Weight Loss Surgery and Bariatrics
If you’re significantly overweight — or if your weight is already causing medical problems, such as diabetes — surgery can help turn your health around. You don’t have to keep struggling to achieve wellness on your own. The bariatrics experts at the Penrose-St. Francis Weight Loss Surgery Institute are here to guide you toward a full, active life through the option of gastric bypass or a similar surgery.
The Weight Loss Surgery Institute is southern Colorado's most experienced program offering Lap-Band, Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy weight loss surgery.
Benefits of bariatric weight loss surgery include:
- Improvements or elimination of obesity-related medical conditions
- Improved quality of life - about 95% of people report this after weight loss surgery. Some studies also suggest people live longer after weight loss surgery, compared to equally obese people who do not have surgery
- Reduction in the incidence of Type II diabetes by 83%
- Average loss of 50-65% of excess body weight
A physician referral is not required. Most insurance companies including Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare provide benefits for bariatric surgery.
Bariatric Surgery Options
Gastric bypass. As the most common type of bariatric procedure, gastric bypass involves creating a new, smaller stomach pouch to facilitate eating smaller meals, which results in the individual consuming fewer calories.
Sleeve gastrectomy. This bariatric procedure involves removing 80 percent of the stomach. The new stomach holds a much smaller volume of food and therefore restricts the individual from indulging in too many calories.
Robotic Bariatric Surgery. Robotic surgery allows for less blood loss, less pain, and a shorter hospital stay. The gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, removal of a band and/or conversion to a sleeve, and other revisional bariatric procedures can all be done robotically.
Components of Our Program
- Nutritional counseling with a registered dietician specializing in weight loss surgery and management
- Psychosocial counseling with a psychologist or therapist
- Support groups for patients both before and after surgery*
- Continued post-operative support with a registered dietitian
- On-going support and coordination with your bariatric surgeon
- Accredited Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence facility with specially trained bariatric surgery care teams
- *For more information about our support groups, please call the Bariatric Program Coordinator at
A successful bariatrics procedure begins long before you enter the operating room — and continues with daily shifts that last a lifetime. From the first time you contact our center, you’ll receive expert guidance on what to expect, how to take care of your health every day, and ways to make behavior changes stick.
Your support crew may include dietitians, nurses, trainers, and psychologists or other therapists. We’ll connect you to the best, most experienced clinicians in the community. You’ll also have the option of joining with support groups, in person or online. This way, you can get both practical advice and emotional reinforcement from others just like you, coping with the same challenges and victories.
Why choose our bariatric surgery program?
At Penrose Hospital, our two experienced surgeons perform hundreds of bariatric procedures each year — and they’ve been doing them since 2001. They use the most up-to-date, minimally invasive techniques. This means you’ll heal faster, with fewer scars.
For long-term success and weight loss, bariatric surgery patients need support. Here, you’ll find a top-notch lineup of caring clinicians to guide you as you move forward from surgery. As part of our program, you’ll find a medically-supervised weight loss program, nurse-led education classes, nutritional counseling, and a free monthly support group.
The Penrose-St. Francis Weight Loss Surgery Institute has earned top certifications and distinctions in the field, including those given by CIGNA, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. In fact, it’s the only facility in Southern Colorado to be accredited as a Bariatric Comprehensive Center of Excellence. That’s important not because of the plaques on our wall, but because it means we lead in taking care of our most important priority — you, our patients.
No, in most cases, you do not need a referral. You can contact our coordinator, directly to see if you’re eligible for weight loss surgery.
Most insurance companies provide benefits for bariatric surgery. A self-pay option is also available.
Before you book a date, you must undergo evaluations by experts in nutrition and psychological health. Some insurance companies also ask patients to undergo a period of trying to lose weight, with supervision, before approving you for weight loss surgery.
Please plan on spending approximately three hours at Penrose Hospital for your first appointment. Our bariatric coordinator will meet with you and describe all the services and support we provide.
In addition, you will complete a nutritional evaluation by our registered dietician. Finally, you will complete a comprehensive psychological evaluation by our licensed psychologist, who specializes in bariatric surgery.
Small steps to improve your health — starting right now — can go a long way toward a successful weight loss surgery.
The nutrition and behavior change experts we work with at Penrose Hospital will guide you on specifics. But in brief, eating a nutritious diet, getting regular physical activity, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol all help you prepare, recover, and return to a full, active life.
Good hydration is essential for health and healing. After weight loss surgery, it’s a challenge to drink enough, because of the changes in your stomach. And caffeine does more than wake you up — it also acts as a diuretic, removing fluid from your body.
In addition, caffeinated and carbonated beverages also can irritate your stomach and contribute to ulcers. So, it’s important to follow the guidance of your surgical team and avoid these drinks.
Yes, absolutely. In fact, many people find it easier to get pregnant after weight loss surgery. However, you’ll want to wait at least 12 to 18 months. That ensures that your baby will get enough nutrition to grow and develop properly. Your bariatrics team at the Penrose-St. Francis Weight Loss Surgery Institute will work with you on a birth control plan that makes sense for your lifestyle.