Published on October 09, 2017

Big losses and bigger gains

The bariatric surgery program at St. Mary helps patients successfully lose weight and enjoy a healthier life.

“It was the best thing I ever did.”

That’s how Kristine Michael-Sheffer describes the gastric sleeve surgery she had more than a year ago at St. Mary Medical Center.

“I started losing weight very quickly,” Kristine says. “In six months, I met my goal weight, and I’ve held it ever since.”

Gastric sleeve is just one of the weight-loss surgeries offered as part of the Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Program at St. Mary. There are three different procedures available to patients:

ReShape Dual Balloon

This is the newest nonsurgical, endoscopic bariatric procedure on the program’s roster. It involves using an endoscope to place two balloons in the stomach. The balloons are then inflated and filled with a sterile solution.

“It makes a person feel full, even when they haven’t eaten anything,” says Keith Kreitz, MD, a bariatric surgeon at St. Mary. “And when they do eat, they eat very little.”

The balloons stay in place for six months before they’re removed. The patient also commits to a one-year supervised weight-loss program that includes visits with a nutritionist. The endoscopy procedure takes about 30 minutes. And the patient goes home the same day.

Gastric sleeve

“This is the most common surgery we do,” says Dr. Kreitz, who performed the operation on Kristine. It involves removing much of the stomach and making what’s left into a narrow tube or sleeve. The new, smaller stomach doesn’t stretch when the patient eats, limiting the amount of food a person can take in. The stomach also makes less of a hormone that triggers hunger.

Gastric bypass

This is a procedure that’s been around for more than 50 years, Dr. Kreitz says. The stomach is made into a small pouch. It’s then attached to the small intestine, bypassing other parts of the digestive system. The smaller stomach holds less food, causing a person to feel full quickly. The body also absorbs less calories.

Both the gastric bypass and gastric sleeve require a lifelong commitment to healthy living. Dr. Kreitz and his staff offer lifetime support for all of their patients, including nutritional and other types of counseling.

Great results and high praise

Kristine lost 108 pounds and couldn’t be happier. She has nothing but good things to say about Dr. Kreitz and the program. “I can’t speak highly enough of them,” she says.

“This is a pretty fantastic hospital with fantastic staff,” Dr. Kreitz says. “We have many successful stories at St. Mary.”