Bariatrics

Comprehensive bariatrics program in Savannah

Approximately 10 million adults in the U.S. are obese, meaning their excess weight puts them at risk for serious health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea.

Bariatric surgery can help morbidly obese patients lose much of their excess body weight. Patients must be willing to follow a very specific post-surgery program and make significant lifestyle changes. Following the program can result in dramatic weight loss, a physical and psychological transformation and a new lease on life.

Memorial Health Bariatrics is a comprehensive program that works with patients before and long after surgery to ensure their success. Our patients receive extensive education and on-going psychological support.

Contact Us

4700 Waters Ave

First Floor, Memorial University Surgeons Building

Savannah, GA 31404

Monday - Thursday: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Friday: 9:00am - 3:00pm

Phone: (912) 350-DIET (3438) or (800) 836-8991

Our providers also see patients at these locations:

Brunswick office

3226 Hampton Avenue, Suite F

Brunswick, GA 31520

1st and 4th Friday of each month

Pooler office

101 West Mulberry Boulevard, Suite 100

(Memorial Specialists' office)

Pooler, GA 31407

Every Thursday

Statesboro office

23630 Highway 80 East, Unit B

Statesboro, GA 30461

Vidalia office

508 Maple Drive, Vidalia, GA 30474

Bluffton, SC - Legacy Center Office

14 Okatie Center Boulevard South Suite

Bariatric surgery

Weight-loss surgery is a major medical undertaking. It can result in improved health, increased mobility, a longer life and heightened self-esteem. However, like all surgical procedures, it carries a certain amount of risk. At Memorial Health Bariatrics, we do everything we can to ensure that our patients are aware of all the risks, have researched all of their options and are fully educated about the surgical procedure. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, adjustable gastric band and sleeve gastrectomy each have their own risks and requirements. We will help you select the appropriate procedure.

Bariatric surgery itself is only a tool. It is a way to make the weight loss possible, but it is only successful when used along with major lifestyle and eating changes. Your success depends on how closely you follow the diet, exercise and vitamin requirements after surgery.

Enter your data in the BMI calculator to see what category your weight falls in.

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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Your BMI Score is:

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Your BMI indicates that you are underweight.

Congratulations! Your BMI indicates that your weight is in the healthy range. A lifestyle of good food choices and routine exercise will help you with long term weight management.

Your BMI indicates your weight is in the obese range and can have a significant impact on your health. You are at risk for weight related health conditions. If you have been diagnosed with a health condition related to obesity, then weight loss surgery could be right for you. To learn more about the surgical procedures for obesity, please contact us for more information, or sign up for a free seminar schedule and registration.

Disclaimer:
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.

Gastric band

Memorial Health Bariatrics performs the adjustable gastric band surgical procedure. The surgeon places a silicone ring around the upper stomach to create a very small stomach pouch. The silicone ring is attached to a small reservoir that is implanted under the skin. This reservoir is accessed with a needle through the skin when the band needs to be tightened or loosened.

This restrictive procedure works by making the stomach smaller. Patients feel full with much less food and lose their appetite if the band is appropriately adjusted. One year after surgery, weight loss can average 40 percent of excess body weight.

Studies show that after 10 to 14 years, 50 to 60 percent of excess body weight loss has been maintained by some patients.

On occasion, the band will slip on the stomach, changing position. This complication requires laparoscopic surgery to return the band to the appropriate position.

Patients who undergo adjustable gastric band surgery are at increased risk of developing blood clots in their legs that can travel to their lungs. Early walking, the use of compression boots, anti-embolism stockings and small doses of blood thinning agents help lower this risk.

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band

In almost all patients, the adjustable gastric band surgery can be performed laparoscopically. When a laparoscopic operation is performed, a small video camera is inserted into the abdomen. By viewing the procedure on a separate video monitor, most laparoscopic surgeons believe this gives them better visualization and access to key anatomical structures.

The camera and surgical instruments are inserted through small incisions made in the abdominal wall. This approach is less invasive because it replaces the need for one long incision to open the abdomen. A recent study shows that patients having had laparoscopic weight loss surgery experience less pain after surgery, resulting in easier breathing and lung function and higher overall oxygen levels. Other realized benefits with laparoscopy include fewer wound complications such as infection or hernia, and a quicker return to pre-surgical levels of activity.

After gastric band surgery

After insertion of the adjustable gastric band, you will stay overnight at Memorial Health University Medical Center, where you will start a liquid diet for two weeks. You will begin doing simple exercises from your bed just four hours after surgery to help relieve some pain as well as a barium swallow to make sure you are able to eat.

Roux-en-Y

Memorial Health Bariatrics performs the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure. According to the American Society for Bariatric Surgery and the National Institute of Health, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the current gold standard procedure for weight loss surgery and is one of the most frequently performed weight loss procedures in the U.S.

In this procedure, the surgeon uses a stapling device to create a small stomach pouch. The remainder of the stomach is not removed, but is completely separated from the pouch.

