700 Broadway • Fort Wayne, IN 46802

700 Broadway • Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Did you know that obesity is the most common form of malnutrition in the western world? It is a chronic disease with multiple and complex causes that extend much further than simply being a matter of “overeating.” It is estimated that 19 million Americans are “morbidly” obese, which puts them at a great risk for serious health complications, including heart disease, diabetes, disability, drastically reduced quality of life or even death. Bariatric surgery is an effective means of weight reduction for people who are morbidly obese. While often considered only as a “last resort,” after exercise and other weight loss programs have failed to work, surgical weight reduction can aid patients in preventing other medical conditions and creating a healthy lifestyle.

The St. Joseph Bariatric Center’s team of nurses, dietitians, behaviorists, exercise physiologists and physicians are with their patients every step of the way. Bariatric surgery is not a “quick fix,” nor is it for everyone. That’s why the St. Joe Bariatric Center offers an extremely comprehensive program that includes counseling, nutrition education, exercise and overall wellness, in addition to pre- and post-operative care. Not everyone qualifies for bariatric surgery, so each potential patient meets with a counselor from the program to determine whether or not this is a viable option.

Dr. Dale Sloan, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, helped establish the comprehensive weight loss program for the St. Joe Bariatric Center. As the program’s medical director, Dr. Sloan has demonstrated a commitment to providing patient-centered care in a career that spans four decades.

“Surgery is one key element of weight loss, but the pre- and post-operative counseling and therapy, the nutritional component, the exercise component, and the support and psychological components are all very important to each individual’s success as well,” said Dr. Sloan.

The psychology of weight management is one of the keys to a bariatric patient’s success. If patients do not understand the psychological and emotional triggers that led to their weight problem, they cannot learn to avoid the same traps and pitfalls in the future, even after weight loss surgery. Pre-operative patients meet with a psychologist for an evaluation, but the real psychological care comes after surgery, with one-on-one counseling sessions, support groups and information sessions.

Following surgery, patients receive ongoing support from members of the program’s team as they begin to move toward a leadership role in support groups, offering advice and encouragement to newer patients.

Good nutrition is also a key component to successful weight loss following bariatric surgery. Eating the correct foods, in the correct amount, will not only help a patient lose weight, it will contribute to overall good health and well-being. And finally, exercise is essential to a patient’s new lifestyle. St. Joseph Bariatric Center’s exercise physiologist works with each patient to develop an exercise program that is tailored to his or her needs.

As with any major life change, balance is the key to a bariatric patient’s new lifestyle. On average, 95 percent of patients lose about 30 percent or more of their excess weight in three months, and 85 percent of patients have lost at least 75 percent of their excess weight by 12 months. The medical experts and support staff at the St. Joe Bariatric Center are there to guide each patient as he or she enters this new, exciting and healthier chapter of his or her life. To learn more, please visit www.stjoehospital.com.

Operations for obesity are designed to change the body’s energy balance. Energy balance is related to the amount of food absorbed and the amount of energy used. Surgery may control obesity by changing energy balance in two ways:

  1. Decreasing the intake of food (restriction), and
  2. Causing some of the food (i.e. sugars and fats) to be poorly digested and incompletely absorbed (malabsorption) and, therefore, eliminated in the stool.

During surgery, a small upper stomach pouch is created. The pouch connects to the small intestine through an outlet that is about the width of your little finger. The small pouch and narrow outlet produce a feeling of fullness that induces behavior changes leading to less caloric intake.

Information sessions about St. Joseph Bariatric Center are on the first Thursday of most months at 7 p.m. Call (260) 435-7844 for more information or to reserve a seat.

Information sessions begin with private consultations to determine each attendee’s Body Mass Index (BMI). Attendees should bring a photo ID along with any insurance cards to start this process. With this information, the St. Joseph Bariatric team can verify eligible services for each individual. The team’s goal is to provide each person who attends with the keys to weight management success and help them embark on an exciting journey to a new life.