Weight Loss Surgery I Bariatric Surgery
High-quality weight loss surgery and care, close to home
Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) provides advanced weight loss solutions including surgery, medication and long-term weight management counseling. We specialize in two minimally-invasive surgical procedures:
- Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass - also known as stomach bypass surgery
- Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy - also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy
What is weight loss surgery?
Also known as bariatric surgery, weight loss surgery can help you lose weight by making your stomach smaller and/or changing the path of your intestine. It is usually only done if your body mas index (BMI) is at least 40 (or at least 35 and you have other weight-related health problems). If you are struggling with obesity and illnesses such as diabetes and sleep apnea, weight loss surgery may be right for you.
A team approach to long-term weight management
Surgery alone cannot cure obesity. To maintain long-term weight loss, you must permanently adjust your diet and lifestyle. That's why our team will make sure you have all the tools and knowledge you need to succeed—before, during and after surgery. Your core team will consist of a dietitian, a behavioral health specialist, a surgeon and a patient care coordinator - all working closely together to prepare you and your family for the procedure and required lifestyle changes. We will meet frequently in the months leading up to, and after, your surgery and then annually, or as needed, after the first year post-surgery. Peer support groups are an important part of our program. And, all patients are also registered in the MBSAQIP database so that long-term outcomes can be measured.
Meet the Team
Michael Carroll, MD
Shannon Wickman, RD, CSOWM
Kate Waldron, Athletic Trainer
You may benefit gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery if you:
- Have a body mass index of 40 or higher
- Have a body mass index of more than 35 with significant obesity related health problems, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and other complications of obesity
- Click here to determine your BMI, using the American Society of Bariatric Surgery's calculator
- Are between the ages of 18 and 65
- Have tried multiple non-surgical weight loss programs without success
- Are motivated and committed to the lifelong post-operative care and lifestyle changes that weight loss surgery requires
- Agree to quit smoking or other forms of nicotine use prior to applying to the program and are ready to stay tobacco and nicotine free up life
- Have a dedicated support partner
- Agree to use birth control for one year after surgery (for women only)
- Have physical, psychological, social or economic problems that could be significantly improved by weight loss
Shannon Wickman, RD, Bariatric Program Coordinator
Shannon Wickman is a licensed bariatric dietitian and the Bariatric Program Coordinator here at SMHC. Through her role, she coordinates the care of patients who undergo weight loss surgery. Shannon attends all informational seminars and support groups, answers questions about insurance coverage and guides patients through the program. She is available for advice and support through the entire surgical process. She brings 13 years of experience working with the bariatric population through nutrition and weight management counseling. She is a strong advocate for her patients and is passionate about helping people reach their health goals through nutrition education and support. Shannon enjoys good food, music of all kinds, hiking, dancing and spending time with her family.
Devin Cain, LCPCDevin Cain is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Southern Maine Health Care. Devin completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology at the University of Maine in Orono. She then continued her education at William James College in Newton, Massachusetts. Devin graduated with a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, specializing in Behavioral Health and Medicine. While in graduate school, Devin discovered her passion for working with bariatric patients, interning for a full year at a large Bariatric Surgery facility in MA. During this time, Devin was certified as a My Hungry Head facilitator and a FreshStart Smoking Cessation facilitator. Devin conducts behavioral health assessments for the bariatric program and provides patients with counseling and additional support services as they progress through the program. Devin enjoys spending time with her family at the beach, video games, hiking, and other outdoor activities during the summer.
Chelsea Hardy, MS, RD, LDChelsea is a Clinical Dietitian, specializing in bariatric and oncology nutrition. Chelsea completed her undergraduate studies in Dietetics at the University of Wisconsin – Stout. She went on to pursue a Master of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Maine, while completing her dietetic internship. Chelsea brings over 5 years of experience in educating and motivating patients to achieve their nutrition, lifestyle and weight management goals. Outside of the hospital, Chelsea enjoys synchronized skating, downhill skiing, cooking and spending time enjoying the beautiful Maine outdoors.
