THE BRONX - Jacobi Medical Center's bariatric surgery center has been ranked among the best in the country for years, and it continues to change the lives of Bronx residents.

It has been accredited as a center for excellence by the American Society of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery.

Dr. Jayne Lieb attributes the success to the patient support it offers.

"We have a comprehensive program here," Lieb said. "We have a dedicated psychologist, we have a dedicated nutritionist, we have support groups before and after surgery."

Lieb says that while the complication rate linked to laparoscopic surgery is less than 5 percent, patients must change their eating habits to see results.

Sonia Cardona has lost more than 100 pounds in the past three years since her gastric bypass surgery, and she says she has never looked or felt better. She also no longer suffers from diabetes.

"I walk 7 miles every day," Cardona said. "I'm able to play with my grandkids."