The outlet from this newly formed pouch empties directly into the lower portion of the small intestine. This is done by dividing the small intestine just beyond the duodenum (first part of the small intestine) for the purpose of bringing it up and constructing a connection with the newly formed stomach pouch. The other end is connected into the side of the Roux limb of the intestine creating the "Y" shape that gives the technique its name. The length of either segment of the intestine can be increased to produce lower or higher levels of malabsorption.

This procedure is both restrictive and malabsorptive. In recent years, better clinical understanding of procedures combining restrictive and malabsorptive approaches has increased the choices of effective weight loss surgery for thousands of patients. By adding malabsorption, food is delayed in mixing with bile and pancreatic juices that aid in the absorption of nutrients. The result is an early sense of fullness, combined with a sense of satisfaction that reduces the desire to eat.

Risks of Roux-en-Y

The procedure’s stomach size reduction lowers the production of stomach acid that is necessary for the absorption of iron and calcium. Poor absorption of iron and calcium can result in a lower total body iron count and a predisposition to iron deficiency anemia. This directly affects patients who experience chronic blood loss during excessive menstrual flow or bleeding hemorrhoids. Women, already at risk for osteoporosis that can occur after menopause, should be aware of the potential for heightened bone calcium loss due to poor absorption of dietary calcium.

Bypassing the duodenum has caused metabolic bone disease in some patients, resulting in bone pain, loss of height, humped back and fractures of the ribs and hip bones. All of the deficiencies can be managed through proper diet and vitamin supplements.

Because the food bypasses the duodenum, a chronic anemia due to Vitamin B12 deficiency may occur. The problem can usually be managed with Vitamin B12 pills or injections. In addition, absorption of thiamine (vitamin B1) also changes and can cause confusion and nerve damage to nerves of the leg.

A condition known as "dumping syndrome" can occur as the result of rapid emptying of stomach contents into the small intestine. This is triggered when too much sugar or large amounts of food are consumed. Side effects include nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness and diarrhea after eating. Some patients are unable to eat any form of sweets after surgery.

After Roux-en-Y surgery

To help prevent blood clots, anti-embolism stockings and sequential compression boots will be placed on your legs. You will also receive small doses of a blood thinning agent to prevent clot formation. We will encourage you to get out of bed and walk several times a day.

Initially, you will only be allowed to consume liquids. In the weeks following surgery, you will begin to eat small portions of solid food again. For approximately six months, you will be on a strict low-carb, protein diet.

Sleeve gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy removes the portion of the stomach that stretches the easiest. However, the remaining portion can still be stretched over time, so measuring food portion is essential. As is the case with other forms of weight loss surgery, careful eating habits and exercise patterns are vital for long-term success. Learn more about sleeve gastrectomy at Memorial Health Bariatrics.

General post-bariatric surgery care

After you leave the hospital, you will have 24/7 telephone access to a nurse, along with scheduled appointments with an exercise physiologist and dietitian.

Changing the way you eat

The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits. Some of the changes include:

  • Chew solid foods, such as steak, thoroughly.
  • Do not drink fluids while eating. You need to wait 90 minutes after eating before drinking any fluid.
  • Do not consume desserts that list sugar as one of the first three ingredients.
  • Omit carbonated drinks, alcohol, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes and foods with high-fat and high-fiber content.
  • Limit snacking between meals.
  • Take vitamin supplements as directed by your doctor.

Returning to work

Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity will vary based on your physical condition and the nature of the activity. Many patients return to full pre-surgery levels of activity within six weeks of their procedure. Patients who have had a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure may be able to return to these activities within a few weeks.

Birth control and pregnancy

Because of the added demands pregnancy places on your body and the potential for fetal damage, we strongly advise women of childbearing age to use at least two effective forms of birth control during the first 16 to 24 months after weight loss surgery.

Bariatrics programs and workshops

Lost your focus? Hit a plateau? Regained some weight? This class is for you.

Designed by Bariatric Support Centers International (BSCI), the Back On Track Program provides education and motivation to help you reach and maintain your weight-loss goals. This program is open to anybody who has had weight-loss surgery, regardless of where the surgery was performed.

Weight-loss surgery, combined with the Success Habits™ principles, will help you reach and maintain your goal weight. You can learn about the principles of weight loss and how to incorporate healthy habits into your own lifestyle. Meet other weight-loss surgery patients, enjoy bariatric-friendly refreshments and win door prizes.

Call (912) 350-DIET (3438) to register.

Bariatric surgery FAQs

What will the staples do inside my abdomen? Is it okay in the future to have an MRI test? Will I set off metal detectors in airports?

The staples used on the stomach and the intestines are very tiny. They are much smaller than the staples you will have in your skin or staples you use in the office. Each staple is made of stainless steel or titanium and is so small it is hard to see other than as a tiny bright spot. Because the metals used (titanium or stainless steel) are inert in the body, most people are not allergic to them and they do not cause any problems. The staples are non-magnetic, which means they will not be affected by MRI. Patients with the adjustable gastric band are discouraged, but not prohibited, from having an MRI the first six months after placement. The staples will not set off airport metal detectors.

