If you struggle to lose weight and are willing to make a permanent commitment, weight loss surgery might be for you. UPMC Jameson’s bariatric surgery program provides a personalized weight loss surgery and support program to help you reach your health goals. They combine the expertise of board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeons with proven nutrition and exercise methods, all within one program.
The program is nationally accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) as a Comprehensive Center. That means they’ve undergone a thorough and strict review process to ensure safe, quality care for weight loss surgery patients. And they have a full team of experts to support you every step of the way.
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What Is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery — when combined with a healthy diet and exercise — is a tool for weight loss. It promotes weight loss by reducing your stomach size and changing how your GI tract works. Most of the time, UPMC Jameson’s surgeons use minimally invasive procedures, including robotic-assisted surgery.
Your surgeon will consider your health, medical, and weight history to decide which of these procedures is best for you:
- Gastric sleeve. A surgeon removes a large part of your stomach, leaving a smaller tube-shaped pouch or “sleeve.” With a smaller stomach, you’ll feel full sooner after eating.
- Gastric bypass. This procedure makes your stomach smaller and bypasses a part of your intestines. That helps you eat less and also reduces the amount of food and calories absorbed.
- Revision surgery. You might have revision surgery if you have already had weight loss surgery but had complications or did not see results.
With minimally invasive surgery, you’ll need only tiny (up to one-inch) incisions in your belly. Most patients stay in the hospital for one night. Recovery time is also much shorter with minimally invasive surgery than with open surgery.
Who Is a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?
Weight loss surgery isn’t for everyone who is overweight. Usually, surgery is a final option when diets, exercise programs, and medications haven’t worked. Because it changes the size of your stomach and how your digestive tract works, it demands lifelong diet and lifestyle changes.
After this surgery, you’ll only be able to eat very small amounts at a time. Also, you may not be able to tolerate certain foods, like those that are high in sugar or fat. Once you lose weight through surgery, you’ll have to maintain a healthy diet and exercise or risk regaining your weight.
Most weight loss surgery candidates are 80 pounds or more over their ideal body weight. Often the excess weight causes health and social problems. You might be a candidate for bariatric surgery if:
- Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher.
- Your BMI is between 36 and 40, and you have weight-related medical conditions. This includes high blood pressure, sleep apnea, diabetes, or high cholesterol.
Weight loss after bariatric surgery often improves or eliminates these health conditions. It may also reduce joint or back pain. For many people, permanent weight loss leads to an improved quality of life.
Before and After Bariatric Surgery
For the best success from weight loss surgery, it’s crucial to prepare ahead of time and have support afterwards. UPMC weight loss surgery programs includes a team of experts to support you before, during, and after surgery. Besides your bariatric surgeon, your team has:
- Nurses who coordinate your care and track your health and progress.
- Registered dietitians to help you learn how to adjust your diet and eat to support your health.
- Psychologists to help you manage the emotional challenges of surgery, lifestyle changes, and living with a new body.
To start the weight loss surgery process, you must attend a free information seminar. Here you’ll learn about surgery options, complete initial paperwork, and meet the bariatric surgery team. Once you’re accepted into the program, you’ll have a presurgical evaluation which includes:
- A review of your complete medical history.
- A physical exam.
- Psychological testing.
- Additional testing based on your medical history and exam.
You’ll also begin to work with the various members of your team to get started on your weight loss journey. After surgery, support groups will offer continued support, education, and advice to help you maintain a permanent healthier lifestyle.
About UPMC Bariatric Services
UPMC Bariatric Services is here to help if you’re struggling with obesity and want to lose weight. We offer both surgical and nonsurgical weight loss plans and can help you find the right path for a weight-loss journey. We will work with you to discuss your needs and develop and individualized treatment plan. We meet the highest level of national accreditation for bariatric surgery centers, and our team provides complete care. We offer our services at UPMC locations throughout Pennsylvania and New York. Visit our website to find a provider near you.