Harlingen Medical Center
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Surgical Weight-Loss Program

surgical weight loss, alvarado, gastric bypass, lap band, ellner

If you or someone you know is struggling with severe obesity (a BMI of 35 or more) and suffering from related health conditions, the Alvarado Surgical Weight-Loss Program can help. In February 2011, the FDA lowered the weight requirements for patients seeking Lap-Band surgery. Now, the gastric-banding device is approved for use on patients that are generally more than 50 pounds overweight, which is approximately 30% of the U.S. adult population.

A patient with a body mass index of 30-40 with at least one life-threatening health condition is now eligible. Before the FDA approval, an acceptable patient needed to have a body mass index of 40 or above to be considered for the surgery.

At Alvarado Hospital, the following procedures are offered:

Gastric Banding: Gastric banding (also referred to as Lap-Band) is one of the least invasive treatments for morbid obesity. It induces weight loss by reducing the capacity of the stomach, which restricts the amount of food that can be comfortably consumed. During the procedure, surgeons use laparoscopic techniques (using small incisions and long-shafted instruments) to implant an inflatable silicone band into the patient’s abdomen. Like a wristwatch, the band is fastened around the upper stomach to create a new, tiny stomach pouch that limits and controls the amount of food you eat. It also creates a small outlet that slows the emptying process into the residual stomach and intestines. As a result, patients experience an earlier sensation of fullness, making it easier for patients to lose weight by consuming less food. To attend a free upcoming seminar on gastric banding, click here.


Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Roux-en-Y: This minimally invasive surgical procedure is considered to be the most advanced and most successful procedure for weight-loss surgery. It is the most frequently performed U.S. weight-loss procedure. In this procedure, a small stomach pouch is created. The remainder of the stomach is not removed, but is completely divided from the smaller stomach pouch. The outlet from this newly formed stomach pouch is then connected directly to the jejunum, the first part of the small intestine where digestion takes place. To attend a free upcoming seminar on gastric bypass, click here.

For more information on revision surgical weight-loss procedures, click here.


Selecting a Bariatric Program

Beforeyou choose a surgical weight-loss program, be sure to consider the following:

  • Multidisciplinary program
  • Dedicated surgeons, nursing and hospital unit
  • Training for ancillary personnel
  • Comprehensive follow-up care program
  • Support groups/counseling
  • Check the surgeon’s statistics—complication rate, mortality rate, etc.
  • Talk to other patients in support groups, through friends and on the Internet
  • Recognized by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program

Alvarado Hospital's Surgical Weight-Loss Program has been recognized by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. This designation is recognized by many insurance companies for weight-loss surgery as it meets the highest standards of quality and safety. To earn a Center of Excellence designation, the Surgical Weight-Loss Program underwent a series of site inspections during which all aspects of the program’s surgical processes were closely examined and data on health outcomes was collected.


Questions to Ask a Bariatric Surgeon

When choosing a bariatric surgeon, be sure to ask the following questions:

  • How many years in bariatric practice?
  • How many bariatric cases performed?
  • Is the surgeon fully trained and dedicated to bariatric surgery?
  • Complication rate?
  • Mortality rate?
  • Average weight loss?
  • Maintenance of weight loss?

Physician Referral Questions to Ask a Bariatric Surgeon

Alvarado’s Physician Referral Service can help you find an experienced bariatric surgeon who meets your needs. To find a bariatric surgeon, simply click on the Physician Finder or call 1-800-ALVARADO (1-800-258-2723) and allow one of our friendly customer service representatives to assist you.

You may also call our bariatric coordinator at 619-229-3340. Additional information regarding our bariatric services also is available.

Join the Alvarado Advantage Club

If you will be an Alvarado Hospital patient or visitor, you are invited to join the free Alvarado Advantage Club. Members receive a variety of benefits, including VIP parking and priority for a private room when available; 10% discount at the Alvarado Gift Shop, Cafe and Gourmet Coffee Cart; 10% discount at the Alvarado Medical Plaza Pharmacy; first notification of special events and classes; hotel discounts and much, much more! To learn more or to register online, click here. To register through one of our customer service representatives, call 800-258-2723


Alvarado Hospital Medical Center