University’s Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery Center offers surgical solutions that help patients feel full sooner and with less food.
Obesity can be a lifelong problem for many people starting at a young age and following them into adulthood and beyond. Many people diet and lose weight successfully, but those short-term successes often are overshadowed by creeping weight gain. The obesity cycle leads to the slow weight gain over one’s lifetime accompanied by the medical problems associated with obesity.
Almost all patients who suffer from obesity have tried a number of weight loss regimens and even diet pills. The problem with conservative methods of weight loss such as these is that the gains are not usually enough to improve associated medical problems such as hypertension and diabetes, and the weight is rapidly regained once the diet or diet pill is stopped. Weight loss surgery has proven to be the only long-term effective treatment for obesity and rapidly is replacing more conservative and unsuccessful methods.
Surgical Weight Loss Options
Gastric Banding:Performed through small incisions in the stomach, two medical devices are implanted in the patient: a silicone band and an injection port. The band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to create two connected chambers. The injection port is attached to the stomach wall, underneath the skin. The port is connected to the band with soft, thin tubing.
Vertical sleeve gastrectomy*:Performed through small incisions in the stomach. The surgeon creates a small, sleeve-shaped stomach. It is larger than the stomach pouch created during Roux-en-Y bypass and is about the size of a banana.
Roux-en-y gastric bypass*: Performed through small incisions in the stomach, the surgeon creates a small stomach pouch, then attaches a section of the small intestine directly to the pouch. This allows food to bypass a portion of the small intestine, which absorbs calories and fat. Having a smaller stomach pouch causes you to feel full sooner, eat less food and absorb fewer calories.
* These procedures carry minimal risk and result in significant short-term and long-term weight loss.
Qualifications for Surgery
University follows the National Institutes of Health guidelines established to choose patients who would most benefit from surgery. One must:
have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35 with medical problems related to obesity OR have a BMI of at least 40 with or without medical problems
be healthy enough to tolerate a major surgical procedure
be able to make the lifestyle changes necessary for life-long success
Reaching the Goal
Long-term sustained weight loss is accomplished by pairing each operation with lifestyle changes. Changing one’s eating habits and behaviors will ensure success in reaching your weight-loss goal and achieving optimal health.
About the Program
At University Hospital Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery Center we believe in a multi-disciplinary approach to weight loss that involves a number of healthcare providers. Our bariatric surgeons are trained in advanced laparoscopy and have a wide range of experience with many common weight loss operations. Included in our program are bariatric nurses, a full-time dietitian specializing in the preoperative and postoperative nutrition needs of bariatric patients, as well as local exercise therapists and psychologists.
All together these healthcare providers comprise a cohesive and comprehensive team dedicated to the well-being and success of each patient in our program.
Our program involves one-on-one meetings with the program coordinator, dietitian, psychologist and the surgeon to develop a relationship that enables each patient to succeed. Support groups and information sessions are offered monthly and are encouraged for both preoperative and postoperative patients. Insurance verification, preoperative testing and surgery scheduling can take several months. Many insurance plans require a period of supervised weight loss, which can be done in our program or with a primary care physician. After surgery, patients can expect to spend two or three nights at University Hospital and are discharged when they can tolerate liquids well enough to stay hydrated. Postoperative patients are seen in the clinic at two weeks, one month and then every three months until they achieve their weight loss goal. Blood work to monitor vitamin levels for deficiencies are done at six-month intervals. Once patients reach their weight loss goal, they are seen yearly to monitor their health.