Weight loss surgery in Wasatch Front, Utah

Bariatric surgery can save lives and continues to benefit people struggling with morbid obesity worldwide. With each successful procedure, we see further evidence that bariatric surgery is an effective weight loss tool and treatment for obesity-related health conditions. That's why MountainStar Healthcare offers a comprehensive bariatrics program that provides patient safety and support throughout your weight loss journey.

For more information about our bariatric services or for help finding a doctor, call our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse line at (801) 715-4152.

Our bariatric services

Our patients are surrounded by specialists in weight loss surgery, including psychologists, exercise physiologists, registered dietitians, nurses and even financial counselors.

As a dedicated team of bariatric medicine specialists, we offer:

  • A caring community of support groups and psychological aftercare
  • Complication rates below the national average
  • Experience in the long-term management of bariatric surgery patients

Weight loss management center in Salt Lake City, Utah

The Weight Treatment Center at St. Mark’s Hospital is designed to help patients lose weight and keep it off. Our expert physicians offer both surgical weight loss options and nonsurgical weight management. More than 9,000 procedures have been performed here by our experienced bariatric surgeons.

Together, our teams perform a full range of bariatric surgical options. This includes adjustable gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy, biliopancreatic diversion with "duodenal switch" and gastric bypass Roux-en-Y procedures.

To schedule an appointment with St. Mark's Hospital's bariatric specialists, please call (801) 212-5921.

Weight loss surgery eligibility

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.

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 greater
  • 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

Check your BMI

Nonsurgical weight loss options

Weight loss surgery is not necessary—or an option—for every person who wants to lose weight. Depending on how much weight you need to lose to achieve better health, we may first use a variety of nonsurgical options, such as:

  • Body composition testing
  • Free community classes
  • Individual appointments, group visits and classes that help you develop healthy weight-related behaviors
  • Medical evaluations with a provider specialized in weight loss
  • Metabolic testing
  • Nutrition classes

Whatever your weight loss needs may be, we are here to help develop a customized plan for improving your health.

Bariatric surgery evaluations

To determine if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery, you will need to undergo a psychological and nutritional evaluation. Although these are designed to determine if you qualify for the surgery, they are also intended to give you the information you need to make an informed decision as well.

Psychological evaluation

The main goal of a psychological evaluation is to pinpoint the most difficult times for you and to give you strategies to deal with these situations when they occur in the future. It is not the goal of the evaluator to deny or "fail" a patient. They simply want to see you succeed in your weight loss goals. Additionally, most insurance companies require an evaluation and recognize its importance in your success.

Factors of the psychological evaluation

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.

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.

Factors of the nutrition evaluation

Our dietitians will help you learn:

  • 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

What to expect during the nutrition evaluation

During nutrition screening, you will complete a weight and diet history questionnaire. This will give us information regarding your previous attempts at weight loss. Such attempts may include a supervised weight loss and exercise program and/or the use of popular diets.

Here is what the dietitian is looking for:

  • Your medical history and lifestyle
  • Your weight loss/gain history and current eating habits
  • Your exercise habits
  • Your understanding of the surgery
  • Your understanding of, and willingness to be compliant with, the lifestyle changes needed post-surgery

The nutrition evaluation is often required by your insurance company to help you get through the preapproval process for weight loss surgery. The dietitian can also assist with any supervised diets that may be required by your insurance company.

Benefits of bariatric surgery

It’s obvious to many people who have lived with severe obesity for years that the disease has a negative impact on quality of life. In addition to physical issues obesity can cause, it may also prevent you from participating in certain activities, including those activities that can improve your health. Weight loss surgery helps decrease your chances of many major and minor health conditions, including sleep apnea and arthritis. With this treatment, good health and a longer life are much more likely.

Explore our weight loss classes

Risks of bariatric surgery

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. Morbid 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.

Bariatric surgery process

Once you have decided to pursue bariatric surgery as a weight loss option, you can expect to follow these steps:

  1. Participate in an online or in-person weight loss information class, as instructed by your bariatric team.
  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 as required by your insurance. (If you plan to pay for weight loss surgery without using insurance, you may skip this step.)
  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.

Self-pay discounted pricing for weight loss surgery

Discounted pricing is available for those who pay for bariatric surgery through their own means. Third-party financing options are available in these cases. Additionally, many of our weight loss procedures include a package price with limited complication coverage for up to 90 days following your surgery.

Types of bariatric surgery we offer

We offer four bariatric surgery procedures, which are all approved by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS):

Duodenal switch (biliopancreatic diversion with 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 promoting weight loss through malabsorption. This allows patients to eventually eat "normal" size meals, reduces absorption of fat by 70 percent or more and causes favorable changes in gut hormones to reduce appetite and improve satiety (feeling full). It is also the most effective against diabetes, compared to gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band.

Gastric band ("lap band")

The gastric band is a device placed around your stomach. During the procedure, the surgeon will also place a port under your skin near your ribs. The band can be adjusted through the port using saline. Your first gastric band adjustment usually takes place about four to six weeks after surgery, but varies from patient to patient. By adding saline, the band becomes tighter and helps you feel full after eating smaller amounts of food.

Gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass)

The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass is the most common and successful type of weight loss surgery and considered the gold standard of weight loss procedures. It involves the surgeon creating a smaller stomach pouch and attaching a Y-shaped section of the small intestine directly to the pouch. This allows food to bypass a portion of the small intestine, which reduces the amount of calories and some nutrients that your body will absorb. Having the smaller stomach pouch helps you feel fuller sooner and eat less food. Losing weight this way can even help improve your overall health to the point of reversing diabetes.

Sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve)

A sleeve gastrectomy involves removing 75 to 80 percent of your stomach. Your surgeon will divide and staple the remaining portion of your stomach, which will be approximately the size of a banana. A gastric sleeve allows for normal absorption of foods and digestion. This results in fewer food restrictions after surgery, although the quantity of food eaten is still considerably reduced. It does not involve any bypass or the intestinal tract, and it can be performed laparoscopically.

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 forms of bariatric surgery.

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

Unfortunately, weight loss surgery is not a solution to all of life’s difficulties, 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. They can work with 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

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