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Support Group

Support groups present weight loss patients with a forum to openly discuss any problems or concerns regarding weight loss surgery. A variety of topics will be discussed with frequent guest speakers. Patients who share their experience and have the support of others tend to have better long term results.

Tuesday Support Group

Facilitator: Gayla Smith, RN, NEA Baptist Weight Loss Surgery Coordinator

NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, 4800 E. Johnson, Jonesboro, AR 72401
Held at 6:00 p.m. on the 1st Tuesday of every month
For more information about weight loss support groups, e-mail Gayla Smith.

Our Procedures

Roux-en-Y Divided Gastric Bypass (RYDGB)

Recognized by the NIH Consensus Report for the most effective treatment of clinically severe obesity, this procedure combines a gastric restrictive operation with slow gastric emptying and reduced food absorption to provide lifelong help for clinically severe obesity.

Most RYDGB procedures can be performed laparoscopically or with minimally invasive surgery. Laparoscopic procedures produce smaller incisions, allow for a shorter hospital stay and provide a quicker recovery. This operation divides the stomach into a small and large portion.

When the small, functioning upper stomach pouch is full (after only a few bites), patients will feel full and satisfied. In this way, the intake of food is dramatically limited and appetite is reduced. The rerouting of the small intestine slows food passage and mildly reduces absorption.

The Roux-en-Y Divided Gastric Bypass is currently the “gold standard” for the surgical treatment of clinically severe obesity. This procedure carries a national mortality rate of less than ½ percent, an operative morbidity (complication) rate of five to ten percent and an effective reduction on average of 50 to 70 percent of excess weight. In most cases, this is enough weight loss to reduce the life threatening diseases which comes with co-morbid obesity conditions.

Most average patients will lose as much as 100 pounds of about two thirds of their excess weight in one year. Some will lose a little more, some a little less. Weight loss may continue slowly during the second year.
Learn more about surgery options

Sleeve Gastrectomy or Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve

The “Lap-Sleeve” is the newest weight loss operation. This operation is restrictive only, like the BAND, but uses no foreign body.

The pouch is larger than with either the band or the bypass.

The pouch is a long, narrow tube between the esophagogastric junction and the distal part of the stomach. The Sleeve can be more easily converted to a bypass should that be necessary for more weight loss. (The BAND is difficult to convert). The Lap-Sleeve appears to be a very promising operation.

So far, complication rates with Sleeve Gastrectomy have been very low. Death rate and weight loss results have been somewhere between the BAND and the bypass.

Learn more about surgery options

Are You Obese?

Defining Obesity

Understanding obesity may give you the courage to take the first step toward surgery. Genetic factors play a significant role in obesity, but because of the stigma that comes with being obese, the medical condition is strongly misunderstood.

In the 1991 Consensus Report of the (NIH) the following conclusions were presented and clinically severe obesity was defined as:

  • Weight in excess of 100 pounds over the ideal calculated weight or Body Mass Index of approximately 40
  • Somewhat less than 100 pounds if there is a serious associated condition
  • Success in most cases of non-surgical treatment is only temporary
  • Most patients with clinically severe obesity have an organic, genetically based disease
  • Clinically severe obesity results in mortality rate greater than that of the general population in the same age group
  • Clinically severe obesity results in many serious medical, psychological, social and economic problems
  • Dietary regimens fail to provide long-term weight control in severely obese patients
  • People who are at least 100 pounds over their ideal body weight suffer severe health risks, not to mention discrimination, ridicule and misunderstanding.

Determining Obesity

  • Two of the most common methods for determining obesity are ideal calculated weight and body mass index.
  • Ideal Calculated Weight: The calculation for ideal calculated weight is:
  • For Men: 106 pounds for first five feet plus six pounds for each inch in height over five feet.
  • For Women: 100 pounds for first five feet plus five pounds for each inch over five feet.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI): The person’s weight in kilograms divided by his height in meters squared.

Click here to determine your own BMI

*A (BMI) of 40 is equal to approximately 100 pounds over ideal body weight, this is considered Morbidly Obese and represents a level for which weight loss surgery should be considered. When co-morbid conditions are present, a BMI of 35 or greater also indicates surgery should be considered.

