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Taking the stigma out of weight loss surgery

Dec 8, 2022, 1:15 PM

RICHFIELD, Utah — For some people, diet and lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lose weight. On the advice of their doctor, bariatric surgery may be an option.

Richfield mother of five, Mckenzi Wyatt, said she struggled with her weight for years and tried every weight loss program out there.

“It would work for a little bit, then it would just stop,” she said.

Dr. Preston Gilbert at Intermountain Healthcare’s Sevier Valley Hospital recommended bariatric surgery to Wyatt. The surgery involves making changes to your digestive system to help you lose weight.

To be successful, patients must make a total lifestyle change. To support that, they go through an 18-month process of education and multiple follow-up appointments after the surgery.

Before surgery, patients will also undergo nutritional, psychological and exercise evaluations.

“There’s a stigma out there that if people have been undisciplined, or haven’t lost weight, it’s because they need to work harder, but our physiology actually works against it,” Gilbert said.

Wyatt has lost over 60 pounds since having the surgery in April. She said for her, it’s been life changing.

“I am very thankful,” she said. “I have my life back.”

This surgery is not for everyone, though. Gilbert said that if you have one or more of the following, weight loss surgery may be a good option for you:
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 35 with one or more obesity related conditions
  • BMI greater than 40
  • 100 pounds or more to lose
  • Medically managed weight-loss programs have failed to help you reach a healthy wight

You might not be eligible if:

  • Your obesity is related to untreated metabolic or endocrine disorder
  • You have an untreated history of substance abuse or untreated major psychiatric disease
  • You have health conditions that are severe enough that surgery would be dangerous
  • You want to become pregnant within the next 18 months

Gilbert said this is a lifelong commitment after surgery — patients will have to continue to take vitamin supplements, follow a strict diet, and regular exercise.

Intermountain has five weight loss surgery centers. They are located at Cassia Regional Hospital in Burley, Idaho; LDS hospital in Salt Lake City; Utah Valley Hospital in Provo; St. George Regional Hospital; and Sevier Valley Hospital in Richfield, Utah.

For more information, click here.

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Taking the stigma out of weight loss surgery