For Healthcare Professionals

Do you have patients who have become frustrated with dieting attempts and the severe medical problems caused by their obesity?

Obesity is a chronic disease. Weight loss surgery is an effective and enduring therapy for morbid obesity. Surgery alone is not a cure, but merely a tool to achieve healthy diet and exercise habits. As a result, long-term medical care is necessary for the morbidly obese patient even after achieving weight loss.

UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Weight Loss Surgery Specialists are able to provide a very comprehensive approach to the treatment of obesity. We have a large multidisciplinary team of dedicated providers including; two surgeons, nurses, PA's, dietician, exercise physiologists, and mental health providers to ensure quality life-long care of our patients.

There have been recent studies demonstrating a high rate of cure of diabetes following bariatric surgery. One recent randomized controlled study in the January 23, 2008 issue of JAMA demonstrated remission of type 2 diabetes in 73% of patients with the use of a laparoscopic adjustable band, compared to 13% in the conventional-therapy group. Another similar study was reported in Annals of Surgery, October 2003, demonstrating diabetes resolution in 83% of patients following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. And, two recent notable studies in the August 2007 New England Journal of Medicine (SOS, and Adams et al.) showed prolonged survival by up to 40% following bariatric surgery. These studies continue to supplement the large body of literature demonstrating the life-saving benefits of bariatric surgery.

For the patients who do undergo bariatric surgery, there are huge health benefits. They have an average excess weight loss of 70%;, resolution of diabetes in 83% of patients, hypertension in 66%, sleep apnea in 95%, GERD in 90%;, and decreases their 10-year cardiac event risk by half. The average weight loss remains at least 50% of excess weight loss 15 years after surgery.

Potential candidates for surgery in our program include adults over age 18 with a BMI >40 or >35 with serious co morbidities who have previously failed attempts at dieting. Most insurance companies require a physician supervised diet for 3, 6, or 12 months, which is documented in the patient's primary care physician's medical record. This documentation is absolutely critical to patients getting approval from insurance companies for bariatric surgery. Unfortunately, a weight check alone without any counseling is not considered adequate by most insurance companies. Please see the enclosed sheet for further details about a physician-supervised diet.

A close working relationship between primary care physicians and our surgeons is essential. If you have a patient who may be interested in weight loss surgery, the first step of the evaluation process is for the patient to attend a free two and a half hour educational seminar given at our office weekly. We would encourage you to have any interested patients call our office ahead of time to register, as class sizes are limited (515-241-2250). At the class they are given an extensive amount of information, and if they wish to proceed they can schedule a consultation with one of our two bariatric surgeons.