Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Local woman credits UMC surgeon for saving her life

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Cindy Hodge and Dr. Mark Kent. SABRINA GARRETT / The Wilson Post

Cindy Hodge credits surgeon Dr. Mark Kent with saving her life.

After over a decade of weight and health issues, Hodge heard about Kent from a friend and decided to take action. Hodge, a mother of two, elected to have a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy at University Medical Center in November 2014, calling it "by far the best thing I've ever done for myself."

Kent said that Hodge's procedure was done laparoscopically, through five small abdominal incisions, and took just over an hour to perform. According to him, the vertical sleeve operation shrinks the stomach, significantly lowering the volume of food that a patient eats before feeling full.

For the first two months post-op, Hodge was on a diet of pureed food. Slowly, she has been incorporating solid, healthy foods into her diet.

"I eat in moderation what my body will tolerate," Hodge said, noting that she has lost 70 pounds at her 4 month post-op appointment.

Although Hodge said that she has struggled to eat the recommended 800 to 1,200 calories per day - consuming closer to 600 - Dr. Kent said that she will get there. "As long as patients take smart bites with healthy foods, they are good," he said, recommending proteins first. "I focus less on calories and more on avoiding carbohydrates."

Hodge said since recovering from surgery she has started walking up to five miles per day.

"I wanted to get healthy for my kids - so I would be alive to see them grow up," she said of her teenage sons. "Dr. Kent really saved my life."

Hodge proudly showed before and after photos and shared that she has already dropped numerous pant sizes. She also no longer suffers from high blood pressure, sleep apnea and has no need for her former anti-anxiety medication.

"One of the best features about this operation is that there is no implanted device, no plastic bands and no future adjustments," Kent added. "We at UMC are proud to offer this as an option in the battle that many patients wage against obesity and the associated health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and arthritis."

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at

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