Note: Some insurance companies and third party payers define obesity differently and insurance funding for bariatric surgery is not always available. For those whose insurance will not cover the procedure or those without insurance, pre-payment is sometimes an option.

Dangers of Obesity

There is considerable evidence that massive obesity shortens life. Obesity is also related to many other diseases. Many obese patients suffer from:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Restrictive Lung disease
  • Pickwickian Syndrome (falling asleep while sitting up)
  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Esophageal reflux
  • Infertility
  • Varicose Veins and stasis ulcers
  • Increased risk of cancer of the breast, uterus, and others

Morbid obesity is a medical disease with serious economic, social and psychological impact. Physical co-morbidities that affect the morbidly obese include:

  • Limited clothing choices and price
  • Furniture incapacity (seating in theaters, planes, buses, restaurant booths)
  • Personal hygiene (due to reach limitations)
  • Inability to tie shoelaces

Obese people also suffer from social and economic discrimination from family and friends. They also endure this at school, from healthcare providers and in the workplace.


How a Healthy Shoulder Works

Your shoulder is the most moveable joint in the body. It is made up of three bones:

  • the collarbone, or clavicle
  • the shoulder blade, or scapula
  • and the upper arm bone, or humerus

There are also two important joints that allow for movement:

  • The acromioclavicular joint connects the upper part of the shoulder blade (the acromion) to the collarbone.
  • The glenohumeral joint, also known as the shoulder joint, is a ball-and-socket joint that connects the upper arm to the shoulder blade. This joint allows free movement of the arm so that it can rotate in a circular fashion.

Although the shoulder is the most moveable joint in the body, it is unstable because the ball (the humerus) is larger than the socket (the glenoid) that holds it. To maintain stability, the bones of the shoulder are held in place by muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Tendons are tough cords of tissue that attach muscles to bone, and ligaments attach bones to each other for stability.

The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and their tendons, which act to hold the upper arm (humerus) to the socket of the shoulder (glenoid fossa). The rotator cuff also provides mobility and strength to the shoulder joint. Two sac-like structures, called bursae, allow smooth gliding between the bone, muscle, and tendon. They also cushion and protect the rotator-cuff structures from the upper part of the scapula (the acromion).

What causes shoulder pain?

According to the AAOS about 23,000 people have shoulder replacement surgery each year. This compares to more than 700,000 Americans a year who have knee and hip replacement surgery*. Shoulder problems may arise because of injury to the soft tissues of the shoulder, overuse or underuse of the shoulder, or even because of damage to the tissues.

Shoulder problems result in pain, which may be localized to the joint or travel to areas around the shoulder or down the arm. Damage to the shoulder joint may result in instability of the joint, and pain is often felt when raising the arm or when soft tissues are trapped between the bones (impingement). Impingement is particularly common in sports activities that involve repetitive overhead arm motions, such as pitching baseballs.

You may have a shoulder injury if:

  • Your shoulder is stiff and doesn’t allow full normal movement.
  • Your shoulder lacks strength to perform your daily activities.
  • Your shoulder feels as if it’s slipping out of place (upper arm bone “popping” or a feeling that your arm is sliding out of the shoulder socket).

Another common cause of shoulder pain is arthritis. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA) — sometimes called degenerative arthritis because it is a “wearing out” condition involving the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. OA can occur without a shoulder injury, but this seldom happens since the shoulder is not a weight-bearing joint like the knee or hip. Instead, shoulder OA commonly occurs many years following a shoulder injury, such as a dislocation, that has led to joint instability and damage, allowing OA to develop.

Your Treatment Options for Shoulder Pain

Following an orthopaedic evaluation of your shoulder, your doctor will review and discuss the results with you. Based on his or her diagnosis, your treatment options may include medication, physical therapy, shoulder joint fluid supplements (injections that provide temporary pain relief), and/or Total shoulder joint replacement

When joint pain and stiffness become severe enough to affect your daily life and comfort, and when that pain is not relieved by other treatment options, shoulder replacement may be recommended.

* — January 2006.

About Shoulder Replacement

Replacement of an arthritic or injured shoulder is less common than knee or hip replacement. However, shoulder replacement typically offers all the same benefits as those procedures — including joint pain relief and the restoration of more normal joint movement.

