Weight loss surgery in Wasatch Front, Utah

Weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery can save lives and continues to benefit people with obesity worldwide. With each successful surgery, we see further evidence that bariatric surgery is an effective weight loss tool and treatment for obesity-related health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. That's why MountainStar Healthcare offers a comprehensive bariatrics program that provides patient safety and support throughout your weight loss journey. Our program offers both surgical and non-surgical weight loss programs designed to help you lose weight and keep it off.

Learn more about weight loss surgery, and register for one of our virtual classes.

Experience and quality you can trust:

  • +30 years' experience with weight loss surgery
  • +12,000 bariatric procedures
  • Accredited Bariatric Surgery Center: Comprehensive Center with Adolescent and Obesity Medicine Qualifications by the American College of Surgeons
  • Blue Distinction+ Center for Bariatric Surgery
  • Optum Center of Excellence
  • Aetna Institute of Quality

To talk with a nurse about your options with St. Mark's Hospital's bariatric specialists, please call (801) 212-5921.

Which weight loss option is right for me?

St. Mark's Hospital offers options for both surgical and non-surgical weight loss and can help you choose a path that fits your lifestyle. If you aren't sure of the right path for you, schedule an appointment with Elizabeth Hanna, DNP at the Weight Treatment Center for a full evaluation and personalized approach to helping you lose weight.

  • Medical evaluations with a provider specialized in weight loss
  • Individual appointments, group visits to help you develop healthy weight-related behaviors
  • Nutrition and behavior counseling
  • Metabolic testing
  • Body composition testing
  • Free community classes
  • Accredited bariatric surgery center for both adults and adolescents
    • gastric bypass
    • sleeve gastrectomy
    • duodenal switch

Whatever your weight loss needs may be, our team will help develop a customized plan for improving your health. Attend a free class below or call to schedule an appointment with Elizabeth Hanna, DNP to help guide you on your journey 801-268-7479.

Non-surgical weight loss

St. Mark's is the only program in the state of Utah to receive recognition for our comprehensive treatment program for obesity that includes more than just surgery. Our medical weight loss program starts with a comprehensive evaluation with our nurse practitioner, Elizabeth Hanna, DNP. Elizabeth has contagious passion for helping her patients to lose weight. She creates an environment that is supportive, inspiring and comfortable so you are empowered to make the changes you need to achieve your goals. There are many tools that can be used and she will help guide you to choose the tools that will work best for your personality and lifestyle.

Our team is completed by our interdisciplinary experts who work together to help you meet your goals. Our registered dietitian nutritionists, behavioral specialists and diabetes educators will surround you with the support you need to achieve weight loss success. These experts will help you create and sustain behaviors to help you lose weight and keep it off.

Watch a free virtual class with Elizabeth Hanna, DNP to learn more about our program, explore your weight loss options and discover our approach to a healthy weight.

Free weight loss classes

When should I consider weight loss surgery?

Obesity is measured several ways, but the most common method is using the body mass index (BMI), which is calculated using your height and weight. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or greater. Clinically severe obesity is a BMI of greater than 35 if you have other medical conditions or a BMI of 40 or higher.

Check Your BMI

You may be a good candidate for bariatric surgery if:

  • You are 75 or more pounds heavier than your healthy body weight
  • You have a BMI of 35-39 or greater and have serious health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease, caused by excess weight
  • You have a BMI of 40 or higher
  • You have tried other medically managed weight-loss programs without success

You may not be a good candidate for bariatric surgery if:

  • You have ongoing substance abuse, drug or alcohol addiction issues
  • You have an uncontrolled mental illness
  • You have a significant eating disorder
  • You are unwilling or otherwise unable to comply with the necessary guidelines following bariatric surgery

Steps to weight loss surgery

If you choose bariatric surgery as a weight loss option, you can expect to follow these steps:

  1. Online or in-person Weight Loss Surgery Information Class
  2. Complete patient information and medical history forms and wait to hear next steps from your bariatric team.
  3. If you have a weight loss surgery benefit available through your health insurance plan, contact your insurance provider. They will tell you about any documentation and/or tests they may require prior to surgery. Use the guide from the Obesity Action Coalition to help you with this process.
  4. Collect all medical record documentation and evaluations as required by your insurance. You will likely need a nutrition evaluation, psychological evaluation and possibly a supervised diet. We can help you complete these visits through both in person and telehealth visits.
    1. Nutrition evaluation

      The goal of the nutrition evaluation is to provide you with information about weight loss surgery and what to expect after surgery. Weight loss surgery is a tool, but you will need to commit to lifestyle changes to find long-term weight loss success.

      • How your diet will change after surgery
      • How to meet new protein and fluid requirements
      • Which vitamin and mineral supplements you will need to take
      • How to change your eating behaviors
      • What other behaviors will help you find long-term weight loss success

      Our dietitians will help you set goals to start making changes before surgery. They also work with your surgeon to help you after surgery with diet transitions including moving to from weight loss to weight maintenance.

    1. Psychological evaluation

      The main goal of the psychological evaluation is to pinpoint the most difficult times for you and to help you identify strategies to cope with these situations when they occur in the future.

      Your social worker or psychologist will be evaluating:

      • Your understanding about realities and risks of surgery, to ensure you can make informed decisions about surgery
      • Behaviors that may keep you from losing weight or may lead to regaining weight
      • Personalized strategies that can help you overcome potential obstacles

      What to expect during the psychological evaluation

      You can expect the evaluation to last approximately two hours. There are usually three or more psychological tests to complete on the computer or in writing. You can also expect to have a more conversational clinical interview. We understand people can be nervous during these interviews. We consider it our job to put you at ease and help you feel comfortable during your assessment.

