Weight Loss Surgery Center
Tim Robarts, MD
Director, St. Mary’s Weight Loss Surgery Center
Virginia Patrick, RN
Bariatric Specialty Leader
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You've lost and gained a thousand pounds in your lifetime. You've tried dozens of diets, diet aids and exercise programs.
You are among the six million Americans with clinically severe obesity, a life-threatening condition that, left untreated, will lead to serious disability and early death.
Yes, this is a strong statement. But clinically severe obesity is a dangerous health problem. Fortunately, it is not one that you must endure alone. The Weight Loss Surgery Center at St. Mary's Medical Center offers the only proven, successful method to help men and women with clinically severe obesity lose weight and keep it off.
If you are serious about your desire to lose weight and gain a healthy lifestyle, we will help you, step by step, with counseling, surgical intervention, nutritional guidance, and ongoing support.
For More Information
For more information on the services of The Weight Loss Surgery Center at St. Mary's Medical Center, call 304-399-4903 or 1-800-9St-Mary, or email Ginny Patrick, RN, at: Virginia.Patrick@st-marys.org.
Call us at the Weight Loss Surgery Center 304-526-8278 and set up an informational pre-screening to review your weight loss options with Ginny Patrick,RN. Bariatric Nurse Specialty Leader. We are the only program that does individual one-on-one counseling for weight loss surgery.
What is Clinically Severe Obesity?
Clinically severe obesity, or "morbid obesity", is a disease in which the body stores excessive amounts of fat, and is significantly overweight (approximately 100 pounds overweight). A person is said to be morbidly obese when his or her body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40. (BMI is a formula based on a person's weight and height).
The precise causes of clinically severe obesity are not fully understood, although recent research indicates there may be a genetic link in as many as half the people who suffer from it.
Clinically severe obesity is, in and of itself, a dangerous condition. This serious medical condition requires a medically proven approach to treatment.
Obesity is a major risk factor for other serious medical conditions (co-morbidities) such as
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Sleep apnea
The most common way to measure obesity is Body Mass Index (BMI)
- BMI 19 to 24.9 - Healthy Weight
- BMI 25 to 29.9 - Overweight
- BMI 30 to 34.9 - Obese
- BMI 35 to 39.9 - Severely Obese
- BMI 40 and up - Morbidly Obese
Weight Loss Surgery
Bariatric Surgery, the medical term for weight loss surgery, is a recognized sub-specialty of the field of General Surgery. Weight loss surgery is only considered for those individuals who are morbidly obese. Weight loss surgery is not a cosmetic procedure, and does not involve the removal of fatty tissue by suctioning (liposuction).
Weight loss surgery is the only proven method of achieving long-term weight loss.
Surgical options at St. Mary's
- Restrictive - small pouch is made to reduce the amount of food your stomach can hold but allows for normal digestion.
- Malabsorptive - part of the intestine is rerouted so you absorb fewer nutrients and calories from your food.
- Lap-Band - The LAP-BAND ® Adjustable Gastric Banding System features a silicone band which fastens around the upper stomach to create a new stomach pouch that limits and controls the amount of food you can eat. It has less side effects than the other two options and can be reversed and removed at any time.
- Gastric Sleeve - The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy removes 85 percent of the stomach and creates a small sleeve stomach about the size of a small banana. It is not reversible, but it has less risks and side effects than gastric bypass.
- Gastric Bypass - The laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass creates a small stomach pouch which is attached to a portion of the small intestine. The small pouch reduces the amount of food that can be eaten and bypassing a portion of the intestine means the body absorbs fewer calories and nutrients. The gastric bypass is more invasive, has a higher risk for side effects and patients must take vitamins and minerals for the rest of their lives.
Are you a candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight loss surgery is a serious surgical procedure and requires an extreme change in lifestyle, eating and nutritional habits. Because of the lifelong change it will require, St. Mary's Medical Center requires an in-depth evaluation prior to considering any patient for weight loss surgery. This evaluation includes a thorough medical history and examination, as well as an evaluation of lifestyle and motivation.
Generally, patients who are good candidates for the procedure are those who:
- Have a body mass index of 40 or higher or 35 with a co-morbidities (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or sleep apnea)
- Have made numerous unsuccessful attempts to lose weight and keep it off
- Have a strong personal desire to lose weight and improve health
- Fully understand and are prepared for the important changes that will result from surgery
- At least 18 years old
- 100 pounds over weight
- Overweight for more than 5 years
- You don't drink alcohol in excess
- You don't suffer from any other diseases that have caused your excess weight
Our Dedicated Staff Will Support You Every Step of the Way
Studies have shown that individuals with clinically severe obesity experience discrimination and disrespect - even from well-meaning healthcare professionals who, themselves, do not fully understand the causes of this medical condition.
If you have experienced such attitudes in the past, do not let them keep you from seeking help. At The Weight Loss Surgery Center at St. Mary's Medical Center, our experienced staff of health professionals understands the distress and anxiety you feel.
In addition to surgical intervention, our program includes thorough and ongoing nutritional, emotional, and lifestyle support.
All patients of The Weight Loss Surgery Center:
- Are under the care of a board-certified surgeon skilled in gastric bypass surgery
- Work with a bariatric nurse specialist who coordinates their ongoing plan of care
- Work closely with a dietitian experienced in the nutritional needs of people undergoing weight loss surgery
- Receive psycho-emotional counseling as necessary before or after the surgical procedure
- Receive intensive education, as well as individual and group support
Weight Loss Surgery is Covered by Most Insurance Plans
Weight loss surgery is covered by most health insurance plans, including the Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan (patients must meet established criteria). The financial counselors at St. Mary's will help you to determine if your insurance plan covers this procedure, and will also assist you in obtaining any pre-certifications that are required.
