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Dr. Zach Grunewald

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Innovative Medical Weight Loss Program Premiers in Johns Creek

Our Nation’s Weight and Health Crisis

The data is in. According to recent statistics published by the CDC, over 42% of American adults, or nearly one out of every two people, are considered obese. Alarmingly, overweight and obesity prevalence has been rapidly increasing for more than two decades, continuing to climb amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to note that undesired weight gain and obesity are associated with the development of a myriad of health complications, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dyslipidemia, impairments in joint health, weakened immune systems, and depression.

“Clearly, traditional attempts at weight loss and healthy weight management are failing,” says Dr. Zachary Grunewald, Ph.D., RDN, Bariatric Program Coordinator at Emory Johns Creek Hospital. “Despite an overabundance of food in our environment and increased options for home fitness training during the pandemic, our nation remains hungrier and more overweight than ever.” In fact, recent polling found that 61% of respondents self-reported gaining weight since March of 2020. Luckily, an emerging and energetic group of healthcare professionals at Emory Johns Creek Hospital have designed a new medically-supervised weight loss program to help tackle our nation’s expanding waistline and hunger crisis.

A Novel Solution

Under the direction of obesity and weight management specialists Dr. David Prologo, MD, FSIR, ABOM-D, and Dr. Grunewald, the new medical weight loss program features the use of a novel, minimally-invasive weight loss procedure pioneered by Dr. Prologo. The procedure involves the use of computer tomography (CT)-guided cryoablation, in which a small needle is inserted into the patient’s back and positioned close to the stomach’s vagus nerve. The nerve is then "frozen" to temporarily stop hunger signals sent from the stomach to the brain. The end result is the reduction of appetite (hunger) for patients trying to restrict their calories for weight loss. Decreased hunger allows patients to reduce calories and increase activity, ultimately gaining momentum toward a healthy lifestyle.

Cryoablation is quick – it takes only about 30 minutes and patients leave with just a small bandage. “The idea is that by temporarily decreasing hunger signals to the brain, the procedure allows patients to focus more on exercise and lifestyle changes, while worrying less about being hungry,” says Dr. Prologo. Combining the procedure with a comprehensive, individualized lifestyle counseling program focused on nutrition and fitness education, led by world-class Emory registered dietitian-nutritionists and physical therapists, will help lead more patients to success. Program participants will also receive a rapid metabolic and body composition screening to assess glucose levels, Hemoglobin A1c, lipid panels, and body fat percentage.

Drs. Prologo and Grunewald believe that this unique, 8-month program will be a winning strategy to help individuals lose weight and keep it off for good. “This program is unlike any other weight loss intervention. It enables us to effect long-term dietary and lifestyle changes while the patient’s hunger is temporarily suppressed,” says Dr. Grunewald. “During this time, we are able to retrain patients on how to eat and exercise for a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle under direct medical supervision.” Prospective patients can expect to receive up to six individualized nutrition consultations, multiple exercise training sessions, and rapid metabolic testing at baseline and again after 6 months. The Emory Johns Creek Hospital medical team is excited to empower individuals to live a healthier new lifestyle with sustained weight loss.

The cryoablation procedure and medical weight loss program will premier in the Johns Creek community in 2022.

Dr. Zachary Grunewald

(678) 474-8420