Is it Time to Think About Weight-Loss Surgery?

Obesity affects far more than just your waistline. It’s a metabolic condition that increases your risk for health problems such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes — and winter weight gain only makes the problems worse.

“If you are already overweight or obese, even a modest weight gain can have a significant impact on your health,” says Alfonso Torquati, M.D., a bariatric (weightloss) surgeon at LCM. “Just 5 to 10 pounds can make it harder to control diabetes and high blood pressure, two conditions that often go along with obesity.”

For some people, diet and exercise changes alone are not enough. “If you have struggled with obesity for more than five years and have tried to lose weight but been unsuccessful, you may want to consider weight-loss surgery,” says Philip Omotosho, M.D., director of the Bariatric Program.


Surgical treatment is an effective way to treat obesity and substantially reduce the health issues associated with it. “Weightloss surgery can markedly improve people’s lives and reduce their risk for premature death,” says Dr. Omotosho.

But one thing surgery can’t do is replace a healthy lifestyle. “Weight-loss surgery is not a shortcut,” Dr. Torquati says. “Patients still need to change their diet and exercise habits.”

This kind of lifestyle transformation takes work. The Bariatric Program has a team of dedicated, experienced professionals to support patients every step of the way. The program’s comprehensive approach to weight loss includes:

  • Nutritional clinic: A registered dietitian helps patients develop healthy, new eating habits. Both before and after surgery, the dietitian also can help them stay on track at trying times, such as over the holidays
  • Psychological care: A mental health professional performs a presurgical evaluation and helps patients mentally prepare for the changes ahead. The goal is to help them develop a mind-set that promotes lasting success.
  • Weight-loss surgery: In addition to Dr. Omotosho and Dr. Torquati, a third bariatric surgeon, Scott Schimpke, M.D., recently joined the program. All three are highly skilled at performing minimally invasive weight-loss operations, including sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass.
  • Follow-up appointments: Patients have four follow-up visits with their surgeon and dietitian in the first year after surgery. “Beyond that, we ask them to come back to see us once a year — ideally, for life — so we can monitor their nutritional status and address any issues that come up,” Dr. Omotosho says.
  • Monthly support group: Meetings are led by a dietitian with occasional guest speakers. “Weight-loss surgery can have a dramatic impact on patients’ lives,” says Mary Alberts, R.N., bariatric coordinator. “The support group helps them stay motivated. Other group members can provide inspiration for maintaining this new way of life.” That’s important not only for losing weight, but also for keeping it off. “We want our patients to be successful for many years to come, so we’re here to partner with them for the long term,” says Dr. Torquati.

Lose Weight, Gain Health

You don’t have to be extremely obese to benefit from surgical treatment. “If you are 100 pounds overweight, you are likely to meet the criteria for weight-loss surgery,” says Dr. Torquati. “If you are 60 pounds overweight and have weight-related health issues, you also may qualify.” Examples of such health issues include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Severe osteoarthritis

Weight-loss surgery often leads to dramatic improvement in these conditions.“Type 2 diabetes goes away after weight-loss surgery in 3/4 of our patients,” says Dr. Torquati.“Sleep apnea resolves in nearly 90% of cases. Sleep apnea resolves in nearly 90% of cases.”

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