Weight loss surgery in Southwest Virginia

LewisGale Medical Center offers a comprehensive surgical weight loss program that includes an individualized treatment plan, pre-surgery preparation, post-surgery education and long term follow-up care to patients in the Roanoke Valley. Our multidisciplinary team consists of a bariatric surgeon, dietitian, psychologist, nurses and other clinical members who are here to support you throughout your entire journey.

To learn more about our surgical weight loss options or to find a bariatric surgeon, please call (540) 772-3620.

Why consider bariatric surgery?

Obesity is a major health issue that contributes to the development of many life-threatening or disabling health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. While weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, has been around for well over 60 years, it has progressed from an experimental, unconventional procedure to a safe, standard-of-care treatment for obesity and is now seen as life-changing metabolic surgery.

After a bariatric surgical procedure, a patient's heart and lungs do not have to work as hard due to the weight loss and, as a result, he or she can often lower or discontinue medications and treatments for other medical conditions caused by being overweight.

Am I a candidate for bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery is not for everyone, but if you meet the qualifications listed below, you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery:

  • Age 18 years old or older
  • Weigh 80 pounds or more than your ideal body weight
  • A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher plus related health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or sleep apnea
  • Unable to sustain a healthy body weight, even with medically supervised dieting

See if you qualify for weight loss surgery by checking your BMI and taking our free bariatric surgery candidate assessment.

BMI Calculator

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.





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All information provided by this website is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a health care professional. No information provided in this site may be considered medical advice. The information may not be relevant for your individual situation and may be misinterpreted. HCA assumes no responsibility for how you use information obtained from this site. Before making any decisions regarding your health care, ask your personal physician.

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What to expect pre- and post-surgery

Even if you qualify for bariatric surgery, your weight loss journey begins with you first trying to lose weight by other means while under the supervision of a physician. If that approach is not successful, then we consider surgery.

All bariatric patients go through several months of preoperative classes and training prior to surgery. This will include visits with your surgeon, nursing staff, bariatric dietitians and trained psychologists and remaining on a liquid diet for two weeks prior to surgery. During this process, all patients are expected to lose some weight and will receive medical clearance for surgery based on their health.

After undergoing surgery, patients are usually up and walking within hours, can sip on ice chips and generally stay in the hospital for one night. The next morning, we will resume the liquid diet which consists of protein shakes and non-caloric liquids. Patients are typically discharged that first post-operative day in the late afternoon and will stay on that liquid diet for four weeks.

The first follow-up visit will be 7-10 days later and will continue at 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and yearly. Patients are expected to eat well, exercise regularly and take recommended vitamins properly to see the best long-term results.

Types of bariatric surgery we offer

Our experienced bariatric surgeon is practiced in a several types of weight loss surgeries and will determine what procedure will deliver the best outcomes for each patient based on his or her individual health needs and weight loss goals.

  • Adjustable gastric banding
  • Gastric bypass
  • Gastric sleeve

All surgical treatments are performed laparoscopically using minimally invasive approaches that result in shorter hospital stays, less pain and a faster recovery.

Adjustable gastric banding

Gastric banding has been around for a long time and has gone through many revisions over the years. A small device is placed in the abdomen and wrapped around the top of the stomach, creating a band that can be tightened or loosened as needed to find the perfect "tightness" for each patient. The intended effect is to provide patients with a sense of satiety (satisfaction) eating small meals. If patients eat small meals consistently, along with progressive exercise, they will slowly lose weight over time.

This procedure is most effective for active, motivated and disciplined patients whose main problem is being hungry since the band does not restrict patients from eating larger meals or snacking slowly throughout the day, which can contribute to weight gain.

Gastric bypass

The gastric bypass procedure comes in many forms, but the Roux-en-Y is by far the most common. In this operation, the surgeon cuts the stomach and creates a smaller pouch that is connected to the small intestine, bypassing the stomach (and giving the procedure its name). The newly created pouch restricts the amount of food a patient can ingest, causing him or her to feel full faster.

Roux-en-Y is generally the bariatric procedure delivering the most weight loss, with patients losing an average of 70-75 percent of their excess weight in the first year. In addition, many co-morbidities are positively impacted right away, making this procedure most effective for patients with high BMIs, severe acid reflux or diabetes and who should lose 130 pounds or more.

Gastric sleeve

The gastric sleeve, or vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is another restriction procedure but here about 80 percent of the stomach is removed through small incisions, leaving a "sleeve" of stomach behind. Compared to gastric bypass, the sleeve is slightly less risky and patients generally don't lose quite as much excess weight (about 60-65 percent versus 70-75 percent or more).

Gastric sleeve is usually best for patients who have less than 130 pounds to lose, are experiencing fewer or less severe co-morbidities (especially reflux, as that can be exacerbated from sleeve surgery) and/or have had other abdominal surgeries since scar tissue formed from previous procedures isn't impacted during sleeve surgery.

Register for a Free Weight Loss Surgery Workshop

Life after bariatric surgery

Life after bariatric surgery is not easy. Far from it, but well worth it. The first few weeks after surgery, patients are adjusting to their new stomach anatomy and have to remain on a carefully controlled liquid diet. Their activity quickly advances back to normal. They may take a week or two off from work, but there is very minimal pain after a few days and there are no restrictions in activity for the motivated patient.

After a few weeks, we advance the diet to soft foods, which may include tuna salad, egg salad, lunch meat, eggs, cheese, and yogurt. Over the next few months we advance to normal foods – mostly meat, small amounts of cooked vegetables, and very little else. Patients are encouraged to eat their small meals slowly and regularly, even though they are not hungry, and minimize snacking. Exercise is also encouraged.

Patients who do this faithfully will lose about two-thirds to three-fourths of their excess weight in the first year after surgery. Along with this weight loss comes resolution of medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, acid reflux and obstructive sleep apnea. Quality of life improves and patient satisfaction is excellent.

Bariatric surgery at HCA Virginia

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is performed on patients with obesity. There are several types of bariatric procedures, but all focus on making modifications to the digestive system with the goal of significant weight loss.

Learn about Bariatric surgery