  5. You will have a consultation with the surgeon and attend an informed consent and pre-surgery class. You will be advised when to schedule these appointments.
  6. The surgeon's office will prepare and submit your application to your insurance company for written approval. You will need to provide copies of your insurance card and a photo ID to the surgeon's office. Authorization may take six to 12 weeks, depending on your insurance.

Types of weight loss surgery we offer

We offer bariatric surgeries that are well studied for a high level of safety and are all approved by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Each of these procedures can be performed laparoscopically with small incisions for improved healing. Surgery also can result in significant improvements with other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Duodenal Switch - A duodenal switch is considered the most powerful type of bariatric surgery and is very effective in helping patients lose weight and keep it off. It involves removing part of the stomach and causes weight loss through some malabsorption. This, reduces absorption of fat by 70 percent or more and causes favorable changes in gut hormones to reduce appetite and help you feel full on less food. It is also the most effective against diabetes, compared to gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band.

Gastric Bypass - The gastric bypass is considered the gold standard of weight loss procedures in terms of weight loss and health improvements. Your surgeon will make a smaller stomach pouch and bypass a portion of the small intestine. This limits how much you can eat and some nutrients that your body will absorb. Having the smaller stomach pouch and the change in gut hormones help you feel fuller sooner and eat less food. This surgery is effective at improving type 2 diabetes and improving other conditions such as high blood pressure, sleep apnea and high cholesterol.

Sleeve Gastrectomy or Gastric Sleeve - A sleeve gastrectomy involves removing 75 to 80 percent of your stomach. Your surgeon creates a new stomach pouch which will be approximately the size of a banana. A gastric sleeve allows for normal absorption of foods and digestion. It does not involve any bypass or the intestinal tract and helps you feel full on smaller amounts of food. There are also some changes in gut hormones to reduce appetite and help you feel full on less food.

The sleeve gastrectomy may be a good option for obese patients with a relatively low BMI. This is especially true if existing conditions, such as anemia or Crohn's disease, prevent them from having other types of bariatric surgery.

Benefits and risks of bariatric surgery

People living with obesity can sometimes find it difficult to do the day to day tasks. In addition to physical issues, it may also prevent you from participating in certain activities, including those activities that can improve your health. Weight loss surgery improves and helps decrease your chances of many major and minor health conditions, including sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes. With this treatment, good health and a longer life are much more likely.

All surgeries and medical procedures carry risk. It's important to talk to your doctor, other weight loss surgery patients and your loved ones to best understand the benefits and risks for your unique situation.

However, it is also important to consider the risk of remaining obese. For example, the risk of an early death for an obese person is significantly higher than it is for a non-obese person . Severe obesity can also cause life-threatening health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Some of these conditions develop over time; others emerge quickly. In fact, you may have one or more of these conditions without even realizing it. We encourage you to speak with one of our bariatric specialists as soon as possible so we can help you find a healthier path forward.

Life after weight loss surgery

The first year after weight loss surgery is a year of significant change—it's a new beginning, a new you. It will change how you approach:

  • Coping with stress, boredom and anxiety
  • Eating, including whether you eat in or dine out
  • Participating in social outings or family events
  • Relationships

Weight loss surgery is a great tool to improve your health by improving diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and, but it is a great tool to help you start your weight loss journey.

Support after weight loss surgery - Having a support system around you is important to your long-term success. One of the ways we help with this is to have our experts available to meet with you individually. Our team can help you to successfully make healthier lifestyle habits after your surgery and answer any questions or concerns you might have.

We also encourage you to:

  • Attend your support groups
  • Connect with your doctor and the Weight Treatment Center online
  • Keep your follow-up appointments with your surgeon and other specialists
  • Meet with a dietitian who specializes in bariatrics so they can give you advice as you transition into each new phase of life and your diet
  • Meet with a social worker to help you navigate your new lifestyle

Insurance

St. Mark's Weight Treatment Center is in-network providers for most insurance plans. Insurance plans accepted at St. Mark's Hospital .

Visits with Elizabeth Hanna, DNP, registered dietitian, behavioral specialist and diabetes educators: These will be billed through St. Mark's Hospital. For visits with Elizabeth your insurance will be billed a separate professional fee.

For weight loss surgery:
Insurance benefits and criteria for weight loss surgery can vary greatly by plan and by employer. We can help you verify benefits and criteria specific to your plan. Most insurance companies base their criteria on the NIH guidelines:

  • BMI of 40 or greater
  • BMI of 35-40 with a significant co-morbidity
  • Documented previous weight loss attempts
  • Multi-disciplinary team approach to surgical weight loss
  • Life-long medical surveillance

These requirements may apply if surgery is a covered benefit under your policy. Some policies have exclusions which means that your insurance plan does not cover these services. If you need help working with your insurance provider regarding weight loss surgery, the Obesity Action offers a guide: Working with Your Insurance Provider: A Guide to Seeking Weight Loss Surgery. Your surgeons office will also check these benefits for your once you turn in your new patient paperwork.

If you do not have a bariatric surgery benefit through your health insurance, St. Mark's Hospital and the surgeons at Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians offer competitive flat rate package pricing. Our discounted pricing includes complication coverage for most of the weight loss surgery procedures offered at St. Mark's Hospital. Conditions apply. Please contact our office 801-268-7479 or attend a Free Weight Loss Surgery Information Class for additional information.

Patient Testimonials