Olmsted Medical Center: Weight loss and bariatric surgery

As anyone who has ever lost a significant amount of weight knows, it feels as if you have a new lease on life. You feel better, your clothes fit better, and people look at you differently. It’s as if you turned back the clock and life seems easier.  

Perhaps you have significant weight to lose, you’ve tried to lose weight unsuccessfully in the past or perhaps you have developed a medical condition that requires you to lose weight. 



According to Olmsted Medical Center’s (OMC) website, “Weight loss surgery has been shown to be the most effective way to reach long-term weight loss and can help reduce obesity-related health concerns. At OMC, the weight-loss surgery (bariatric) team will help you learn lifestyle and behavior skills needed to successfully reach your weight loss and health goals.”

OMC’s website explains the criteria for surgery, which says, “You may be a candidate for weight loss (bariatric) surgery if you meet the following requirements: a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more, but less than 60; a BMI of 35 or greater with obesity-related health problems (diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, heart disease); multiple failed weight loss attempts; no untreated mental illness; commitment to long-term lifestyle changes; smoke-free and no history of drug and alcohol abuse; at least 18 years of age; and attend the patient informational session.”

In the event you would like to proceed with weight loss surgery, the process to get accepted into the program takes several months and includes a surgical consult, nutrition visits, a psychological evaluation, a bariatrician/endocrinology visit and other possible evaluations, depending on your unique medical history. 


OMC offers three types of weight loss surgery: adjustable gastric band (Lap-band), laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass.

“During the laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery,” OMC’s website explains, “the surgeon places an adjustable band around the top part of the stomach, creating a smaller pouch. The band is connected to tubing and an access port which is placed under the skin. The surgeon injects saline into the port to make the band tighter.  This will limit how much food can be eaten and how fast it empties into the larger portion of the stomach. The surgeon can also take out fluid from the port if the band is too tight. The average weight lost with the band is approximately 40 percent of patient’s excess body weight.”

“During the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy,” OMC’s website says, “the surgeon removes about 80 percent of the stomach, including the part that makes the hunger hormones. The stomach is reduced to the size of a banana. This causes a feeling of fullness after eating a small amount of food. On average gastric sleeve patients will lose 60 percent of their excess body weight. Because you are not able to eat much food, you will need to take vitamin supplements the rest of your life.”

“During the gastric bypass surgery, a small pouch is created and separated from the rest of the stomach. The new pouch (stomach), which is about the size of an egg, is then attached to the lower portion of the small intestine. This pouch holds much less food and you feel full after eating only a few ounces of food. This reduces the number of calories and nutrients you can absorb from the food you eat. On average, gastric bypass patients will lose approximately 70 percent of their excess body weight. Because you are not able to eat much food, you will need to take vitamin supplements for the rest of your life.”


If you believe you are a candidate for weight loss surgery, consult your primary care provider for further evaluation. To learn more about OMC’s weight loss surgery options, visit olmstedmedicalcenter.org/weightloss.



Cindy Mennenga, owner of MedCity WordCraft, LLC is a freelance writer and editor based in Rochester.