About us

Florida Bariatric Centers at Palms of Pasadena Hospital is dedicated to offering you the latest advancements in the field of bariatric care and surgical weight loss. We are located in St. Petersburg, Florida, easily accessible from the entire Tampa Bay area and from the nearby communities of Orlando, Lakeland, Tampa and Sarasota. Services are provided for adolescent, adult and geriatric patients. Each person will be evaluated individually. If you are significantly overweight, and looking for a real solution, we're here to help.

Morbid obesity can lead to a wide range of physical and emotional issues. Our program has been created to help individuals end their struggles with obesity and lead healthier lives. Palms of Pasadena Hospital is a MBSAQIP Accredited - Comprehensive Center with Adolescent Qualifications.

We want your learning experience about surgical weight loss to be as easy, and as comprehensive, as possible. When you contact us, you will speak with a health care professional who can provide you with more information about these weight loss surgery procedures, the risks and benefits, the recovery period, and expected changes in lifestyle. We will also mail you educational information, which will include the dates and times of our upcoming seminars and support group meetings.

Is weight loss surgery for me?

Obesity is the excess accumulation of body fat, to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health. It can lead to reduced life expectancy and increased health conditions such as certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, acid reflux, sleep apnea and type II diabetes.

Should I consider weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery is an option for individuals who:

  • Are 100 pounds or more over ideal body weight or
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or
  • Have a BMI of 35 to 39.9 with a diagnosed weight-related health problem, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or obstructive sleep apnea

In addition to the above, candidates for weight loss surgery should have evidence of previous, unsuccessful attempts at non-surgical treatment for obesity. They should also demonstrate a commitment to follow-up care, including a clear understanding of the dietary, exercise and medical guidelines required following surgery and throughout the rest of their lives.

If you have tried traditional weight loss methods without success and you would like to explore the option of weight loss surgery, speak to your doctor or contact our weight loss team to see if you qualify. Call (727) 384-3422.

Bariatric and weight loss surgery options

The Florida Bariatric Center at Palms of Pasadena Hospital is here to help you on a path towards a healthier life. Weight loss surgery is considered the most successful approach to rescuing patients from morbid obesity. Surgery can also prevent, and sometimes reverse, the development of diseases associated with obesity.

The first, important step in making a decision about weight loss surgery is to understand the options available, along with the potential benefits and risks.

Some Options Include:

Lap Band Surgery

With the Adjustable Gastric Band Procedures (either LAP-BAND® or Realize™ Band), an adjustable silicone band is fastened around the upper part of the stomach to create a new, smaller stomach pouch. The band is connected to an access port below the skin. Through the port, the surgeon can adjust the size of the band by adding or removing saline to an inflatable balloon on the inner surface of the band. Because the band is adjustable, you and the surgeon can work together to customize the rate of weight-loss. One’s weight loss, the amount of food that can be comfortably eaten, the exercise regimen, and other issues surrounding your health will determine adjustments to the band, which are performed during routine outpatient visits. This procedure is effective for weight loss because it reduces the capacity of the stomach, restricting the amount of food that can be consumed at one time.

Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery (LAP-BAND® or Realize™ Band) is performed through small incisions, resulting in less pain and scarring and short recovery times. The procedure is usually a day surgery or one night stay in the hospital and one can typically resume normal activities within several days.

Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery ( LAP-BAND® or Realize™ Band) has been shown to be an effective surgical option for weight loss, and has gained popularity in the U.S. Since the LAP-BAND® or Realize™ procedures do not alter the digestive track, they are both fully adjustable and reversible. Weight loss with the Adjustable Gastric Band Procedures is more gradual than gastric bypass or the sleeve, but because of the adjustable nature of the band, the patient and surgeon can work together to control the rate of weight loss.

Vertical Sleeve Weight Loss Surgery

The vertical sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve is a type of restrictive weight loss surgery. The procedure generates weight loss by restricting the amount of food that can be consumed before feeling full. The stomach is restricted by stapling and dividing it vertically, removing up to 85%. The remaining stomach is obviously smaller and tubular in shape. With a small stomach, individuals eat less. It is also felt that the hormones that control the appetite are created in a portion of the stomach that is removed, and by taking out that portion of the stomach, the patient’s appetite is reduced.

Gastric Bypass Weight Loss Surgery

Gastric bypass, also referred to as Roux-en-Y, uses both a restrictive and a malabsorptive surgery technique. It restricts food intake and the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs. In addition to creating a smaller stomach pouch, the surgery changes the body's normal digestive process. As a result, food bypasses a large part of the stomach and most of the small intestine.