Can bariatric surgery help with other physical conditions?

Research has shown that weight loss surgery can improve or resolve associated health conditions:

Condition Percentage found in preoperative individuals Percentage cured 2 years after surgery
Diabetes or insulin resistance 34% 85%
High blood pressure 26% 66%
High triglycerides 40% 85%
Sleep apnea 22% in males, 1% in females 40%
Will I have to change my medications?

Your doctor will determine whether medications for blood pressure, diabetes, etc., can be stopped as your health improves after weight-loss surgery. For medications that must be continued, the vast majority can be swallowed and absorbed after weight-loss surgery. Usually no change in dose is required.

Is there a problem with consuming milk products?

Milk contains lactose (milk sugar), which is not well digested. Depending on individual tolerance, some people find even the smallest amount of milk can cause cramps, gas, and diarrhea.

Is there any restriction of salt intake?

No, your salt intake will be unchanged unless otherwise instructed by your primary care physician.

Will I be able to eat spicy foods or seasoned foods?

Most patients are able to enjoy spices after the initial six months following surgery.

What if I'm not hungry after surgery?

It's normal not to have an appetite for the first month or two after bariatric surgery. If you are able to consume liquids reasonably well, there is a level of confidence that your appetite will increase with time.

Why can't I snack between meals?

Snacking, nibbling or grazing on foods, usually high-calorie and high-fat foods, can add hundreds of calories a day to your intake, defeating the restrictive effect of your operation. Snacking will slow down your weight loss and can lead to weight gain.

Will I be constantly hungry after surgery?

Most patients say no. In fact, for the first four to six weeks patients have almost no appetite, until several months after surgery.

How big will my stomach pouch be?

In the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the stomach pouch created is 30 cc (one ounce) or less in size. About six to 12 months after surgery, the stomach pouch expands slightly, but it will always remain smaller than the normal stomach. Many patients end up with a meal capacity of three to seven ounces.

Will I have difficulty taking medications?

Most pills or capsules are small enough to pass through the new stomach pouch. Initially, your doctor may suggest that medications be taken in liquid form or crushed.

How will I know I won’t continue to lose weight until the point of malnutrition?

Patients may begin to wonder about this early after the surgery when they are losing 20 to 40 pounds per month, or maybe when they've lost more than 100 pounds and they're still losing weight. Two things happen to allow weight to stabilize. First, a patient's ongoing metabolic needs (calories burned) decrease as the body sheds excess pounds. Second, there is a natural progressive increase in calorie and nutrient intake over the months following weight-loss surgery. The stomach pouch and attached small intestine learn to work together, and there is some expansion in pouch size over a period of months. The bottom line is that, in the absence of a surgical complication, patients are very unlikely to lose weight to the point of malnutrition.

Will I lose hair after surgery? How can I prevent it?

Many patients experience some hair loss or thinning after surgery. This usually occurs between the fourth and the eighth month after surgery. Consistent intake of protein at mealtime is the most important prevention method. Also recommended are a daily zinc supplement and a good daily volume of fluid intake. Most patients experience natural hair regrowth after the initial period of loss.

Can I eat red meat after surgery?

You can, but you will need to be very careful. We recommend you avoid it for the first several months. Red meat contains a high level of meat fibers (gristle) that hold the meat together, preventing you from separating it into small parts when you chew. The gristle can plug the outlet of your stomach pouch and prevent anything from passing through, a condition that is very uncomfortable.

How small is my stomach after adjustable gastric band?

The adjustable gastric band shrinks your stomach size to about 20 to 30 cc (approximately an ounce).

Will I have difficulty taking medications after adjustable gastric band?

The band works by providing restriction. Large capsules or tablets can get stuck in the band. It is recommended that you crush tablets and open capsules and mix with food. Please check with your medical doctor or pharmacist to ensure this is OK with your particular medications.

Why can't I eat meat or bread after adjustable gastric band?

The laparoscopic adjustable gastric band works by restricting outflow of food from the area above the band. This small piece of stomach stretches and you feel full and lose your appetite. The band only works if this exit is narrow. If you are properly adjusted, meats or bread will get stuck in the band, causing vomiting.

What if I am hungry after adjustable gastric band?

If your band is appropriately adjusted you will eat only small amounts of food. That food will stretch your stomach, resulting in your feeling full and losing your appetite. If you feel hungry after eating, your band probably needs an adjustment.

Why do I need to exercise after surgery?

Several studies have shown that regular exercise helps you build muscle, replacing muscle lost during the period of rapid weight loss in the first six months after surgery. Patients who exercise feel better and manage their weight loss better.

Will exercise help with loose skin after I lose weight?

Unfortunately, even with consistent exercise some patients may still be left with large flaps of loose skin