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Surgical Weight Loss – Patient Care and Treatment

Surgical Weight Loss – Patient Care and Treatment

The surgical weight loss team focuses on weight-loss surgery – sometimes called stomach stapling or bariatric surgery – for patients with clinically severe obesity.

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To schedule an appointment or to get more information, please call



Severe obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 40 is associated with a 6- to 12-fold increase in overall mortality, when compared with non-obese individuals.

Modifications in diet, behavior, exercise and medical weight loss regimens should be the initial approach to weight management. However, these approaches don’t always work for everyone over the long-term.

Surgical treatment of obesity (bariatric surgery) may be considered when the risk of obesity related medical problems exceeds the risk of complications related to surgical intervention.

The goal of the bariatric surgery program is to give you the tools to maintain the weight loss achieved after surgery. While the amount of weight loss varies, most people lose up to a third of their body weight. Weight loss is most rapid for the first 6 months, then slowly plateaus approximately 18 to 24 months after surgery. Most patients experience significant improvement or resolution of weight-related medical problems following bariatric surgery.

Contact information

Penn State Surgical Weight Loss
3100 Schoolhouse Road
Suite 100
Middletown, PA 17057

Getting started

It’s easy to get started with the surgical weight loss program. 

  • First, attend an information seminar. Please call 717-531-7260 to register. At the seminar you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions of our bariatric surgeon, and we’ll give you all the forms you’ll need.
  • Print and complete the patient screening form (PDF) and mail or fax it to our office at 717-531-0806.
  • Have your primary care physician complete the physician history form (PDF), order blood work and provide 6 months of office progress notes. Mail or fax the information to our office. (Please call the Surgical Weight Loss office to confirm receipt.)
  • The team will review the information, and contact you within a week about candidacy for weight-loss surgery.

Gastric bypass

Penn State Surgical Weight Loss has been performing the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass for over 30 years. It is considered the gold standard in bariatric surgery.

Gastric bypass works by restricting food intake and decreasing the absorption of food calories. Food intake is limited by creating a small stomach pouch that is about the size of an egg. Additionally, food absorption is reduced by “bypassing” part of the digestive tract.

At Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, almost all gastric bypasses can be performed laparoscopically, using five small incisions rather than one large incision. Laparoscopic gastric bypass patients usually have less pain, quicker recoveries and fewer complications. Not all patients are suitable for laparoscopy. Patients who are super-morbidly obese, who have had previous abdominal surgery or who have complicated medical problems may require a traditional abdominal incision.

After gastric bypass, patients can expect to lose on average about 60 to 80 percent of their excess body weight.

Having gastric bypass surgery does not guarantee weight loss. This surgery is not effective without behavior modification and nutritional counseling. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of gastric bypass patients can regain weight, usually due to the return of bad eating habits.

Sleeve gastrectomy

The sleeve gastrectomy is now the most common operation for weight loss in the world.  It has been performed at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for over eight years. In this operation, a narrow tube of stomach is created, making the stomach about the size of a small banana. The larger, stretchy part of the stomach is completely removed. This operation is done laparoscopically, through small incisions. The advantages to this procedure are that it is usually a quicker operation than the bypass and does not involve any rearrangement of the intestines. In addition, patients feel less hunger after this operation.

Weight loss results with the sleeve and improvement of weight-related medical problems are very similar between the sleeve and the gastric bypass. 

Revisional surgery

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center bariatric surgeons also perform revisional bariatric surgery.

If you had your bariatric surgery at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center or have relocated from out-of-state and are problems like weight re-gain, vomiting or abdominal pain, please call 717-531-7260 and speak with the program coordinator.

For those who had bariatric surgery done locally (Harrisburg, York, Lancaster or Reading), please call the original bariatric surgeon for a consultation. We traditionally do not see patients who’ve had their surgeries done locally and whose surgeons are still in practice.

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