Being severely overweight places us at risk for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, sleep apnea, cancer, and depression. It can also rob us of much of the joy in life that we all deserve. If attempts at serious weight reduction have failed, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery, and Community Hospital's bariatric surgery experts are here to help.
Bariatric surgery describes surgical operations designed to help patients lose and keep off large amounts of weight, to alleviate the health complications that can occur when someone is dangerously overweight, and to restore the quality of life that is often lost when someone is severely overweight.
Community Hospital's bariatric program was one of the earliest in the country to be designated a Bariatric Surgical Center of Excellence by the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. In 2012, the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery combined their respective national bariatric surgery accreditation programs in a single program to achieve one national standard. That accreditation, now held by Community Hospital, is the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP).
Our program started in 2001, and we have since performed more than 1,100 weight-loss operations. Patients undergoing bariatric surgery in our program most commonly undergo laparoscopic roux-en-y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, although we also perform laparoscopic and open revisional surgery, and occasionally other types of surgery if necessary.
We take great pride in a program that is able to offer not only state-of-the-art surgery, but comprehensive nutritional counseling and psychological support as well.
The program is directed by Mark Vierra, MD, who has performed bariatric surgery since 1991, when he established the bariatric surgery program at Stanford University Medical Center. In 2001, he moved his practice to Monterey, where he was able to establish the program he had always wanted.
"I feel that we can offer the best of both worlds here," he explains, "the best modern surgical techniques available, with a stable, dedicated support staff able to provide the kind of personal care that can only be offered in a community setting."
Introductory lecture and ongoing support groups
Bariatric surgery at Community Hospital begins with a free informational meeting given monthly to anyone interested in bariatric surgery, or anyone interested in the science of what makes us overweight. Patients are then evaluated individually by the surgeon, followed by dietary and psychological counseling, and medical testing to assess overall health and fitness for surgery.
Patients are encouraged to attend a support group before surgery to hear firsthand from patients who have had the surgery and then to join a support group afterward for continued support. Four free support groups are offered monthly. One is for all patients who have had bariatric surgery. One is for patients who have undergone bariatric surgery at least 12 months prior. One is for those who have adjustable gastric bands. The fourth is for getting back on track to meet or maintain goals. Nutrition classes and counseling, and psychological support are available all along the way, and patients are expected to follow up with their surgeon for at least five years following their surgery.
If you think bariatric surgery might be right for you, talk to your doctor, or call Community Hospital at (831) 649-7220.
Our frequently asked questions page answers the most commonly asked questions regarding bariatric surgery at Community Hospital.
See our schedule of lectures and support groups for people interested in bariatric surgery.