At Spectrum Health, we understand the frustrations often experienced with being severely overweight because we specialize in obesity and obesity-related diseases. Over the years we have treated many patients who had given up hope of finding a solution to their weight problem.

That said, weight loss surgery should not be considered lightly, nor should it be considered as a first option in weight loss. Bariatric surgery alters your digestive system so in order for it to be successful, you must be willing to change your diet and lifestyle. In most cases, this surgery is not reversible. Because of this, not everyone qualifies for surgery. 

Bariatric Surgery Eligibility Requirements

Spectrum Health has guidelines and criteria that are followed to determine if bariatric surgery is right for you. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • You must have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or more plus a serious health problem such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea
  • You must be healthy enough to have surgery
  • You must have tried to lose weight by other means
  • You must complete a full evaluation by our multidisciplinary team which includes medical, surgical, behavioral and nutritional experts

You will have to undergo a wellness and psychological evaluation before your surgery to make sure that you are prepared medically and mentally for the surgery and the ensuing lifestyle changes that will be required for long-term weight loss success.

Other Benefits to Bariatric Surgery

Obesity is a major cause of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea, which are all potentially life-threatening diseases. Bariatric surgery aims to improve or resolve those diseases and give you a reinvigorated and healthier life. Spectrum Health patients who have bariatric surgery are able to lose—and keep off, on average—50 to 70 percent of their excess body weight. This can lead to a significant decrease in weight-related illnesses.

One clinical trial that compared two types of surgical weight loss procedures with medical weight loss found that bariatric surgery effectively eliminated the need for diabetes medication in more than 75 percent of the patients. Many patients reduced their need for diabetes medication, and there were substantial improvements in heart health, cancer risks, sleep apnea and cholesterol levels.

Calculate Your Body Mass Index

A person's body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat. You can determine your own body mass index here.

Treatments for Obesity

Bariatric surgery brings more options to you than when it first came on the medical scene in the 1950s. Some earlier procedures aren't even used anymore. Newer surgeries offer a variety of easier, more effective treatment of severe obesity. 

All significantly reduce your health risks, while giving you a new lease on life. For example, more than 80 percent of our patients with diabetes no longer have it within a year. Because we're experienced in the newest techniques, you'll also have confidence in greater long-term success with fewer complications. Not everyone qualifies for bariatric surgery, but we'll help you find the best option for you.

Behavioral Assessment
We want to be sure you are prepared physically and emotionally for the changes ahead. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge you need for long-term success.

Gastric Band Surgery
Gastric banding, also known as lap banding, is a restrictive surgical procedure that involves implanting two medical devices in your abdomen. 

Gastric Bypass Surgery
Gastric bypass surgery uses both restriction and malabsorption by creating a smaller stomach pouch and rerouting the small intestine. This procedure is the most commonly performed weight loss procedure in the United States and is considered the “gold standard” of surgical weight loss procedures. It achieves, on average, the greatest weight loss of any bariatric procedure. Gastric bypass can be performed laparoscopically (minimally invasive) or open, depending on what’s most appropriate for you.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve) is a restrictive bariatric surgical procedure in which the surgeon creates a small, sleeve-shaped stomach about the size of a banana. The sleeve gastrectomy does not use malabsorption and therefore allows a wider range of foods to be consumed.

Non-Surgical Intragastric Balloon Procedure
In the intragastric balloon procedure, an empty balloon is inserted through a thin tube placed in the mouth and then into your stomach for approximately six months. Once in place, it is filled with saline and becomes roughly the size of a grapefruit. This helps limit the amount of food the stomach can hold, slows gastric emptying and causes you to feel full faster than you normally would.

Nutrition Planning
Bariatric surgery is one step toward a healthier you. Proper nutrition is essential to staying healthy before, during and after your procedure. We provide all of the tools you need to understand the changes in your diet and what your body needs to stay healthy.

Weight Loss Seminar
Every bariatric surgery with Spectrum Health begins with attending a free weight loss seminar. A medical provider explains each of the available procedures and answers questions.