National Shift in Approach to Weight Loss Surgery Seen Locally at EMMC


(Bangor, Maine) – Weight loss surgery is a well-established procedure that has helped millions who have had health issues caused by obesity, but in recent years, doctors’ approach to the surgery has shifted significantly. A surgical option called sleeve gastrectomy has taken the lead both nationally and locally as the most frequently-performed weight loss procedure, over traditional gastric bypass and gastric band surgery.
During the procedure, a portion of the stomach is removed, creating a “sleeve” which restricts the space available for food. It decreases patients’ hunger hormones, so their appetites are reduced. This approach to surgery also has other advantages.
“Patients who receive a sleeve gastrectomy may better tolerate and absorb vitamins, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), aspirin, and steroids. These medications are not well tolerated with gastric bypass,” explains Michelle Toder, MD, FACS, lead surgeon, EMMC Surgical Weight Loss. “With less alteration to the anatomy than with gastric bypass, we are also seeing fewer long term complications after surgery.”

Sixty percent of EMMC’s bariatric surgeries are now sleeves, and over the last three years, Eastern Maine Medical Center has performed more than 500 sleeve gastrectomies. According to the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), in 2014, 51.7 percent of patients chose sleeve gastrectomy nationally.

Patty Sprague, a patient who lost 127 pounds by participating in EMMC’s Surgical Weight Loss program, worked closely with her doctor to explore the various options before deciding on a sleeve gastrectomy. “At the time, I had no energy, and it was hard to comfortably complete simple household chores. After joining the program I was back to work just two weeks after the procedure, and experienced very little discomfort. When my physician talked to me about the benefits of sleeve gastrectomy, I knew it was the right option for me.”

“Weight loss surgery is a big decision, and we makes sure our patients have all of the information they need to choose what is best for them, because we know that one size does not fit all,” says Dr. Toder.
EMMC Surgical Weight Loss encourages individuals to learn more about sleeve gastrectomy and other types of weight loss surgery by viewing a new, 75-minute video series on-demand 24 hours a day at

About EMMC Surgical Weight Loss
For more than 30 years, EMMC Surgical Weight Loss has been helping people reshape their lives through education, access to state-of-the-art surgery for weight loss, and a strong support network. EMMC Surgical Weight Loss was reaccredited in 2015 by the American College of Surgeons as a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, which means EMMC’s bariatric surgery center meets or exceeds national requirements that demonstrate a commitment to the highest quality care for bariatric patients.


For more information, please contact EMMC Community Relations at  or (207) 973-9530.