The term “revision” is applied when one weight loss procedure is converted or transformed to another.

We have seen that, over time, a percentage of gastric bypass patients will start regaining some of their weight. One reason for this is the fact that the gastric pouch can stretch and accommodate more food at each meal. In addition, the connection between the stomach pouch and small intestines may start to dilate and enlarge over time. As a result the stomach can empty faster and the patient loses the sense of satiety.

Community events

Free informative seminars and webinar

We know that your decision to have Weight Loss Surgery is a life-changing event. We want you to be fully informed about your options and to have the information you need to be successful in achieving your weight loss goals. We offer educational meetings in various locations around the Tampa Bay area. We encourage you to attend one of our free seminars and to bring any interested family or friends, so they, too, can have a better understanding about surgical weight loss. Watch our Free surgical weight loss webinar from the comfort of your own home.

Support group

Support group meetings are an important way to get the emotional support and encouragement helping lead to sustained weight loss success. Each of the independent physicians who perform weight loss surgery at our hospitals suggest support groups for both pre-operative as well as post-operative support. These free support group meetings are offered on a regular basis. They are an excellent resource for anyone wanting to know more about life following surgery. They offer patients an opportunity to share their experiences with each other as well as gain support from our program's professionals. These free support group meetings are offered on a regular basis.

Frequently asked questions

Question: How long have you been performing weight loss surgery?

Answer: Weight Loss Surgery has been performed at Palms of Pasadena Hospital since 2000. Palms of Pasadena Hospital was the first hospital in Pinellas County with a unit dedicated to Gastric Bypass patients.

Question: Do I need to be maintained on vitamins?

Answer: Taking vitamins is essential.

Question: Are there support group meetings?

Answer: Support Group Meetings are offered several times a month in various locations to all patients on a monthly basis. We recommend attending these support group meetings and bring any interested family and/or friends. Individuals who are important to you need to understand the change you will undergo as well as your new diet and new lifestyle. Post-operatively, we have found that most successful patients are those that attend a support group and/or follow up with their psychologist.

Question: Do most insurance companies approve weight-loss surgery?

Answer: If you are considering Weight Loss Surgery, we recommend that one of the first things you do is to contact your insurance company and speak to a customer service agent. Ask if you have benefits for WLS and what is the criteria you need to follow. If you do not, an available option is self-pay. If you do have coverage, most of the insurance companies are requesting evidence of a medically-supervised weight loss attempt over a defined period of time. These weight loss attempts do not have to involve medication; they can include exercise, a low-calorie diet and behavior modification. The important aspect is that this is documented in the doctor's progress notes at regular intervals (every month) for a defined period of time. A letter from your Primary Care Physician indicating that you have been on such a plan without documentation in his/her notes usually will not meet the criteria and result in a denial. If you do not have coverage, an available option is self-pay.

Question: How does the LAP-BAND® work?

Answer: The LAP-BAND® reduces the capacity of your stomach and increases the time it takes food to get through the digestive system. After a small meal, the amount of which varies from person to person, you should feel full. If you follow the nutrition guidelines when you choose your food and then chew it well, you should not feel hungry or deprived. Remember that the LAP-BAND® is a tool to help you change your eating habits.

Question: How long will it take to recover after surgery?

Answer: Patients typically spend less than 24 hours in the hospital. It takes most patients a few days to a week to return to work. However, each individual is different.

Question: How much weight will I lose?

Answer: Weight-loss results vary from patient to patient, and the amount of weight you may lose depends on several things. The band needs to be in the right position, and you need to be committed to your new lifestyle and eating habits. Obesity surgery is not a miracle cure, and the pounds won't come off by themselves.

Question: Does the LAP-BAND® limit any physical activity?

Answer: The LAP-BAND® does not affect or hamper physical activity including aerobics, stretching and strenuous exercise.

Question: How is the band adjusted?

Answer: Adjustments are often carried out in the doctor's office, however sometimes they need to be performed under fluoroscopy so the access port can be clearly seen. After the area is numbed with some local spray, a fine needle is passed through the skin into the access port to add or subtract saline. This process most often takes only a few minutes. Most patients say it is nearly painless.

Question: Do I have to be careful with the access port just underneath my skin?

Answer: There are no restrictions based on the access port. It is placed under the skin in the abdominal wall, and once you have healed it should not cause discomfort or limit your movements or any physical exercise. The only sensation you may have from the port is when you go in for adjustments. If you feel persistent discomfort in the port area, let us know as soon as possible.

Question: Can the band be removed?

Answer: Although the LAP-BAND® System is not meant to be removed, it can be. The stomach generally returns to its original shape once the band is removed. After the removal, though, you may soon go back up to your original weight or even gain more.

