Jon Bailey, who runs UPMC Horizon's bariatric program, holds a LAP-BAND while speaking about the ongoing changes and expansions at the hospital in Greenville that are affecting the program and some other services.

Programs, services and facilities at UPMC Horizon, Greenville, have been undergoing some significant changes as part of a $6 million, two-year expansion.

The first part of the project, which began in May, includes modernizing and expanding the surgical department to accommodate an increase in the number of operations.

Two of the hospital’s six operating rooms will be enlarged and will feature more sophisticated technology to support the growth of bariatric surgery, minimally invasive surgery and a neuromodulation program.

The bariatric – or weight-loss – surgery program is one of the first programs to benefit from the renovation, said Jonathan Bailey, the program’s coordinator.

Bathrooms and furniture in some of the patients’ rooms were upgraded to better accommodate bariatric surgery patients.

Hospital staff was also specially trained to treat and care for patients who undergo the procedure. A team of employees meets regularly to ensure the program is running smoothly, said Erin Palko, the hospital’s public relations specialist.

“Ongoing staff training is an important component,” Bailey said.

The program recently expanded to include surgeon Dr. Alex Barkan, who in September joined Dr. James Kolenich, who’s been performing the surgery since the hospital began offering it in 2001.

More than 600 bariatric surgeries have been performed there, including the gastric bypass and LAP-BAND procedures.

During gastric bypass, the stomach is stapled to create a small pouch that holds less food.

A LAP-BAND is a silicone ring placed between the esophagus and stomach, which restricts the amount of food entering the stomach.

“The program has really come a long way,” Mrs. Palko said.

The hospital’s renovation also includes new doctors’ and nurses’ lounges, lockers and dressing rooms; a new recovery room; a larger pre-operative patient-holding area; and a larger family waiting room.

On May 1, Greenville’s maternity unit closed and services were moved to UPMC Horizon’s Farrell hospital and things have been going well, Mrs. Palko said. UPMC Greenville still offers outpatient maternity care and gynecology services.

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