Kaitlyn Waldron, Athletic TrainerKaitlyn Waldron is an Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist at the Sports Performance Center in Sanford. She provides support, guidance and training to establish a foundation of exercise and movement to help patients maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Kate also works one-on-one with patients pre and post op for the Weight Loss Surgery and Weight Management Program at Southern Maine Health Care.
Why choose SMHC for surgical weight loss?
- We are an MBSAQIP Accredited Center. We adhere to national standards set forth by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
- We are a highly-experienced team. We have performed bariatric surgery for more than 35 years and laparoscopic bariatric surgery for more than 15 years.
- We offer personal, patient-focused care. We provide compassionate, respectful care that focuses on the whole person. Patients say our team feels like a supportive family.
- We offer comprehensive support services. Patients are encouraged to participate in support groups as well as nutrition and behavioral health counseling before and after their surgery.
Is weight loss surgery effective?
Over 64 percent of American adults are overweight and roughly 15 million are obese. Over 300,000 Americans die each year as a result of obesity-related health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and coronary artery disease.
Morbid obesity is defined as weighing more than 100 pounds over your ideal body weight for your height. For someone who is morbidly obese, weight loss surgery is the only treatment proven to result in long-term weight loss and the improvement or reversal or obesity-related health conditions.
People who choose weight loss surgery usually lose 50-70% of their excess body weight within two to five years of the procedure. Typically, obesity related illnesses such as diabetes and sleep apnea gradually start to resolve. In fact, many patients with Type 2 diabetes find that their blood sugars levels improve almost immediately after surgery and become completely normal within a year of surgery. Other improvements include
- Significant sustained weight loss
- Blood-sugar levels for patients with Type 2 diabetes that improve almost immediately and become completely normal within a year of surgery
- Lower blood pressure and total cholesterol
- Relief from sleep apnea and acid reflux
- Less osteoarthritis pain and improved mobility
- Improved mood and self-esteem
- Relief from urinary stress incontinence
- Decreased lower back pain
All surgical procedures have risks. Your surgeon will discuss potential risks with you in detail prior to your surgery date.
- Pulmonologist (who will evaluate for sleep apnea)
- Labs and diagnostics
- Support group attendance (Ongoing support group attendance is highly recommended, preferably with your support person. At a minimum, attendance a two support group meetings is mandatory before we proceed with the surgery.)
- Ongoing communication with your primary care physician regarding your interest in weight loss surgery
- Physical therapy evaluation may be recommended to assess your exercise pattern
- Initial consult with the surgeon once the above has been achieved
- Psychological evaluation
- Bariatric team discussion
Some insurers consider weight loss surgery to be an elective procedure. Therefore, we must obtain insurance approval prior to scheduling your surgery. It is important to call your insurance company to make sure that you have bariatric benefits in your plan. Your insurer may ask you for the CPT code for the procedure. Please chose from the list below, depending on the type of weight loss surgery you intend to have.
- Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: CPT CODE 43644
- Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy: CPT CODE 43775
While many of the costs incurred during the evaluation process will be covered by your insurance, some charges may become your responsibility. Due to program certification criteria, we are unable to accept patients who use Medicare as either their primary or secondary insurer.
If you qualify medically for surgery, the surgeon’s office will ask your insurer for pre-authorization of coverage for the procedure. Once we have received notification of pre-authorization from your insurer, a date for the operation will be scheduled. Once the surgery has been scheduled, you will be asked to come into the office about a week before the procedure to obtain informed consent.
We will work with you and your insurance to make sure that you meet their requirements. Some of these requirements are:
- History of failed weight loss attempts (such as physician-supervised weight loss, participation in commercial weight loss programs)
- Letter of medical necessity from your primary care physician
- Psychological evaluation (to make sure you have a clear understanding of how the surgery will impact your life and that you are committed to making permanent lifestyle changes)
- Nutrition evaluation (to identify dietary changes and habits that need to be changed in order to ensure a successful transition after weight loss surgery)