Valley of the Sun, AZ

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

A Gateway to Quality Care

 Banner Health June 07, 2014
Submitted by Banner Health

Nestled conveniently between Gilbert and Mesa, sits one of the Valley's health care jewels, Banner Gateway Medical Center. The hospital campus boasts all the clinical expertise and amenities of a leading-edge medical facility, including a nationally recognized weight-loss and bariatric surgery center. Banner Gateway is also home to the Southwest's foremost oncology destination, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Arizona extension of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Banner Gateway's medical services include a wide array of clinical specialties to support this growing community's varied health care needs. From emergency care and maternity services to general surgery, orthopedic care, and everything in between, the experts at the Gilbert-based medical center are trained to deliver the best in clinical care by focusing on the whole person — mind, body, and spirit. But what sets this campus apart is its prowess in addressing the very unique needs of the individual, by using the latest clinical advancements to support, for example, those battling weight issues or at risk for breast cancer.

Building Health by Losing Weight
The Weight Loss Center at Banner Gateway Medical Center is a recognized Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The center incorporates multidisciplinary approaches to weight loss, addressing the needs of individuals with moderate weight issues as well as those who are morbidly obese.

The programs offered through the hospital's Weight Loss Center include:
  • Jump Start, a 12-week, non-surgical program that integrates body composition with a medical analysis specific to the individual
  • A Non-Surgical Weight Loss Program for those with a high body mass index (BMI) but not at the level to qualify for metabolic surgery
  • A Bariatric Surgery Program, an approach requiring surgical intervention for those who have not been successful in losing weight through other non-invasive measures.

Dr. David Podkameni, MD, is the medical director of the Bariatric Surgery program at Banner Gateway. Originally from Brazil, where he graduated medical school, Dr. Podkameni completed his internship at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and his fellowship in Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.

"I was a pediatric surgeon when I was awarded a fellowship position with the Cleveland Clinic and was interested in increasing my knowledge and skills in laparoscopy," says Dr. Podkameni. "Little did I know I would fall in love with this specialty. Doing the surgery I love, and studying and understanding, on a deeper level, nutrition and metabolism really connected with me."

Bariatric surgery, also known as metabolic surgery, is reserved for those who weigh 100 pounds more than their ideal body weight. These individuals have a BMI exceeding 40, or one over 35 with a health complication caused by obesity such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. Candidates will have attempted other weight loss programs, even those that are medically supervised, without success maintaining weight loss for a significant period of time.

"My best advice to a prospective patient is to engage with a program that will follow you for at least five years and one that provides nutritional, psychological, and educational support," suggests Dr. Podkameni. "The program should offer not just one surgical option but several."

A variety of surgical approaches are used at Banner Gateway depending on the individual patient's health condition. After surgery, these patients are typically able to forgo medications that were necessary prior to the procedure, such as those used to treat diabetes or high blood pressure. Patients who previously experienced sleep apnea will often find it has resolved. Most importantly, life expectancy and quality of life are often dramatically improved following bariatric surgery.

"We can make a huge impact on someone's health by correcting a problem often misunderstood or not adequately addressed by the medical community," shares Dr. Podkameni. "Bariatric surgery is a specific and efficacious approach to addressing obesity and all of its related conditions by helping reset the metabolism, giving people the chance for a new start."

The Center of Excellence designation means that patients who have undergone bariatric surgery at Banner Gateway have been able to lose 50 percent of excess body weight and maintain that loss for at least three years. The staff is trained to understand the health challenges of patients with obesity, to ensure complications are kept to a minimum, and any concerns are identified and addressed at the earliest possible stage. Banner Gateway offers an environment specially designed for bariatric candidates, including properly fitting hospital gowns, blood pressure cuffs sized correctly, and beds and bathrooms equipped to accommodate their needs. The program involves more than just surgery; experts in health, nutrition, and exercise provide guidance and planning to support the recovery and maintenance process for every patient.

Banner Gateway Medical Center

  • Family-centered maternity services
  • Weight loss program including bariatric surgery options and medical weight loss management
  • Dedicated cancer care unit
  • Emergency care
  • Inpatient and outpatient surgery including minimally invasive procedures, orthopedics and general surgery


Better Outcomes From Early Diagnoses
Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, located on the Banner Gateway campus, is celebrated for its approach to treating cancer at every stage, and just as importantly, identifying ways to facilitate prevention and early detection.

One of the many leading-edge programs offered by Banner MD Anderson is its Undiagnosed Breast Clinic. A primary goal of the clinic is to detect the presence of any potential cancer in its earliest possible stage to improve treatment outcomes. The experts at the Undiagnosed Breast Clinic understand the stress and anxiety caused by an abnormal mammogram screening or discovery of a breast lump through examination, and they mobilize quickly to provide a diagnosis within 24 to 48 hours.

A patient visiting the Undiagnosed Breast Clinic starts her day consulting with a clinic physician, such as Dr. Shefali Birdi, MD, an internal medicine specialist. All necessary diagnostic testing is performed during that appointment, ranging from diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound to MRI and biopsy and everything in between.

“Same-day testing offers a tremendous amount of peace of mind to our patients, and providing all of our services under one roof is very reassuring,” says Dr. Birdi. “I take the time to explain everything about the situation to the patient, talking to her about genetic counseling if appropriate — which we offer — and about the diagnostic procedures I’m recommending.”

The clinic's multidisciplinary care team also includes radiologists like Dr. Vilert Loving, MD, director of breast imaging at Banner MD Anderson. If something abnormal appears in one of the patient's imaging studies, Dr. Loving may recommend a biopsy.

“A breast biopsy can take as little as 15 minutes,” explains Dr. Loving. “If the biopsy is done in the morning, we usually get the results back that afternoon. Then I’ll discuss with the patient what her options are."

If a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, she can be quickly referred to Banner MD Anderson's Comprehensive Breast Program for follow-up and development of a treatment plan that incorporates the latest and most innovative medical advancements.

Since opening little over a year ago, the Undiagnosed Breast Clinic has already provided care to hundreds of women — and even a few men. “Our goals with the Undiagnosed Breast Clinic are to eventually have daily operation, continue to have result turnaround within 24 hours, and to continue to serve more patients,” says Banner MD Anderson's Dr. Stephanie Byrum, MD, a general surgeon who specializes in the treatment of breast disease. “The quick service helps to relieve that anxiety and provide relief. Everything we do is about supporting the patient.”

A Health Care Destination for Every Need
Banner Gateway is the premier destination for health and wellness in the East Valley and beyond. With trusted and trained clinical staff prepared to care for virtually every condition across the health care spectrum, this region of the Valley has ready access to a gateway to quality care.


For more information about Banner Gateway Medical Center and its Weight Loss Center, please call 480-543-2606.
To learn about available programs at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, contact 480-256-6444 or go to www.BannerMDAnderson.com.

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 Banner Health| June 07, 2014
Categories:  Feature

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