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Healthier Than Ever After Complex Hernia Surgery

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8:44 AM

Steve Weissenstein of Deerfield knows it takes teamwork and a positive attitude to lead a winning effort. So when a life-threatening scare landed him at NorthShore Glenbrook Hospital’s Emergency Department, the 59-year-old retired teacher and basketball coach at Glenbrook South High School drew on his 30-year career to get himself through it.

Steve Weissenstein

“Steve had a complex hernia in his abdominal wall that caused a small bowel obstruction,” explained NorthShore General and Gastrointestinal (GI) Surgeon John Linn, MD. “This can become a very serious condition. But before we could safely perform surgery with the best possible outcome, Steve needed to lose a significant amount of weight—and quickly.”

“I tried so many diets in the past, but I always gained the weight back,” recalled Weissenstein. “This time, knowing my life was at risk made me realize just how important it was for me to get it right!”

Total Team Effort 
Dr. Linn referred Weissenstein to the Weight Loss Management Clinic at NorthShore Cardiovascular Institute and David Davidson, MD. Both physicians hold academic appointments at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. “We’re fortunate to have a team of multidisciplinary experts who help patients lose weight in order to have a successful outcome with the treatment they need,” added Dr. Linn.

“Patients with a complex hernia, who also are overweight, are at a much higher risk for postoperative complications,” noted Dr. Davidson, a preventive cardiologist. 

“They need to achieve an optimal weight before surgery to have a safer and better long-term outcome.”
Dr. Davidson’s clinic offers a structured approach to weight loss that benefits a wide range of patients. It includes an option to incorporate nutrition bars, shakes, soups and healthy snacks to supplement regular meals, as well as weekly support and follow-up with a coach.

On the Rebound 
Working with Medical Assistant and Health Coach Mala Shah, Weissenstein lost enough weight within three months to undergo a minimally invasive robotic component separation and hernia repair. “Since I started this program, I’ve lost 150 pounds,” said Weissenstein, who continues to lose weight and enjoys walking more than five miles every day. “I feel great and have so much more energy. I owe it all to my encouraging NorthShore team. They found a solution for me to get healthy again.”