Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery for Weight Loss

at Adirondack Medical Center

Phone: 518-897-2531

What is bariatric surgery?

Fad diets and exercise don't always work. If you are morbidly obese, or more than 100 pounds over your ideal body weight, surgery may be the best answer.

Surgery for the treatment of morbid obesity has been performed for over 20 years with continued improvements and refinements of surgical techniques. This has resulted in fewer complications and side effects.

Between 70 to 80 percent of patients having surgery for obesity can expect long-term weight loss if they follow all the postoperative guidelines. Patients can also expect to either eliminate or reduce the severity of most of their health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and joint pain. For almost all patients who succeed at losing weight after bariatric surgery, lifestyle improves along with self-esteem and many people resume a very active life.

Types of weight loss surgery

There are four types of weight loss surgery, all performed laparoscopically at Adirondack Medical Center.

You and your surgeon will determine which is right for you:

  1. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
  2. Duodenal switch
  3. Sleeve gastrectomy
  4. Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (the lap band)


Gastric bypass and the duodenal switch reduce the size of the stomach, making you feel full more quickly. The procedures also bypass a segment of the intestine, meaning not all food eaten will be absorbed.

The sleeve gastrectomy reduces the size of your stomach, but does not bypass the intestine.

The lap-band is a less-invasive weight loss surgical procedure that reduces the stomach's capacity and restricts the amount of food that can be consumed at one time. The procedure does not require surgical reduction of the stomach, stapling or gastrointestinal re-routing to bypass normal digestion.

Patient education

Weight loss surgery is a life-long commitment, and you should research all of your options thoroughly.

Dr. Michael Hill

Dr. Michael Hill and the bariatric program at Adirondack Medical Center have been designated an MBSAQIP Accredited - Comprehensive Center. Free information sessions led by Dr. Hill are offered for those considering weight loss surgery. To register for an information session, call 518-897-2531. If you are unable to attend a session due to weather or illness, you can view a recording of Dr. Hill's presentation.

To assist you in your research, below are links to several procedures for a more detailed description and what you can expect:

Roux-en Y Gastric Bypass

Duodenal Switch

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding (Lap-Band)

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

Lap-Band Risks

Frequently asked questions

Patient education is the single most important factor in ensuring a positive outcome. All patients are strongly encouraged to participate in education and support groups with our physicians, nurses and nutritionists.

How do I get into the bariatric surgery program?

At the conclusion of an information session, you have the option of signing up for a one-hour initial office visit where you will receive a comprehensive physical examination and assessment from a member of our team. Please call 518-897-2531 if you would like to learn more.

What happens after I go to my first office visit?

The program staff performs a comprehensive assessment of your health prior to the surgery. You will be scheduled for a series of evaluation appointments. Some of the appointments include:

  • A history and physical with an office provider
  • A mental health screening
  • A dietary evaluation
  • A physical therapy evaluation
  • Behavior, nutrition and pre-operative classes
  • Also, you will be given a list of blood tests and possibly other tests such as a sleep study, x-rays, a pulmonary function test among others that need to be completed before surgery. The amount of testing to be done will be determined at your first office visit.

Will insurance cover weight loss surgery?

Most insurance companies do provide coverage for weight loss surgery. However, each insurance company has its own policy regarding this. If you decide to go ahead with surgery, the first thing that we ask our patients to do is to determine if their insurance company covers weight loss surgery. Other questions to ask your insurance company:

Is surgery covered at Adirondack Medical Center? Is Dr. Michael Hill among the network of providers in my insurance plan? Is a dietary consultation a covered service?

During your time in the program, you should contact your insurance company to determine if certain diagnostic testing is covered. Please be familiar with your policy and provide us with the referral forms and other information necessary.

Are there special instructions for the weeks and months before my surgery?

Yes. If you are a smoker, you will need to quit smoking for eight weeks before surgery. Your urine will be checked before surgery to ensure that you have quit smoking. Please keep in mind, if you don't follow this advice, your surgery will be canceled. Smoking increases the risk of complications, and smokers run the risk of needing ventilator support in the intensive care unit following surgery. There is also an increased risk of ulcers if you smoke after surgery. If you're having trouble quitting, let us know so we can help.

Patients who take aspirin or special non-steroidal drugs for arthritis or joint pain must stop one week before surgery. These medications interfere with blood clotting and patients can bleed heavily after surgery. Likewise, many effects of herbal medications are unknown and it is recommended these be stopped three weeks prior to surgery, especially St. John's Wort, gingko biloba and ginseng.

Exercise is an excellent idea before surgery. It helps you prevent complications after your operation. Walking is the best form of exercise. We know how hard exercise is for people who suffer from obesity. Give yourself realistic goals. For example, for someone who is not currently active, it is reasonable to work up to walking a total of a mile over the course of a month. Just start! If you are severely limited, we can provide a physical therapy referral to you for pre-operative conditioning. Just ask us - we are here to help!

What is the pre-admission teaching session?

You are required to attend the pre-operative education session within two weeks before your surgery. As this session, you will be given the information about what will happen on the day of surgery and during your hospitalization. We will also cover what to expect once you have returned home. Any additional tests may be completed at this time. You will meet with nurses at the hospital who lead the group.

What can I expect the day of my surgery?

You will be given instructions that include not eating or drinking after midnight the night before surgery, although you can use a small amount of water to brush your teeth. You may also receive specific instructions regarding the use of medications either the night before or the morning of surgery.