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Bariatrics


Weight loss surgery is now available at Dominican Hospital


Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has just debuted a new type of bariatric surgery never before available in Santa Cruz County: the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.

The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy procedure is a minimally invasive surgery to remove nearly two thirds of the stomach, thereby restricting caloric intake. (The remaining portion of the stomach resembles a sleeve – hence the name.) By removing this portion of the stomach, the hunger-inducing hormone Ghrelin is also reduced. This combination allows patients on average to lose 60% of their excess body weight. It is less invasive than the gastric bypass procedure, which re-routes the path the intestines take from the stomach.

Patients can qualify for the program if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40, or a BMI of over 35 along with other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or obstructive sleep apnea. Patients with a higher BMI, 55 or over, would benefit more from the gastric bypass surgery, which currently is not offered.

As part of Dominican’s surgical weight loss program, the sleeve gastrectomy procedure is a comprehensive 6-month process that begins long before surgery.

“I have to see that patients are understanding the whole process. If not, I don’t approve the surgery,” said Dr. Paul Nguyen, a general surgeon with Surgical Associates of Monterey Bay, who performs the sleeve gastrectomy procedure. “I want weight loss patients to commit to the whole program.”

Before surgery, patients meet with the surgeon to discuss their dietary habits, exercise habits, psychological issues, or substance abuse issues. Patients also begin a series of pre-operative sessions with a registered dietitian and a mental health specialist to discuss diet plans and the extreme changes that come with significant weight loss. Patients may also need approval to undergo the surgery from other physicians they are seeing, to make sure they are physically ready for surgery.

“Surgery is only one component. Lifestyle changes are forever, diets are not. Strategies patients learn from the dietician will serve them for a long time.” said Dr. Nguyen. Patients will continue to see a dietitian after surgery.

The entire process requires a significant time commitment, and patients in Santa Cruz who are interested in weight loss surgery will no longer have to go over the hill for care. If you’d like to learn more about weight loss surgery, call 831.462.7597 to learn more.