News, Updates, and Events at Hope Bariatrics

Center of Excellence Re Certification

March, 2010

Hope Bariatrics, Geoffrey Wilcox, M.D., Michael Felix, M.D. and Heritage Valley Sewickley recently received their recertification with  the American Society for Metabolic Bariatric Surgery.   The ASMBS  Center of Excellence designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes in bariatric surgery and a long term post-surgery follow up program.

The Hope Bariatrics’ surgery program and Heritage Valley Sewickley was recertified after a thorough documentation review of outcomes data and a site visit in which all aspects of the surgical program were closely evaluated. The ASMBS review assessed the program’s ability to help patients cope with the significant emotional and lifestyle changes through a multi-tiered approach that includes nutritional, psychological, and educational support. The surgeons’ skills and the quality of the hospital in which the bariatric procedures are performed are also assessed.

“Heritage Valley Sewickley’s role in providing a state-of-the-art facility for bariatric surgery and post-surgical care is reflected through this Center of Excellence recertification,” said Norm Mitry, president and chief executive officer for Heritage Valley Health System. “The experience and expertise of the bariatric care team including physicians and staff involved in caring for our bariatric patients is evident through the excellent outcomes experienced by bariatric patients.”

“This designation is an indicator of the excellent level of care we provide to our patients, beginning with the pre-operative information seminar and office visits, to the surgery and hospital stay, and through the extensive post-operative follow-up process,” said Dr. 

Newsletter (Summer 2009)

Download our Summer 2009 Newsletter

Benefits of Gastric bypass surgery

Dr. Oz discusses the benefits of Gastric bypass surgery. Dr. Oz says “Gastric bypass surgery can help you lose weight, prevent heart disease and cancer, and reverse your type 2 diabetes virtually overnight – yet only 1% of eligible patients elect to go under the knife.

Hear more from Dr. Oz and watch the full episode online

Nutrition Update

Bone Health: New Studies indicate an even greater than expected risk for osteoporosis after bariatric surgeries.  Both gastric bypass and lap band patients had higher incidence of bone loss.

Read your dosage and labeling carefully for all supplements, especially calcium products.  All bariatric patients need the following to maintain good bone health: 1500-1800 mg calcium citrate or calcium lactate-gluconate daily.  (Do NOT use calcium carbonate products.)  Take in divided doses of 600 mg or less.  Plus two servings of low fat milk or yogurt daily.

2000 IU (International units) of D-3 daily or the equivalent per week such as 5000 IU D-3 per week.  It is fat soluble and does store in the body, so you do not need to take it daily to be effective.  Vitamin D is necessary for the proper absorption of calcium along with reducing the risk of numerous co-morbidities such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.  Examine your vitamins and calcium supplements carefully to determine the amount you are already taking and then supplement accordingly.  We screen in the scheduled blood work for vitamin D.  We see a great deal of deficiencies of Vitamin D, so please review your intake.

Call the office with any questions.

Emotional Eating

Carol Crawford, LPC, NCC, Psychotherapist/Counselor, recent guest speaker at our support group is offering sessions for emotional eating.  There is a fee for this service and you can get details by calling 412-749-1747.  Don’t sabotage your hard work………get help!!


We all know the importance of this component.  If you’re having difficulty starting a program or keeping one, call Signature Rehab.  If you were at our support group when Chad Vorderbreggen spoke and shared his expertise, you may have been motivated to incorporate exercise in your weight loss journey.  Call Chad and let him help you get started.  He’s informative, enthusiastic and motivating.   Now get going!!! Call 412-749-7178 for details of the program Hope Bariatrics and Signature Rehab share with your good health in mind.

Insurance Considerations

For those who are researching bariatric surgery or those already in our program, remember these important lifestyle changes insurance companies are looking for to approve your surgery.   DO NOT GAIN WEIGHT on your 3 or 6 month diet visits with your PCP or your surgery may be denied by the insurance company.  Also, they are looking for changes in your eating habits and that you’re making good food choices.  Use this phase to begin your healthy, successful weight loss journey.  Please call the office with any questions. 

Pre-Surgery Classes

If you’re planning to attend a pre-surgery nutrition class review, please call the office to verify time and date prior to attending. 

Numbers don't lie. Waist size 62 down to a 38 (and almost into a 36). Shirt size 5-6x down to a XXL. I've lost 208 pounds in less than a year. Had someone told me this last summer when I was 470 pounds and struggled to put shoes on, I would have laughed in your face.

I had tried every diet under the sun. Every one of them. Not a single one of them proved successful. I tried exercising. I tried everything. I was spiraling out of control. My portions were enormous. A Double-quarter pounder sandwich, TWO large fries, and TWO double cheeseburgers and a large Coke were the norm on a trip to McDonald's. A DiGiorno's pizza with a bag of shredded cheese on top was a meal, not to mention snacking while it was cooking.

To even think of those portions or that type of food today, however, makes me absolutely disgusted. Not only can I not eat that food, I won't.

In 2007, I had enough. As a truck driver, I was encountering trucks that I could not fit into. I was at the lowest point I had ever been. I kicked smoking in 2006, I quit dipping snuff in 2007, and quit sugar and carbonated drinks in 2008. In 2008, I was up to 12-24 cans of diet pop per day.

Something had to give. I made the decision that, after years of trying (and a lot of failing) I could not lose the weight on my own. I contacted Hope Bariatrics, desperate and scared. I figured if I could give up my addiction to caffeine, sugar, and fatty foods, I could do it for a lifetime. Enough was enough; there were people who weighed LESS than I did who died of a heart attack! The thought of my wife having to put me in a supersized coffin or being removed from my house by a crane was NOT what I wanted my final memory to be. What did I have to lose? Everything else failed, and I must admit I was a tad scared this may fail too. I had my share of advice from people and know-it-alls...Many people may say that surgery is the "easy" way out. Those are the same people who don't struggle with weight!

After the hoop jumping process my insurance company requires, I was scheduled for surgery. I was eating low fat foods, but still big portions. I was drinking 1-2 gallons of water a day. Every day. August 12, 2008 was the moment God and Dr. Felix and his staff gave me a new life. They enabled me to start over. Dr. Felix was my personal miracle worker. I literally owe my life to Dr. Felix and the Hope Bariatrics staff. EVERYONE at Hope Bariatrics treated me like gold from day one. I didn't get the "MY God he's huge" stares from anyone on the staff. No one talked down to me. No one made me feel bad about being 30 pounds shy of 500 pounds. Cindy is just as nice to me at 260 pounds as she was when I was 470. I love the staff!!! I can't say enough good things about them!!!

At almost one year post-op, I am often asked if I would do it again. Yes. Without hesitation I would. I went from 470 pounds to 260 pounds in less than a year. It is a lifelong commitment. Even at a year out, I am often asked if I miss junk food like pizza and McDonald's. Simply, no. I don't. The smell of McDonald's nauseates me now (seriously). Do I miss the all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants? No. Do I miss the pop? The tobacco? The caffeine? No. Not at all. I still am able to eat the good things, just in small quantities. There is a wonderful variety of no sugar added or sugar free "sweets" I had never noticed before while buying Oreos and sugared ice cream.....As for fast and processed foods? No way. I don't eat them. If I can succeed, anyone can!

Thank you to everyone at Hope Bariatrics for giving me my life back. With all of my heart, thank you all so much for everything.

- Bill

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