Dr. Peter M. Denk, who has extensive experience in minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, has joined the Lehigh Medical Group and offers weight-loss surgery at Lehigh Regional Medical Center.
Denk joins Dr. Martin Barrios and will help develop incisionless weight-loss surgery, single-incision weight-loss and abdominal surgery, and minimally invasive GI surgery at the local hospital, said Maria Creed, marketing director at LRMC.
At a recent information seminar at LRMC, Denk gave a PowerPoint presentation of the various surgical non-invasive ways to help people lose weight. The seminar was attended by around 20 people who have expressed an interesting a weight-loss surgical procedure or through a referral from a physician.
Denk was born in Milwaukee, Wisc., and completed the first part of his education in the Midwest. According to Creed, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with degrees in honors molecular biology and history of science in 1997. From there he studied medicine at the prestigious University of Michigan Medical School receiving the degree medical doctor in 2001.
For the next five years he specialized in general surgery at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Denk said he recognized the benefits of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to patient care and he chose to pursue advanced training in that field.
He was awarded a fellowship in endoscopic and minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgery training with Dr. Lee Swanstrom, a pioneer in laparoscopic surgery in Portland, Oregon, Creed said.
While there, he became a part of the team of surgeons led by Swanstrom that performed the very first transgastric natural orifice cholecystecgtomy, a procedure in which a gallbladder was removed through the mouth) in the United States in May of 2007.
After the fellowship, Denk began serving as a consultant for USGI Medical, a California company developing surgical devices for "incisionless surgery." Since then Denk has worked to develop non-invasive treatments for obesity.
At the informational seminar, Denk noted that there are many over weight and obese people who could benefit from the new procedures such as lap-band surgery which in effect places a band around the upper part of the stomach. It is completely different than stomach "stapling" which he said is not preferred today.
"It's not invasive and a patient sometimes can come into the hospital in the morning and leave in the afternoon. There may be an occasion where a patient is kept overnight for observation."
As for the lap-band procedure, Denk said the stomach holds much less food and when the patient eats a smaller amount, he feels full.
After the procedure, Denk said the patient is on a liquid diet for a few days before he or she resumes regular food. Before one can have the surgery, they must see a dietician who will explain new eating habits.
At the informational seminar he explained different surgical procedures that can help overweight people and those that are obese also to lose weight.
"Individuals with such diseases as diabetes, heart trouble, and other medical problems, often can benefit with a loss of weight. Sometimes a person with diabetes can see it disappear. Of course, that is with diet and with exercise
He explained one method known as "ROSE" which is a procedure designed for patients gaining weight after a previous gastric bypass.
"It uses a special endoscope through the mouth to reshape the pouch and stoma of patients so that can continue to lose weight properly. The procedure is done as an out-patient and patients typically have no abdominal pain because Denk said there are no incisions.
He is the primary surgeon educator for USGI medical and had taught nearly all surgeons performing ROSE in the world. He also served as the director of Endoscopic Surgery for a high-volume minimally invasive bariatric surgery group in Kentucky prior to moving to Southwest Florida.
With the addition of Denk, Lehigh Regional Medical Center is one of only two centers in the United States currently offering the Rose procedure.
Using similar techniques used for weight-loss surgery, both Dr. Denk and with Dr. Barrios offer minimally invasive abdominal surgery, commonly called general surgery.
We are excited about the addition of Dr. Peter Denk and what he brings to the Lehigh Medical Group as we look to grow our services to offer more options to the people in Lee County, " said Chris Rakunas, LRMC's CEO. "I am confident that with Dr. Denk's extensive background In the healthcare industry, coupled with the existing talent of Dr. Barrios and the whole medical group, we will continue to provide the best medical services to the area."
The next's free informational seminar will be held Sept. 23 at 6 to 7 p.m. at the conference room in the front area of Lehigh Regional Medical Center. You can call 239-368-0241 for an appointment. You can also go online at: www.bariatricsbybarrios.com for more information.
Denk's office is at 1530 Lee Blvd., in the Lehigh Medical Plaza, Suite 1100 in the building next to the hospital.
Making up the rest of the staff is Marisol Rivea, medical assistant, and Kim Johnson, clinical coordinator, who often attends the informational seminars. She has undergone the lab-band surgery to lose weight and can answer questions from those who attend. Denk, who conducts the informational seminars, talks about the price of the procedures and the specifics of weight-loss surgery. He said his staff will also obtain all the information involved from your insurance company before going through the procedure.
"We know how to deal with them," he said. "We take that off your shoulders." Those who want to self pay are also urged to contact the group.
There are light refreshments at the informational seminars and a questionnaire is passed out if you are interested in setting up an appointment with Deck and his team.