Texas has one of the highest rates of obesity in the country, with more than 30 percent of adults classified as obese. For many of those individuals, carrying unwanted pounds also leads to major health risks.

 “Being significantly overweight can create a wide range of issues that are extremely serious, including heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and more,” says Kyle Stephens, M.D., a board-certified surgeon with Houston Methodist St. John Hospital. “Fortunately, we have a number of proven surgical techniques that can provide long-term benefits to patients who have struggled to lose weight in the past.”

Weight loss surgery – also known as bariatric surgery – most commonly involves procedures that reduce the size of the stomach to help patients feel full more quickly when they eat and consequently, eat less. Studies show that these surgeries help patients lose weight and keep it off, often reversing the dangerous impacts of obesity. For example, patients who undergo weight loss surgery can have their risk of diabetes reduced by as much as 80 percent and the risk of obesity-related cancers by 25 to 30 percent.

“At Houston Methodist St. John, we use minimally invasive surgical techniques to perform gastric sleeve and gastric bypass procedures, which allow us to reach the stomach through tiny holes in the skin rather than through a major incision,” says Stephens. “That means the patient has less pain after surgery, is able to leave the hospital more quickly and recovers faster.”

A patient is considered obese when he or she has a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. BMI is a measure of body fat calculated using an individual’s height and body weight. In Texas, the rate of obesity has risen dramatically since 1990, when just 10 percent of residents had a BMI above 30.

“As obesity rates have soared, we’ve seen a corresponding increase in the number of patients with obesity-related diseases,” says Stephens. “Of course, many people struggle with diets or programs that either don’t work, or don’t last.  Weight loss surgery makes it possible for patients to lose weight safely and effectively, and keep it off. And our support group here at Houston Methodist St. John, which meets monthly, provides ongoing information and assistance to help patients maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Are you or a loved one a candidate for bariatric surgery at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital?  Dr. Stephens is offering a number of free information sessions to discuss the various surgical options and answer questions about recovery. Information sessions are offered every two weeks, year round.

All sessions will be held in the Administration Boardroom at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital. The events are free but registration at www.houstonmethodist.org/events is required. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Stephens, call 281.333.1703.

To find a Houston Methodist St. John Hospital physician, visit www.houstonmethodist.org/stjohn or call 281.333.8899.