Bariatric Surgery


If you’ve been thinking about how bariatric surgery could be the answer to your weight loss struggles, you are not alone. To help with these struggles, Lakewood Health System’s bariatric surgery program is here to help you lose weight, and live a happier, healthier life.
While there are several bariatric procedure options, the one being performed at Lakewood is the sleeve gastrectomy.


In order to make the right decision for YOU, it’s necessary to know the facts.

  • Obesity is having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. BMI compares a person’s weight to their height. A normal BMI is 19-24, and a BMI of 25-29 is considered overweight.
  • The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) guidelines for surgery to treat severe obesity are to have either a BMI greater than 40, OR a BMI greater than 35, with weight-related health problems (diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol, arthritis, etc.).
  • You’ve tried and been unsuccessful with organized weight loss programs, or working with your provider or dietitian.
  • Most insurance companies require you to work with a bariatric team for six months prior to approving your surgery, so if you’re interested, or even think you might be, it’s best to get started right away. (Most insurance companies consider any work you’ve done in preparation for the surgery, current for 12 months.)

During the six months prior to your surgery, you will:
1. Consult with the surgeon to make sure you qualify, and are a good candidate for this surgery.
2. Consult with a psychologist to make sure you understand the psychosocial aspects of this type of surgery, and how it may affect you emotionally.
3. Consult with a dietitian to make sure you understand the dietary changes which are necessary to be successful with this surgery and your long-term weight loss. It is also helpful to make some healthy changes prior to surgery, so you have a potential weight loss before surgery. This makes the surgery easier for you and your surgeon.
4. Work with a bariatric coordinator who will help with your monthly visits and make sure you are doing everything your insurance company requires, so that when it’s time to submit a request to your insurance company, you can be approved for surgery.
5. Need to be nicotine-free for a minimum of six weeks before and after surgery for healing. We prefer that you remain nicotine-free for life because it can contribute to ulcers down the road.
6. Have a pre-operative history and physical with your primary medical provider.


The sleeve gastrectomy is minimally-invasive, and of all the surgical procedures, it has the lowest rate of complication. By removing a portion of the stomach, thus reducing the size, you will feel fuller, while eating less food. Part of the stomach portion that is removed is responsible for hunger producing hormones, which means you won’t be as hungry between meals due to the decreased hormones. This procedure does not cause malabsorption because it provides steady weight loss with the least amount of dietary restriction.

While there are several bariatric surgery options, the surgeons at Lakewood only perform the sleeve gastrectomy. Other popular options include the gastric bypass and the LapBand®.
Gastric bypass often provides the fastest, and the most weight loss in the beginning, but it leaves the portion of the stomach that produces the hunger hormone. It also bypasses some intestine which can cause malabsorption which then requires the patient to be on lifelong vitamin supplementation. In theory, this procedure is reversible, but to reverse it is an incredibly difficult and risky surgery. This procedure also has other serious complications that can occur.

The LapBand® is minimally invasive, but it requires a lot of diligent, potentially invasive, post-operative follow-up and usually monthly visits to the surgeon. There is no malabsorption, only restriction, but again, it leaves the portion of the stomach that contributes to the hunger hormone. This procedure will give you only restriction.


If you are interested in pursuing bariatric surgery or just learning more, we invite you to attend one of our informational seminars. For information on dates, times and location, please call Education at 218-894-8623.