Overview

A complex issue

Obesity is a complicated, progressive disease caused by a wide variety of factors. It is the No. 1 public health crisis in the United States. Millions of Americans are currently obese or overweight, and the number is projected to grow.

The disease is associated with numerous health conditions, including diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, liver disease and joint problems, and is life-threatening. Our Medical and Surgical Weight Management Program is here to help with surgical and nonsurgical options.

Successfully achieving and maintaining weight loss requires preparation, commitment and dedication to lifelong diet and behavior changes. Whether you are on the medical or surgical path, you will have a full team of experts behind you. Our team of surgeons and obesity medicine doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners, psychologists, nutritionists and support staff is here to guide you through every step of the process. They will develop a long-term plan for a healthier weight and a happier you.

Treatments

We’ll find the right treatment to help you succeed

When you’re thinking about losing weight, there are many options to help you achieve your goals. Our program is comprehensive, so we offer medical options (medications, lifestyle changes, and other strategies) in addition to non-invasive procedures and surgery options.

Non-invasive procedures and surgery options

Our surgical weight loss program is accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) as a Comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Center. Learn more about what this means

Many have found diets or medications unsuccessful, regaining most, if not all the weight lost. Many people are choosing a surgical solution to weight loss to achieve improved health and quality of life. Bariatric surgery is known to be the most effective and longest-lasting treatment for severe obesity and many related conditions and can help patients for life.

We currently offer three different procedures for weight loss: Roux-en-Y (gastric bypass) surgery, sleeve gastrectomy and endoscopy sleeve gastroplasty. We also offer revisional surgery. Learn more about each procedure below. All our surgical procedures are done using minimally invasive laparoscopic and endoscopic techniques. These techniques use advanced technology for safer, less painful surgery.

Learn more about our surgical program with these introductory videos from our team

Surgery options

During this procedure, the upper portion of your stomach is isolated as a small, 1- to 2-ounce “pouch.” A segment of your small intestine is then attached to this pouch. Food bypasses most of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. The procedure helps you lose weight through caloric restriction, as the small pouch can only hold two to four tablespoons at a time and changes the absorption of nutrients.

In this procedure, a large portion of the stomach is removed, leaving a narrow, tube-shaped pouch with a capacity of approximately three to four ounces. The intestines are not bypassed. The sleeve is primarily a restrictive procedure, allowing you to lose weight by limiting the intake of food and calories, in addition to a change in the ability to absorb some nutrients.

In this newer procedure, a gastroenterologist runs a suturing device down your throat and into your stomach and places sutures to make it smaller. The procedure recreates a surgical sleeve gastrectomy without the need for surgery.

Watch: Learn more about ESG from Dr. Andrew Spiel

Our bariatric surgeons offer consultations to patients who have had weight loss surgery in the past and may require a revision or repair due to unresolved co-morbidities or medical complications. Please call the clinic at (608) 265-7090 to learn more about our revisional surgery consultations. Note: Testing is required prior to consultation to determine if revisional surgery is a viable option.

We're here to help you succeed
If you are unsure where to start, or what kind of help you are looking for, our online onboarding program can help you decide what is right for you.

Medical weight loss

Building new habits is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle long-term. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help with a variety of health conditions as well as improve your quality of life. This can be done by focusing on small but important changes in your nutrition and activity.

Our Medical Weight Management team will help you develop a plan using a combination of tactics that may include:

  • Carbohydrate restriction to promote a low-calorie lifestyle

  • Intermittent fasting

  • Weight-loss medications (prescribed by your primary care provider)

  • Promoting proteins and healthy fats

  • Mindful eating

  • Body-friendly exercises

We work with any food allergies, intolerances, or special diets you may follow, including gluten-free, FODMAPS, vegetarian or vegan.

Programs

Lifestyle change programming

Lifestyle Change programming supports a Health At Every Size approach that helps patients maintain a healthier lifestyle in terms of nutrition, activity, sleep, and well-being.

Lead by: UW Lifestyle Change Coach and/or registered dietitian.

Material: Prevent T2 (CDC program to prevent Type 2 diabetes)

Commitment:

  • Weekly for the first 3 months

  • Every-other-week for the following 2 months

  • Monthly for the final 6 months of the program

The research study on this program showed that it helped patients lose 5-7% of their body weight.

Learn more about the program

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Take the first step

Meet our team

Leading providers guide your care

The surgeons and doctors who head our program are leaders in the field. They’re up to date on the latest surgical techniques and tuned to your needs.

Others who may support you in this major life change include:

  • Health psychologists

  • Nurse practitioners/physician assistants

  • Program/clinical managers

  • Program/medical assistants

  • Registered dietitians

  • Registered nurses

  • Patient scheduling coordinators

Patient support and services

Tools to get you ready and help you thrive

There’s a lot you can do to increase your odds of success before, during and after treatment. We offer several resources to help.

Medical weight loss support group

Weight loss efforts can be confusing and lonely, but it can help to have others to talk to for ideas, encouragement and support. We have a support group for those who are part of our metabolic, non-surgical weight loss program and who are looking for extra support for their lower carbohydrate lifestyle.

