Living and Wellness Shedding More than Pounds By Bariatric Surgery, November 18, 2013 Bariatric surgery can help to free patients from a range of life-threatening health problems. It’s well known that bariatric surgery can produce impressive weight loss. But there’s increasing evidence that it offers other health benefits, too. For example, a recent Swedish study showed weight-loss surgery can prevent diabetes among individuals who struggle with obesity. That news came as no surprise to Anita Courcoulas, MD, professor of surgery and chief of the Section of Minimally Invasive Bariatric and General Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “It’s another study demonstrating the lasting impact of bariatric surgery on health improvement,” says Dr. Courcoulas. “The changes are real and durable.” A Life-altering Surgery Dr. Courcoulas says bariatric surgery can help reverse: Diabetes High blood pressure Sleep apnea Heart disease High cholesterol Is Bariatric Surgery Right for You? Current national guidelines recommend bariatric surgery for patients who are 80 to 100 pounds overweight and with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40, or a BMI of 35 or more for those with one or more significant obesity-related health conditions. Dr. Courcoulas predicts more and more patients will seek out bariatric surgery for health reasons — not just weight reasons. “We’re just beginning to understand its full potential,” she says. Bariatric Surgery Centers at UPMC Each of UPMC’s four bariatric surgery centers has been named a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Our multidisciplinary approach to weight loss through both surgery and lifestyle changes is available at: UPMC Hamot: For more information, call 814-877-6997. UPMC Horizon: For more information, call 724-588-6660. UPMC St. Margaret: For more information, click here or call 412-784-5900. Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC: For more information, click here or call 412-641-3632. Each center offers free monthly information sessions. Visit our website to learn more about bariatric surgery, or to find out if you’re a candidate.