Question: Is it true that the LAP-BAND® seems "tighter" in the morning?

Answer: This is a fairly common feeling, especially for people with bands that are tight or just after an adjustment. During the day the water content in the body changes and this may cause the band to feel "tighter" some of the time. Some women have also noticed that the LAP-BAND® feels tighter during menstruation.

Question: What will happen if I become ill?

Answer: One of the major advantages of the LAP-BAND® System is that it can be adjusted. If your illness requires you to eat more, the band can be loosened by removing saline from it. When you have recovered from your illness and want to lose weight again, the band can be tightened by increasing the amount of saline. If the band cannot be loosened enough, it may have to be removed.

Question: What about pregnancy?

Answer: Becoming pregnant can be easier as you lose weight. Your menstrual cycle may become more regular. If you need to eat more while you are pregnant, the band can be loosened. After the pregnancy, the band may be made tighter again, and you can resume losing weight.

Question: What if I go out to eat?

Answer: Order only a small amount of food, such as an appetizer. Eat slowly. Finish at the same time as your table companions.

Question: What about alcohol?

Answer: Alcohol has a high number of calories. It also breaks down vitamins.

Question: How do these procedures work?

Answer: The obese individual's normal stomach has the ability to hold a large quantity of food. This equates to a higher caloric intake. These extra calories become stored fat. These surgical procedure converts the large stomach into a very small stomach that can only hold a couple of ounces. This limits the quantity of food that can be consumed and leaves the patient feeling full and satisfied. Consequently, one starts burning fat from the stored portion and experiences weight loss. In addition the Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass has an element of mal-absorption due to bypassing some of the small intestine.

Question: Once I recover, what will be my typical diet?

Answer: After surgery, you will soon learn how much you can take in and what foods you can tolerate. It is difficult to say what foods will agree with you and which ones won't since everyone is different but fried foods, sweet food and drinks, and food with tough fiber such as orange pulp should be avoided. You will have the ability to eat a meal much like a child's portion. This will be the amount you eat indefinitely, unless your stomach is stretched by not following post-operative guidelines. So, eat slowly and allow at least a half an hour for each meal. If you feel full, stop eating. Drink liquids between meals but not with meals. And, remember NO snacks.

Question: Will you go on losing until too much is lost?

Answer: No, patients don't fade away; they seem to reach a plateau and level off after losing about one-third of their preoperative weight. As reported by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), the ultimate window of opportunity for weight loss is about 18 months. Typically patients lose 70% of their weight in the first year, provided they follow the recommendations on diet and behavior modification.

Question: Will the gastric pouch stretch so that the lost weight is regained?

Answer: The stomach pouch stretches a little as time goes on, but not to any great degree. Weight loss is usually maintained except in those few patients who take in large quantities of high caloric foods and fluids. Remember, this is not a cure-all operation, the surgery will do a great deal toward the goal of weight loss, but ONLY you can make it work.

Non-surgical options

Orbera balloon

This is an endoscopic procedure that can take as little as 15 minutes. This FDA-approved balloon is inserted in an outpatient setting and is removed approximately 6 months later for those with a suggested BMI of between 30 and 40.

How does it work?

  • The balloon is placed endoscopically with the same type of endoscope that is used to look at a stomach when assessing for reflux disease.
  • An individual comes into the hospital or endoscopy suite, has it placed and goes home the same day.
  • The balloon is intended to be a space occupying balloon in the stomach that helps the individual feel full and eat less.
  • The device is temporary, placed and then removed six months later. During that period of time, individuals are involved in behavior modification including diet and exercise.

How effective is the device?

  • Individuals on the average lose about 35 pounds with the device in place, with a combination of the device, dietary counseling and an exercise program.

Comprehensive medical program

Whether you need to lose weight in preparation for surgery, get back on track post-surgery or you want to lose the weight without surgery, our team is her to help. We offer a personalized medical program led by a bariatrician. A bariatrician is a licensed medical professional who treats and helps prevent disorders that are linked to obesity. A personalized therapeutic plan will be created. This could include recommendations for dietary changes, online journaling, exercise plan, medication modifications if necessary and prescription for anti-obesity medications.

Contact us

Palms of Pasadena Hospital
1501 Pasadena Ave So.
St. Petersburg, FL 33707

Susan Kay R.N., Certified Bariatric Nurse
Director, Bariatric Services
Palms of Pasadena Hospital & Largo Medical Center
Phone: (727) 341-7706 or (866) 931-THIN (office)
Fax: (727) 341-7058

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