Meeting details

  • Price: free

  • Meeting time: Noon–1 p.m.

2024 dates
  • Feb. 1

  • April 4

  • June 6

  • Aug. 1

  • Oct. 3

  • Dec. 5

We will begin with a small presentation or review of a weight loss-related topic, with the rest of the time devoted to interacting with other patients and members of the weight management team.

Surgical weight loss support group

Education and the support of others who know what you’re going through can be a source of inspiration, motivation and hope. Our free monthly support group provides all of this. The group is for people who have had weight loss surgery or nonsurgical therapy and those who are considering these treatments.

We begin with a 30-minute interactive presentation on weight management topics. The remaining 60 minutes are dedicated to interacting with and gaining support from patients and professionals who are involved or interested in our surgical weight management program.

Meeting details

  • Price: free

  • Meeting time: 5 p.m. (unless noted)

2024 dates and topics

Date: Feb. 12
Topic: Supplements and general nutrition discussion
Presenter: Alyce Miller, RDN
Location: East Madison Hospital, Room 1660

Date: April 8
Topic: “Book Club” discussion/highlights of Words to Eat By by Karen R. Koenig
Presenter: Michelle LeRoy Hatheway, PhD
Location: East Madison Hospital, Room 1660

Date: June 10
Topic: Grilling
Presenter: Wendy Hahn, RDN
Location: East Madison Hospital Learning Kitchen, Room 1900

Date: Aug. 12
Topic: Open forum
Presenter: Lisa Nackers-Schmidt, PhD, MPH
Location: East Madison Hospital, Room 1660

Date: Oct. 14
Topic: Insurance
Presenter: Dawn Gogert
Location: TBD

Date: Dec. 9
Topic: Health psychology discussion
Presenter: Kim Fleischmann, PhD
Location: East Madison Hospital, Room 1660

Frequently asked questions

The following information is intended to help answer common questions about our medical weight loss program and the surgical and non-invasive procedures we offer.

Medical weight loss informational videos

Living the low carbohydrate lifestyle

Medical weight loss FAQ

  • We focus on a low carbohydrate, low sugar approach to weight management.

  • We focus not just on weight loss, but non-scale victories as well, looking at improvements in overall health.

  • We look at many influences on weight: sleep, stress, emotional or mindless eating and physical activity, and will help connect you to other resources or referrals you may need in addition to our program.

Call your insurance company to ask about coverage, as each company determines what they cover.

  • We work with your primary care provider to determine your best options for medications and they will prescribe them as appropriate.

  • Weight-loss medications are optional and may not be appropriate for everyone.

  • There are several weight-loss medications that are available. If you are interested in them, we will review your medical history to see if/which medication is appropriate.

  • Weight-loss medications are only a small part of our program, and members must complete all required appointments (with doctors, dietitians, physician’s assistant, etc.) to continue with their prescriptions.

  • Insurance coverage of medications can require a “prior authorization,” which can take up to three weeks.

Surgery and non-invasive procedures FAQ

Please note that coverage varies widely, each employer may purchase a different plan and the information below may not apply to your individual plan.

Please call your insurer or employer's benefits department for the most current and accurate information regarding coverage and requirements of your plan.

If your insurance or employer changes at any time, please let us know as soon as possible as this can impact your coverage.

We recommend that you call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card and ask if bariatric surgery is a covered benefit, and if there are any specific requirements for the surgery to be covered.

It is important to understand your financial responsibilities before you begin this journey, so ask lots of questions!

Do you:

  • Have significant health issues that would improve with weight loss?

  • Have a BMI of 35 or more with weight-related comorbidities?

  • Have a BMI of 40 or more without weight-related comorbidities?

Note that individual insurance plans may have specific requirements for bariatric surgery coverage not included above.

If you are an adult 18 years or older and answered YES to any of the above questions AND are a non-smoker (you must be tobacco- and nicotine-free for at least three months prior to pre-surgery education) then you are likely a good fit for bariatric weight loss surgery.

If you do not meet the requirements of bariatric weight loss surgery, we also offer non-surgical (metabolic) weight management options.

The program pathway is a minimum of five consecutive monthly visits (all required), which include group and individual appointments.

Our surgeons offer the sleeve gastrectomy and the Roux-en-Y bypass procedures as well as endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty.

Yes, our surgeons also perform revisional surgery if medically indicated for people who have had previous weight loss surgery.

Our program is designed for adults 18 year and older. For information about pediatric weight loss, please contact UW Health’s Pediatric Fitness Clinic.

A person standing on a treadmill at a gym
Take the first step

Patient stories

Patients share their success stories

Everyone has their own weight loss story. But learning what others have experienced may help you better know what to expect for yourself.

Surgical weight loss stories
Medical weight loss stories
Lisa Veldran
Lisa learns it's never too late to learn
"I wish I knew 30 years ago what I have learned in this program,” said Madison's Lisa Veldran, who's lost 50 pounds after decades of weight losses and gains.

Location

Where to find us