St. Mark’s Weight Treatment Center in Salt Lake City, Utah

Designated as an accredited metabolic and bariatric surgery center by the American College of Surgeons, St. Mark’s Weight Treatment Center offers a comprehensive surgical and non-surgical weight loss program that ensures the highest level of patient safety and support throughout your weight loss journey. Our board-certified bariatric surgeons bring over 35 years of combined experience and are dedicated to treating morbid or severe obesity and have performed over 11,000 laparoscopic weight loss surgery procedures to date, making them the most experienced in Utah.

Why choose St. Mark’s Hospital for weight loss?

Obesity is a disease where society seems to place the blame on the person. At St. Mark’s Hospital, we understand that obesity is complex disease that is caused by several factors including genetics, environment, hormones, behaviors, and even medications. Our compassionate support team will help you to choose the path for your weight loss journey. These experts include a variety of specialists in weight loss, including a nurse practitioner, behavioral health specialist, registered dietitian nutritionists, certified bariatric nurses and financial counselors to support you on your journey.

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Medical Weight Loss

Weight Loss Surgery

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 save lives and continues to benefit people struggling with morbid obesity worldwide. With each successful procedure, the medical community sees further evidence that bariatric surgery is an effective weight loss tool and treatment for obesity-related health conditions. Studies show that bariatric surgery patients are living longer lives of higher quality.

The risk of an early death for an obese person is twice that of a non-obese person, according to recent studies. Morbid obesity can shorten lives and cause life-threatening health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Weight loss surgery helps decrease your chances of these and other conditions, including sleep apnea and arthritis. With treatment, good health and a longer life are much more likely.

Risks of bariatric surgery

All surgeries and medical procedures carry risk. It's important to talk to your doctor, other weight loss surgery patients and your loved ones to best understand the benefits and risks for your individual situation.

Gastric Bypass

The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass is the most common and successful type of weight loss surgery and considered the gold standard of weight loss procedures. This metabolic surgery has shown significant improvements on medical conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure.

First, a small stomach pouch is created to restrict food intake. Next, a Y-shaped section of the small intestine is attached to the pouch to allow food to bypass the lower stomach, the duodenum (the first segment of the small intestine), and the first portion of the jejunum (the second segment of the small intestine). This bypass reduces the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs, and is both non-reversible and non-adjustable.

On average, more than half of patients lose 70% or more of their extra weight and then start to maintain. Long-term success is dependent on accepting new rules for eating and food selection, which is taught in the follow-up period after surgery.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

The vertical sleeve gastrectomy is a restrictive form of weight-loss surgery in which approximately 85% of the stomach is removed, leaving a cylindrical or sleeve-shaped stomach, which is about the size of a banana. With this surgery, the outlet valve and the nerves to the stomach remain intact and, while the stomach is drastically reduced in size, its function is preserved.

The gastric sleeve results in fewer restrictions on the foods that patients can consume after surgery, although the quantity of food eaten is still considerably reduced. It does not involve any bypass or the intestinal tract, and it can be performed laparoscopically.

For obese patients with a relatively low BMI, the vertical sleeve gastrectomy may be a good choice, especially where existing conditions such as anemia or Crohn’s disease prevent them from having other forms of bariatric surgery.

Duodenal Switch

The duodenal switch, also known as the biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, is the most powerful weight loss surgeries available. The duodenal switch is performed by permanently removing a portion of the stomach making it about the size and shape of a banana also known as a sleeve gastrectomy.

The duodenal switch promotes weight loss primarily through malabsorption. This is done by bypassing a portion of the small intestine. This section of the small intestine where food and digestive enzymes meet is called the common limb. Following a duodenal switch, the common limb where nutrients and calories will primarily be digested and absorbed is about 3 feet long.