Restoring your movement is particularly important in the shoulder, because it’s the mechanism that allows your arm to rotate in every direction. If you’re experiencing severe shoulder pain and reduced shoulder movement, there are probably many daily activities you can no longer do — or do as comfortably — as before your shoulder problems began. This may mean you’re ready to consider shoulder replacement surgery.

In shoulder replacement surgery, the artificial shoulder joint can have either two or three parts, depending on the type of surgery required.

  • The humeral component (metal)
  • The humeral head component (metal)
  • The glenoid component (plastic) replaces the surface of the socket
  • There are two types of shoulder replacement procedures:
  • Partial shoulder replacement is performed when the glenoid socket is intact and does not need to be replaced. In this procedure, the humeral component is implanted, and the humeral head is replaced.

Total shoulder replacement is performed when the glenoid socket is damaged and needs to be replaced. All three shoulder joint components are used in this procedure.

What’s involved in shoulder surgery?

  • Certain parts of your shoulder joint are removed and replaced with a plastic or metal device called a prosthesis, or artificial joint.
  • The artificial shoulder joint can have either two or three parts, depending on the type of surgery required.
  • The humeral component (metal) is implanted in the humerus, or upper arm bone.
  • The humeral head component (metal) replaces the humeral head at the top of the humerus.
  • The glenoid component (plastic) replaces the surface of the glenoid socket, or shoulder socket.


How a Healthy Hip Works

The hip is one of the main weight-bearing joints in your body. It consists of two main parts:

  • A ball (femoral head) at the top of your thighbone (femur)
  • A rounded socket (acetabulum) in your pelvis

Ligaments, which are bands of tissue, connect the ball to the socket and help keep the ball and socket steady. A smooth, tough material called articular cartilage, which cushions the bones and lets them move easily, covers the surfaces of the ball and socket.

The rest of the surfaces of the hip joint are covered by a thin, smooth tissue liner called synovial membrane, which makes a small amount of fluid that acts as a lubricant so that the bones in the hip joint will not rub against each other.

What Causes Hip Pain

Pain in your hip can be debilitating, making it difficult for you to walk, climb stairs, or even pick up an object from the floor. It can limit your freedom of movement and ability to function independently.

While hip pain can be caused by deformity or by direct injury, like trauma or a sports injury, the most common cause of hip pain is osteoarthritis (OA) also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD). Depending on factors like age, weight, joint function, and activity, people with arthritis find their hip’s cartilage lining wears away over time. At that point, your bones begin to rub against each other, resulting in friction, swelling, pain, stiffness, and instability.

Experiencing joint pain day after day without relief can lead to “staying off” the joint — which often weakens the muscles around it so it becomes even more difficult to move.

Your Treatment Options

You don’t have to live with severe joint pain and the functional limitations it causes. If you have not experienced adequate results with medication and other conservative treatments, total joint replacement may provide the pain relief you long for, in addition to allowing you to return to the lifestyle and activities you enjoy. Your orthopaedic specialist can tell you whether you might benefit from joint replacement and explain the reasons why it may, or may not, be right for you.

Of course, even if your orthopaedic specialist determines that joint replacement is a good medical option for you, it is still up to you to make the final decision. The ultimate goal is for you to be as comfortable as possible, and that always means making the best decision for you based on your own individual needs.

About Total Hip Replacement

Hip replacement surgery involves replacing the femur (head of the thighbone) and the acetabulum (hip socket). Typically, the artificial ball with its stem is made of a strong metal or ceramic, and the artificial socket is made of polyethylene (a durable, wear-resistant plastic) or metal backed with a plastic liner. The artificial joint may be cemented in position or held securely in the bone without cement.

