Skip to Content

Bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery is an approach to help you improve your health and quality of life by losing weight.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a way to lose weight. It can help you improve your health and quality of life. It is an obesity treatment, not a cure. It changes the structure of your digestive system to limit how much food your stomach can hold. It affects the hormones that make you hungry and help you reach a healthy weight. 

How Does Obesity Affect the Body?

Obesity affects many organs in the body and can cause health problems. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, heart disease and joint and back pain. It can also lead to a higher risk of cancer.   

Is This Surgery Right for You?

We will help you decide which treatment plan is best. You must show that you have made many attempts to lose weight through diet, exercise or medications alone.

Types of Surgeries

Our surgeon is an expert in options for weight loss that offer faster healing and better results. Our program coordinator will talk with you to determine the right option. These are:

  • Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
    This limits the amount of food you can eat and affects how your body absorbs nutrients. A small pouch is made to reduce how much food you can eat at once
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy
    A section of your stomach is removed, and a narrow “sleeve” or “tube” is made. This lowers the amount of food you can eat. This procedure reduces the size of portions your body can allow without changing how the food is digested.
  • Revisional Surgery 
    This is needed when you have inadequate weight loss and problems after surgery. We will change a sleeve gastrectomy to Roux-en-Y Gastric bypass. Revisional surgery may have additional risks that will be discussed. 

What is the Timeline?

Your PCP will place a consult. We will review your medical record. If you are a candidate, your PCP will order all pre-op tests, consults and blood work. We will send program information to you and schedule you to attend a required two-hour class. It covers the types of surgery, diet and expectations. The virtual class is offered monthly via VA Video Connect. If there are no concerns with your workup, we will contact you to discuss a surgery date. You will start a weight loss program called OPTIFAST between four to six weeks before your surgery. You will spend an average of two nights in the hospital after the procedure. We will see you at a scheduled visit one week after surgery. You will follow up with us to keep you on track with your diet and to monitor your weight and vitamin levels.

Screening for Potential Candidates

This process ensures you are prepared for the procedure and lifestyle changes. You may need to see a specialist(s) if you have an existing condition(s) for more testing. The following tests will be done before your surgery:

  • Chest X-ray
  • EKG
  • Abdominal ultrasound of liver and gallbladder
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Sleep study
  • Joining the MOVE! Weight Management Program
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Blood tests

Pre-op Education

Nutrition classes. Held weekly for the month before surgery. These are in a group with our registered dietitian (RD) and will include diet review and management after the surgery.

Pre-operative exam appointment. You will meet with our program coordinator to review medications and test results. Some medicines may need to be changed or stopped to reduce the risk of complications.

Pre-operative class. You must attend this class in person or through VA Video Connect. An RN will help prepare you for surgery. Topics include what to expect at the hospital before and immediately after surgery and reminders for a successful recovery. 

Life After Surgery

Your success requires lifestyle changes. These include eating well and exercising. We will guide you with information, support and follow-up appointments. Taking vitamins, nutrients and protein supplements are essential. These help to prevent nutritional shortfalls caused by your new diet and smaller food intake. Your diet will advance slowly after surgery. This allows your body to heal. 

Phase I: Sugar-Free Clear Liquids

Phase II: Full (High Protein) Liquid Diet

Phase III: Pureed

Phase IV: Very Soft Foods

Phase V: Stabilization/Maintenance

Resources and Support

Support groups help you stay motivated and on track. Check for groups at your local hospital or clinic. VA has a Video Connect Support Group for pre- and post-op patients. It meets at 10 a.m. on the second Friday of every month. To get scheduled, call 412-360-1873. If you need to enroll in VA Video Connect, contact the national telehealth help desk at 866-651-3180.

Follow-up Care

Follow-up care is critical to ensure healthy progress and success following surgery.

Our team is available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.