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Mercy Bariatric Surgery

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Diets, pills and exercise are not effective for 98% of those patients classified as morbidly obese, which is defined as being 100 pounds over one’s ideal weight and causing such health problems as heart disease, diabetes and depression. According to the National Institutes of Health, bariatric surgery is the only long-term effective treatment for morbid obesity.

Bariatric Support Group

We provide ongoing support with our Bariatrics Support Group -- View Event Schedule


Mercy Bariatric Surgery 

Mercy Bariatric Surgery approaches weight loss by surrounding its patients with a medical and support team. Patients meet with physicians, dietitians and behaviorists, among other health care specialists, who help evaluate co-morbidities (illnesses or conditions associated with obesity) such as hypertension, heart disease, pulmonary disease, sleep apnea and diabetes. Our bariatric surgery procedures are performed at Mercy Medical Center–West Lakes, an MBSAQIP Accredited – Comprehensive Center, located in West Des Moines.

Mercy offers three minimally-invasive bariatric surgery procedures:

Mercy Surgical Affiliates surgeon, Dr. Mark Smolik is a highly experienced and advanced minimally-invasive (laparoscopic) surgeon. He performs over 99 percent of the bariatric surgeries using this minimally-invasive technique, the benefits of which include:

  • less scarring;
  • shorter hospital stays;
  • less blood loss;
  • less risk of infection.

Kara Thompson, D.O., works closely with Dr. Smolik to provide comprehensive post-operative care for our surgical patients. 

Do I qualify for bariatric surgery?

Candidates for bariatric surgery include individuals:

  • With a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40, or those with BMIs of 35-39 with co-morbid disease. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women. This easy to use chart will help you find your BMI.
  • That are at least 100 pounds above ideal weight with a history of obesity and documented weight loss efforts provided by health care professionals.

Ready to start your journey?

Benefits & Risks

Surgery Benefits

The benefits of bariatric surgery begin shortly after the procedure. In most cases, these certain health problems can be greatly improved, or will entirely resolve, with successful weight loss.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Significant sustained weight loss
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Improved blood-sugar levels for patients with Type II diabetes within a few days
  • Fewer and less severe asthma attacks
  • Improved exercise tolerance and breathing ability
  • Relief of sleep apnea and acid reflux
  • Relief of pain and disability from osteoarthritis and low back pain

Surgery Risks

No surgical procedure is without risks. In addition to the risks associated with any major abdominal surgery. Patients that are severely obese increases risks to a higher level. The risks of bariatric surgery mainly come from possible complications of surgery.

Some risks include:

  • Lung problems
  • Wound infection
  • Dumping syndrome – caused by stomach contents moving too rapidly through the small intestine
  • Bleeding or blood clots
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Leakage of bowel connection
  • Obstruction of the stomach outlet
  • Chronic nutritional problems
  • Vomiting
  • Food intolerance
  • Changed bowel habits
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Death

Make sure you discuss both the risks and benefits with your surgeon. Mercy Weight Loss & Nutrition Center is also available for guidance. Contact Mercy Weight Loss & Nutrition Center by calling (515) 358-9400, or email mercyweightcenter@mercydesmoines.org.

Bariatric Surgery Insurance

Coverage by insurance companies vary—some insurance companies will cover the charges associated with the surgery and the hospital stay, as well as the surgeon’s and anesthesiologist’s fees. Unless you are paying cash for this elective procedure, you must have a prior authorization from your insurance company before scheduling your surgery.

Mercy Weight Loss & Nutrition Center staff will work directly with you and your health insurance carrier to obtain the maximum coverage for your procedure.

If you do not have insurance coverage, a self-pay option is available. Contact Mercy Weight Loss & Nutrition Center by calling (515) 358-9400, or email mercyweightcenter@mercydesmoines.org for more details.

The pre-surgical assessments as well as the post-surgical education and support sessions are typically an out-of-pocket expense.

Bariatric Surgery Forms

(515) 247-3121
1111 6th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50314

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