Hoping for a Cure

On Friday, September 29, the 8th annual Hoping for a Cure event will take place from 11 am – 1 pm in the parking lot of Pier One in Jonesboro. A limited number of free mammogram and prostate cancer screening vouchers will be available to those who qualify. The event, a partnership between NEA Baptist, Ritter Communications , East Arkansas Broadcasters and KAIT 8, hopes to also raise awareness and funds for breast and prostate cancer during Hope Week 2017.
Eligible recipients for the 3D mammogram vouchers should meet the following requirements:

Must have a Primary Care Physician (A primary physician will be assigned to those who do not have one)
Must be 40 +
No unusual breast symptoms or prior history of breast cancer
Have not received a screening mammogram in the past year

The voucher is good for one free 3D mammogram screening.
Eligible recipients for the prostate screening vouchers should meet the following requirements:

Must be between the ages of 50 – 70 years old
Have not received a prostate screening or seen a urologist within the past six months
Blood draw on-site, (results given after physical exam is completed)
Physical exam to be performed at clinic location

Early detection is key; resulting in quicker and better treatment for those with breast or prostate cancer. The screenings are an important part of early detection, as well as education about symptoms and risk factors. Everyone is encouraged to attend this free event to receive educational materials, to sign-up for the door prize and to enjoy lunch.

Volunteers from the sponsor organizations will be on site during the event with a Bucket Brigade to raise money for Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation and HopeCircle, at the intersection of Highland Drive and Caraway. Participants can also stop at the tent in the parking lot to pick up a goody bag and educational material, enjoy refreshments and sign up to win a $100 Visa gift card.

Hope Week, sponsored by NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation, is a unique community-wide, week-long series of events and activities designed to salute and highlight the spirit of Hope and its importance in the life of our community. Hope Week is rooted in the belief that acts of goodwill are virtually always related to more beneficial life outcomes. For more information about Hope Week or to view a calendar of 2017 Hope Week events, visit

3D Mammography: The Next Level in Breast Cancer Detection

The NEA Baptist Breast Imaging Center is dedicated to keeping women healthy and cancer-free. With the addition of 3D mammography women now have the latest technology in mammography—3D— available here in northeast Arkansas.

What is 3D mammography?

3D mammography is a revolutionary state of the art technology approved by the FDA in February 2011, which gives radiologists the ability to view inside the breast layer by layer, helping to see the fine details more clearly by minimizing overlapping tissue. During a 3D mammogram, multiple low-dose images known as “slices” of the breast are acquired at different angles. With 3D technology, radiologist can view a mammogram in a way never before possible.

What are the benefits?

3D mammography can help improve breast cancer screening and detection. Since 3D mammography helps distinguish harmless abnormalities from real cancer, false positives are reduced. With the advanced technology of 3D, women have less anxiety, because now, there are fewer call backs for further testing.

The new technology sounds good, but how much radiation will I be exposed to?

It varies from person to A 3D mammography adds about 4 seconds per view to the compression time. Radiation exposure varies from person to person and is roughly equivalent to film/screen mammography. The amount of radiation is still below what the government sets as being safe.

Am I a candidate for 3D mammography?

Doctors and scientists agree that early detection is the best defense against breast cancer, which is why an annual mammogram and monthly self -exams are so important. 3D mammography has been shown in clinical studies to be more accurate than conventional mammography alone and all patients benefit from this revolutionary technology regardless of breast density or family history.

When should I schedule my first mammogram?

All women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year. Women 18 or older with a family history of breast cancer should consult with your doctor.

Should I have a 3D mammogram even if I had one last year?

Yes! At NEA Baptist, we recommend that all women get a 3D mammogram every year as part of their annual mammography examination. Early detection provides the greatest chance for finding curable breast cancers and the best chance for early detection is with 3D mammography. Women should ask for this new technology, it is truly an important component in the screening process.

Does research support the use of 3D mammography?

A recent study published in The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) has found that the addition of tomosynthesis, a 3D imaging technique, to digital mammography was linked to a reduction in the number of patients being called back for additional testing and a rise in the breast cancer detection rate.

The study scrutinized data from 13 medical centers that had switched to 3D imaging. The researchers compared results from the years when the centers were using digital mammography alone compared to mammograms along with tomosynthesis (3D). They found a 15 percent reduction in recall rates along with a 41 percent increase in the detection of cancer.

Studies like the one cited above continue to reinforce the benefits of 3D mammography in breast cancer screening. We are excited to provide this new technology to our patients, and we encourage every woman to take advantage of 3D mammography.

NEA Baptist Clinic Breast Imaging Center accepts walk-ins along with appointments. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 870-936-PINK.