Dr. Glen L. Moore is a Board-certified surgeon specializing in general and bariatric surgery with Chesapeake Surgical Specialists, and Director of the Bariatric Program at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. He received his medical degree from the Eastern Virginia Medical School, and completed his general surgery internship and residency at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, where he also served as staff surgeon. He has held academic posts as an instructor at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda.
Dr. Moore is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Glen Moore developed an interest in bariatric surgery in the mid- to late ‘80s, while he was in the Navy, completing his internship and residency. At that time, he remembers, “Surgery for obesity was almost considered to be one of those fringe activities. It wasn’t widely available, and certainly not widely accepted by the surgical community or by medical internists.” Nor was it well understood by patients, carrying with it the stigma of being a last option that signaled failure on their part. Unfortunately, it also carried the stigma of a fairly high complication rate – a rate Dr. Moore found unacceptably high at the time.
But all that changed in the late ‘90s, Dr. Moore says, when surgeons learned how to perform the procedures laparoscopically, with markedly decreased complication rates and much better outcomes – leading to greater acceptance in the medical and lay communities.
During that same timeframe, Dr. Moore was reunited with a former Navy colleague, Dr. David D. Spencer, with whom he had trained during their residency in Portsmouth. “Dr. Spencer finished his residency in San Diego,” Dr. Moore explains. “We stayed in touch until he returned to Portsmouth in the late ’90s, when we rekindled our friendship and our interest in weight loss surgery.”
The two surgeons established the weight loss surgery program at Portsmouth Naval, leading it until they each retired from the Navy in 2003. Today, with fellow bariatric surgeon Dr. Robert J. Chastenet, they work with the Bariatric Program at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.
“We’re also seeing a high prevalence of obesity in cohorts of populations as they age,” he notes. “The percentage of obese teenagers keeps increasing, and it’s predicted that some of these current cohorts are going to have diabetes and severe obesity in the 40 percent range in their 50s.”
Dr. Moore knows that many of these individuals will eventually seek the services of a bariatric surgeon to help them lose weight, but he contends that the surgical procedure by itself isn’t the most important element of successful weight loss for the severe and morbidly obese. “I think we have to start with the premise that weight loss surgery by itself is not the solution to the epidemic of obesity in the United States,” he says. “We are very selective with our patients, and apply the surgical option to those people who very much need it, who will benefit from it and who will be successful with it.”
To accomplish that, Dr. Moore’s emphasis is more on pre-operative education and preparation, and post-operative care and follow-up. Surgery can serve as a psychological line of demarcation, but it’s patient selection, preparation, education, follow-up that make the surgery successful.
After surgery, he tells his patients clearly that they’ll be followed for life. “At a minimum, they’re seen by the surgeon once or twice the first month after surgery, again every three months for a year – that’s the absolute minimum,” he says. “They’re seen by our nutritionist at one month, at six and again at twelve. And we encourage them to attend our monthly support groups.”
He performs all three of the standard procedures – gastric bypass, sleeve gastroplasty and lap band – but for patients with complex problems like reflux, or those who need to lose a large amount of weight quickly, Dr. Moore prefers the gastric bypass. “Gastric bypass has proven to be the most successful, most durable, long term successful operation for most patients,” he explains. “It has a very low and very favorable risk benefit ratio. Especially for obese patients with diabetes, there’s a strong bias toward gastric bypass because of its dramatic results. It’s not just the weight loss itself, but we’re changing something on the inside, affecting some of the hormones that modulate diabetes. We see pronounced improvement, and in most cases, resolution of their diabetes.”
“When patients are that obese, we have to do really good surgery. We have to get good results. We have to have low risk, low morbidity. It’s a difficult operation, and it has to be done very well,” he states. “While many surgeons don’t want to operate on people who are very sick and have complex medical conditions, those of us in weight loss surgery feel just the opposite – this is our chance, and the patient’s chance, to gain control of those conditions and get back their health and activity and quality of life. That’s so rewarding. And I love seeing the success and the change in people’s lives that comes about.”