Weight loss clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah

At St. Mark's Hospital, we help people finally win their weight loss battle and live longer, healthier and happier lives. The specialists at our weight loss clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah provide you with the tools and support you need to complete a successful, long-term lifestyle change.  

Attend one of our free weight loss classes or call us at (801) 783-1841 for more information about our weight loss programs.

The weight loss program at St. Mark’s includes bariatric surgery, as well as nonsurgical options.  A team of weight management specialists, including surgeons, behavioral health specialists, registered dietitians and registered nurses, will assist you through your weight loss journey. You will also again access to weight loss support groups.

Meet the weight loss team at St. Mark’s Hospital.

Understanding obesity

Obesity is a disease that affects about 93 million American adults. Obesity is measured several ways, but the most common method is using the body mass index (BMI). Your BMI is calculated using your height and weight. Studies find that your risk for diseases and death increase as your BMI increases.

Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. Clinically severe obesity is a BMI of greater than 35 if you have other medical conditions or a BMI of 40 or higher. If you have clinically severe obesity, you may be a good candidate for weight loss surgery.

Find out your BMI

Research has shown that genetics, the environment, behaviors and hormones, specifically leptin and ghrelin, cause obesity. Unfortunately, studies have demonstrated that dieting and exercise programs have a limited ability to provide effective, long-term relief.

It is important to understand that all current medical interventions, including weight loss surgery, should not be considered medical cures. The control of excess weight is something patients must work at their entire lives.

Benefits of bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery can improve the quality of life for people living with severe obesity. When you live with severe obesity, you may choose to not participate in certain activities, or you may feel you have limited career choices.

However, morbid obesity has also been linked to several serious and life-threatening diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Some of these conditions develop over time, while others emerge quickly. You may have one or more of these conditions without even realizing it. 

Bariatric surgery can offer you a completely new outlook on health. Consider this information from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS):

  • Gastric bypass surgery reduced the total number of associated medical conditions of participating patients by 96 percent.
  • Gastric bypass resolved Type 2 diabetes in nearly 90 percent of patients.
  • Gastric band surgery resolved Type 2 diabetes in 73 percent of patients.
  • Weight loss surgery cut risk of developing coronary heart disease in half.
  • Weight loss surgery resolved obstructive sleep apnea in more than 85 percent of patients.
  • Weight loss surgery improved life expectancy by as much as 89 percent.
  • Weight loss surgery reduced the risk of premature death by as much as 30 to 40 percent.
  • The risk of death from diabetes decreased by 92 percent; from cancer by 60 percent and from coronary artery disease by down 56 percent.

Weight loss procedures in Salt Lake City

The weight loss clinic at St. Mark’s offers four bariatric surgery procedures, which are approved by the ASMBS.

Our bariatric surgeons in Salt Lake City perform:

Gastric bypass

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass—or gastric bypass surgery—involves the surgeon creating a smaller stomach pouch. The surgeon then attaches 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 to feel fuller sooner and eat less food and may help reverse diabetes.

According to the ASMBS and the National Institutes of Health, gastric bypass is the current gold standard procedure for weight loss surgery.

Advantages of gastric bypass

  • Produces significant long-term weight loss (60 to 80 percent excess weight loss)
  • Limits the amount of food that can be eaten
  • May lead to conditions that increase energy expenditure
  • Produces favorable changes in gut hormones that reduce appetite and enhance satiety

Disadvantages of gastric bypass

  • It’s technically a more complex operation than the gastric sleeve or band and potentially could result in greater complications
  • Can lead to long-term vitamin/mineral deficiencies, such as vitamin B12, iron, calcium and folate
  • Requires adherence to dietary recommendations, lifelong vitamin/mineral supplementation and follow-up compliance
  • Dumping syndrome, or rapid gastric emptying, can occur. While generally not considered to be a serious risk to your health, the results can be extremely unpleasant and can include nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness, heart palpitations and, on occasion, diarrhea after eating

Gastric banding

The gastric band, or LAP-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. By adding saline, the band becomes tighter and helps you to feel full on smaller amounts of food.

The gastric band helps you feel satisfied sooner and with less food, but it will not eliminate the desire to eat. You will need to follow your specific diet and exercise guidelines provided by your surgeon to achieve success. Digestion occurs through the normal digestive process.

