Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery

Obesity is a disease affecting more than 72 million Americans. In Wyoming, 37 percent of adults are classified as overweight and 28 percent of adults are obese. Obesity is caused by a variety of environmental, genetic and metabolic factors.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • High cholesterol
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Arthritis
  • Acid reflux or other gastrointestinal disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Depression and low self-esteem

Surgical Treatment Available

When non-surgical weight-loss efforts have failed, consultation with a bariatric surgeon may be beneficial. Multiple surgical options exist and no one single operation is perfect for everyone.

Your bariatric surgeon will discuss each option with you individually to find the best treatment.

WMC has been accredited as a Comprehensive Bariatric Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

To qualify for weight-loss surgery, you must have:

  • BMI of 40 or greater, or more than 100 pounds overweight, OR
  • BMI of 35 or greater and at least one obesity related health problem AND
  • Inability to achieve sustained healthy weight loss despite prior weight-loss efforts.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control provide the following table regarding the standard BMI categories for adults. Determine your BMI using the CDC’s Body Mass Index Calculator.

  • Below 18.5 = Underweight
  • 18.5 – 24.9 = Normal
  • 25.0 – 29.9 = Overweight
  • 30.0 and Above = Obese

Surgical Options

Dr. Helling offers comprehensive weight loss surgery options including:


How it’s done: Dr. Helling creates an egg-sized stomach pouch while bypassing a portion of the small intestine. It also drastically diminishes hormones causing hunger and high blood sugar in diabetics.

Advantages: Gastric bypass results in the greatest weight loss and the most rapid and significant resolution of weight-related illness. Most patients typically lose 70 to 80 percent of excess body weight.


How it is done: Dr. Helling removes 80 to 90 percent of the stomach, leaving behind a small sleeve resembling the sleeve of a shirt. The small, thin stomach limits food intake while removing the portion of the stomach with most of the hunger hormone cells.

Advantages: Like gastric bypass, patients have a decreased appetite and diabetic remission occurs rapidly. Since there is no re-routing of the GI tract, risk of post-operative complications decrease. Patients typically lose about 60 to 70 percent of excess body weight.


Certain less common weight-loss operations may be appropriate for some patients and can be discussed individually with your weight loss surgeon. Revisionary surgery for patients who have already undergone weight loss operations can also be discussed with your weight loss surgeon on an individual basis.

For more information:

Dr. Kevin Helling offers additional information about various surgical options in the video below. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Helling, call (307) 577-4220. We also offer monthly support groups for patients who have had surgery or need weight-loss support. Learn more here.

Important links:
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
MedlinePlus Bariatric Surgery

Staff Specialist