quality of its processes and outcomes, identifying opportunities for continuous quality improvement.

“We are incredibly proud of our team for achieving such an elite status with accreditation from MBSAQIP,” said Dr. William Lunn, president and CEO of Tulane Health System. “At Tulane, we take our commitment to quality very seriously. This accomplishment highlights our dedication to our patients, and it affirms our approach to providing high-quality, comprehensive care in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

After submitting an application, centers seeking MBSAQIP accreditation undergo an extensive site visit by an experienced bariatric surgeon, who reviews the center's structure, process and clinical outcomes data.

Free informational sessions are offered at Tulane Medical Center every first and third Monday at 5:30pm beginning Aug. 6. Valet parking is free. Please call (504) 988-5110 with any questions or to register.

To learn more about Tulane Bariatric Center and its weight-loss options, or to use our free Body-Mass Index calculator, please visit our bariatric surgery page.