Your first gastric band adjustment usually takes place about four to six weeks after surgery, but varies from patient to patient.

Advantages of gastric band surgery

  • Reduces the amount of food the stomach can hold
  • Induces excess weight loss of approximately 40 – 50 percent
  • Requires no stapling, cutting of the stomach or rerouting of the intestines because it’s a minimally invasive procedure
  • Requires a shorter hospital stay, usually less than 24 hours, with some centers discharging the patient the same day as surgery
  • Is reversible and adjustable
  • Has the lowest rate of early postoperative complications and mortality among the approved bariatric procedures
  • Has the lowest risk for vitamin/mineral deficiencies

Disadvantages of gastric band surgery

  • Slower weight loss than other surgical procedures
  • Greater percentage of patients failing to lose at least 50 percent of excess body weight compared to the other common weight loss surgeries
  • Requires a foreign device to remain in the body
  • Can result in possible band slippage or band erosion into the stomach in a small percentage of patients
  • Can have mechanical problems with the band, tube or port in a small percentage of patients
  • Can result in dilation of the esophagus if the patient overeats
  • Requires strict adherence to the postoperative diet and to postoperative follow-up visits
  • Highest rate of re-operation

Watch this video to learn more about lap band surgery.

Gastric sleeve

A sleeve gastrectomy—commonly known as a gastric sleeve—is a weight loss surgery that involves removing 75 to 80 percent of your stomach. Your surgeon will divide and staple the remaining portion of your stomach, which will be about the size of a banana. A gastric sleeve allows for normal absorption of foods and digestion.

Learn more about having a gastric sleeve procedure at St. Mark’s.

Duodenal switch

A duodenal switch, or DS weight loss surgery, is considered the most powerful type of bariatric surgery. It involves removing part of the stomach and promoting weight loss through malabsorption.

Learn more about having a duodenal switch at St. Mark’s.

Candidates for bariatric surgery

Weight loss surgery—or bariatric surgery—can benefit many people who have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight through other methods.

Good candidates for weight loss

You may be a good candidate for bariatric surgery if:

  • You are 75-100 pounds or more over your healthy (ideal) body weight.
  • You have a BMI of 40 or more, or you have a BMI of 35 or more and have serious health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease caused by excess weight.
  • You have tried other medically managed weight-loss programs without success.
  • You are motivated and committed to the lifelong post-operative care and lifestyle changes that bariatric surgery involves.

Non-candidates for weight loss

You are not eligible for bariatric surgery if:

  • You have ongoing drug or alcohol addiction.
  • You have an uncontrolled mental illness.
  • You have a significant eating disorder.

You are unwilling to comply with the necessary guidelines following bariatric surgery

Affording weight loss surgery

Metabolic and bariatric surgery approximately costs between $11,500 and $35,000 depending on where you live. Because the benefits of surgery often outweigh the risks, we want to help every patient find a financial solution that works for them.

At St. Mark’s Hospital, we believe that peace of mind is also important and offer additional complication coverage for specific complications depending on which surgery you have. This coverage extends to 90 days following your surgery with some limits. This coverage is offered to patients having a lap band, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (duodenal switch). Our quoted pricing includes this coverage as well as any additional education fees required by the surgeon’s office.

Increasingly, insurance providers (including Medicare and, in some states, Medicaid) offer coverage for metabolic and weight loss procedures that covers all or part of the cost of the surgery, if your doctor establishes medical necessity and if you meet the National Institutes of Health insurance requirements.

Learn more about using health insurance for weight loss surgery.

When paying cash for bariatric surgery, the cost generally includes:

  • Anesthesia fees
  • The hospital facility fee
  • The surgeon's fee
  • Pre-op lab and X-ray fees
  • Follow up with your surgeon for a specified time frame

Costs not included in the cost of bariatric surgery include:

  • Individual consultations for behavior, exercise and diet counseling
  • Cost of vitamins and supplements required to maintain good health
  • Other physicians that may provide care for you during your course of treatment
  • Additional body contouring surgeries to remove excess skin, lift sagging body areas, improve loose muscles or treat fat deposits

More weight loss surgery resources

For more information about weight loss surgery, please browse these resources:

Contact us

For specific bariatric surgery package pricing, or for more information about our weight loss programs, please call us at (801) 783-1841.