Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery

Surgical Bariatric Surgery Program

Weight loss photo - Alegheny Regional Surgical's Bariatric Surgery Program

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Millions of Americans worldwide are part of a growing obesity epidemic and despite the increase in obesity awareness, there is still a considerable number of seriously overweight and obese people. Obesity substantially increases the risk of serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, respiratory problems, and certain types of cancer.

While dieting, exercise, and medications have been recognized as the standard methods of achieving weight loss, many of these measures are only successful short-term. Recent research demonstrates conventional methods generally fail to produce the permanent results that can be realized through bariatric surgery

UPMC Altoona Surgical Associates has developed a comprehensive, multidisciplinary weight loss program. The program offers the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and the laparoscopic Lap-Band surgery. All procedures are safe and effective methods for long term treatment of patients with clinically severe morbid obesity.

Our bariatric program combines years of experience to evaluate and counsel candidates interested in pursuing surgery as a tool in managing their weight loss and at the same time, ensuring long term weight loss success. We have organized a team which includes a bariatric coordinator, psychologist, operating room nurses, physician assistant, support groups, and office staff who will assist you in all aspects of your surgery from preoperative preparation to postoperative follow up.

Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery

The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass operation is a commonly used weight loss surgery. A very small gastric pouch is created, about the size of an egg, and approximately 3-4 feet of the small intestine is bypassed. The new stomach pouch is connected to the bypassed segment of small intestine. Therefore, it greatly reduces the amount of food one can eat. We routinely perform this surgery laparoscopically using six (6) very small incision. The surgery takes about 2 hours and most patients are discharged home on postoperative day #2 or #3.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery/Sleeve Gastrectomy

Gastric Sleeve Surgery, or Sleeve Gastrectomy, is a common and effective type of bariatric surgery. This procedure is a restrictive surgery that limits the amount of food you can eat and helps you feel full sooner.

During this procedure, a bariatric surgeon removes about 85 percent of the stomach so that it takes the shape of a tube or sleeve. This operation is performed laparoscopically, where the surgeon makes small incisions as opposed to one large incision. A thin, vertical sleeve of stomach is created and the rest of the stomach is removed. The sleeve is about the size of a banana.

Sleeve gastrectomy patients have been shown to experience significant weight loss and improvements in their health. Patients have been shown to lose an average of 55 percent of their excess weight.

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding

Another surgical treatment for morbid obesity is the adjustable gastric band. This procedure induces weight loss by reducing the capacity of the stomach which restricts the amount of food that you can eat.

This is a less invasive procedure that involves no cutting, stapling, or stomach rerouting. The band is fastened around the upper stomach to create a tiny stomach pouch that slows the emptying process into the stomach and intestines. As a result, you will experience an earlier sensation of fullness and be satisfied with smaller amounts of food.

If you are interested in this surgery, the criteria is basically the same. You should also check with your insurance company to be sure this procedure is covered. The first step will also be to attend the 60-minute information session. Please call our office 814-889-7500 for further information.

The steps of this process are outlined below:

— 60-minute informational session
— Nutritional assessment
— Psychological assessment
— Clinical evaluation by Dr. Newlin or Dr. Currie
— Coordination of care with your primary care physician
— Pre-certification of insurance
— Preoperative testing - labs, chest x-ray, EKG, etc. (when applicable)
— Postoperative follow up
— Support Group
— Consultation for reconstructive surgery
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The Bariatric Program Coordinator serves as patient advocate and resource for bariatric surgery patients in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. This includes assisting with program development, patient education, working with multidisciplinary teams and acting as the liaison between the hospital and the surgical practice. The program coordinator assists in ongoing analysis and implementation of processes to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness of the bariatric program to ensure quality outcomes and appropriate resource utilization.

Ready to start the process or have questions? Please call us at 814-889-7500.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is clinically severe obesity?

Clinically severe or morbid obesity is when a person's Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 40 or greater than 35 with the presence of co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, etc.

How is your BMI calculated?

BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared.

How much weight can one expect to lose after surgery?

When surgery is combined with a multidisciplined approach and a high level of patient motivation, patients may expect to lose between 60 and 85 percent of their excess body weight over a period of 1- years.

How is Excess Body Weight Calculated?

This is your actual body weight minus your ideal body weight.

Who qualifies as a good candidate for surgical treatment of someone with clinically severe obesity?

A good candidate meets the above discussed BMI requirement and understands the procedure and is willing to make a commitment to life-long follow up and support.

Which patients typically do best with weight loss surgery?

A good candidate is someone who meets the BMI criteria and possess a thorough understanding of the procedure and the need for life-long followup and support

How much weight will be regained after surgery?

Long term results after the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass show that patients usually regain less than 15% of their weight after 5-10 years.

How many days will I be in the hospital?

If you have the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, you can expect to spend 2-3 days in the hospital and up to four weeks recovering. The minimally invasive approach has a shorter recovery time with fewer restrictions.

What can I expect after the surgery?

After surgery it is important to follow up with our surgeons to monitor your weight loss and watch for any complications that may occur. You will also need to follow up with the nutritionist for dietary counseling and with your primary care physician for management of any medical issues.

How do I pursue surgery with Dr. Newlin or Dr. Currie?

The first step is to attend a monthly Informational Session. Please call our office at 814-889-7500 to make a reservation.

If I am notified that I am a candidate at this time, how long do I have to wait to schedule surgery?

The length of time varies with each person, however the average wait time is 3-4 months. We will work with you throughout this period to ensure that you experience no delays in this process.

Will my health insurance cover this surgery?

You will need to check with your insurance provider to determine if your plan covers bariatric surgery. The number should be on the back of your card. You will also need to determine what their criteria are for this surgery.

How many procedures have your surgeons performed?

Surgeons at UPMC Altoona Surgical Associates have performed over 200 bariatric surgeries over the past 18 months.

Are the physicians board-certified?

Yes, all surgeons at UPMC Altoona Surgical Associates are board certified.

Will this surgery be performed using a laparoscopic or minimally invasive technique?

Our surgeons perform this surgery using small incisions that allow you he heal more quickly and enjoy a faster recovery.