Here are some of St. Mary's Weight Loss Surgery Center's patients.
First, I want to say thank you to Dr. Robarts, Virginia Patrick and the rest of the weight loss team at St. Mary’s Weight Loss Surgery Center. You all are amazing!
I knew that I had to do something to change my life. I wanted and needed to live longer and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. After much research, I chose St. Mary’s and I am so glad I did! I chose to have the Vertical Sleeve. I am nine and a half months post op and am down 120 lbs. I’m exercising daily and enjoying life more than I thought possible. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat! My only regret is that I did not have it done sooner. The support that you get from St. Mary’s team is unbeatable. I just want to say thank you to the weight loss team. Your support is amazing!
Jo Ann Renzi
I had Gastric Sleeve surgery on April 29, 2013 and am so grateful for the results! Before my surgery I had no energy, struggled with daily tasks like climbing stairs, housework, walking an average distance, high blood pressure, acid reflux, aching knees and hips and just did not feel good about myself. I am 10 months post-op and have lost 102 pounds! I feel great! I no longer take blood pressure medicine, do not have acid reflux, and my knees and hips feel much better. Until I lost the weight I did not realize how the extra weight affected my self-esteem. I feel much better about myself and feel healthier! To anyone who is struggling to lose a substantial amount of weight, I highly recommend this surgery.
I commend Dr. Robarts and his entire staff! They are a great group of professionals to work with and supported me through the entire process and even today.
On December 10, 2012, I made a decision that would change my entire life and the way I live it. Being overweight most of my adult life with a family history of diabetes and heart disease hanging over my head, I didn’t want to continue on the path I was going. I have always tried to be active and healthy as I could but always seemed to struggle and I knew I wanted more out of life. And I knew that a new life was inside me! I have found it! The gastric sleeve procedure gave me the opportunity to lock into my new life…the new me!
I am now seven months post op and at 100 pounds of loss and the opportunities and possibilities are unlimited. As with any weight loss process, this was not an easy fix. I work every day to continue to be successful. It has made me think about food intake and physical activity in a whole new perspective. I have become more active and I am engaging in activities that I would have never dreamed of being able to do. My husband and family have been supportive and I continue to utilize that. I have three young grandchildren and now I will be able to run and play with them without being tired and sluggish. It really has changed my life physically, mentally and emotionally. That is the key to living a long healthy life. And that is just what I plan to do!
My breaking point was the day my youngest son asked me to come outside and play but I said “Mommy is tired baby, not right now.” The look on his face broke my heart and I knew it was time to make a change. I had a gastric sleeve 10/01/2012 and as of June have lost 107 lbs.
At 30 years old I am happier and healthier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. My husband and family are my support system. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it this far. We take regular bike rides, walk the neighborhood and roller skate together. We love getting out of the house and being active as a family. It’s a great feeling to have your kids tire out before you! I play roller derby for the Jewel City Rollergirls and I’m pretty sure they’re thrilled with my transformation. It’s amazing what dropping 107 lbs. will do for your endurance.
My weight loss journey definitely hasn’t been easy, but seeing the end results makes every second of pain and suffering worthwhile. The most important thing I hope people understand is that, by no means, is weight loss surgery “the easy way out.” It requires determination, strength and willpower. Weight loss surgery isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. This has, by far, been the most difficult thing I’ve done in my entire life. However, it has made me feel more accomplished than anything I’ve ever done.
I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Robarts and all the staff at St. Mary’s Weight Loss Center. Over the past twelve months they have guided me through the process necessary to have my Gastric Sleeve weight loss surgery, my recovery and my new healthy lifestyle. They were always pleasant and very helpful when I had questions or concerns. They gave me a new lease on a healthy life and for that I am very thankful and would recommend them to anyone.
Amanda and Patrick Hansen
"I can run with my children now. I can be active with them without being short of breath. We both have more energy, and now we go from daylight until dark and beyond."
"Lap band has changed my life in so many ways, I had the surgery on March 30, 2009, I was 33 years old then, and I was having to get shots in my knees and hips every three months because of arthritis. I was told if I didn’t get some weight off my knees soon I would need knee replacement before I turned 38.. but now I’m doing great only getting the shots once a year now, and I am no longer on blood pressure meds. I was on those for 10 years before my surgery. I feel so much better and can do so many things i couldn’t do before...running, playing with my 4 year old. It has made my life so much better... and that is just a few ways lap band has changed my life."
"I'm 5 years post op and I have kept off over 100lbs! I feel so much better and can do so much more! I work better and I can enjoy amusement parks!!"
"My lapband journey has been a real experience. I have learned that by changing my lifestyle choices, I have effected not only me, but my whole family. I started this journey with a weight of around 350 pounds, and with the love and support of my beautiful wife, Kim, I now stand at around 270 pounds."
"I have kept my diabetes in check since I was 18 years old and with the more weight I gained, the more insulin I took. I have been on an insulin pump for over eleven years and while weighing 350 pounds, I was taking between 170-190 units of insulin a day. Every time I saw my doctor, he was raising my blood pressure medication. Since my surgery in 2009, my blood pressure has been great without any increase in my medication. My insulin intake is now between 70-85 units per day. That is almost a 100 unit per day decrease!"
"My family doesn't drink carbonated drinks and we all eat healthier with the choices we make now."
"When asked, 'Would you do it again?', my answer is yes, I'd do it again tomorrow."
"My support team here at St. Marys is great and is always there for me."
"Even though my weight loss has been only about 80 pounds, the changes that go with that loss have impacted my family and me in a very positive way. I now have a 'tool' to use to help me achieve a healther life, and I plan on using it to the fullest extent."
"I had to do something to make me a healthier person. I did this for me and my family."