Weight loss surgery in St. Petersburg, Florida

Losing weight can be difficult and challenging. Our bariatric team at Palms of Pasadena Hospital are proud to offer medical weight loss, endoscopic and surgical weight loss options known as Bariatric Surgery. We offer comprehensive support before, during and after your journey.

Candidates for bariatric surgery

There are several factors that may qualify you for bariatric surgery, including any one or more of the following:

  • You have been unable to lose weight through diet and exercise
  • Your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40
  • Your BMI is 35 to 39.9 and you have an obesity-related health condition, such as:
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Gastrointestinal disorder
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Sleep apnea
    • Type 2 diabetes

Candidates must follow a qualification process to be considered for weight loss surgery.

Benefits of weight loss surgery

The results of weight loss surgery can improve your self-image and significantly improve your health. Some of the benefits of bariatric surgery include:

  • Enabling a more active lifestyle
  • Improving the quality of your life
  • Increasing energy
  • Reducing the risks of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea and other medical conditions.

Types of weight loss options we offer

Adjustable gastric banding

In this procedure, an adjustable, silicone band is fastened around the upper part of the stomach, creating a 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.

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy

Gastric Sleeve restricts the stomach by stapling it vertically, removing 85 percent of its capacity. With a smaller stomach, patients become full faster and intake less food. 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 (laparoscopic)

Gastric bypass, also referred to as Roux-en-Y, 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.


While many individuals experience long term weight loss with their first bariatric (weight loss) surgery, some do not. There are several reasons for weight gain but the most common one related to gastric bypass (RNY) is enlargement of your stomach and outlet that leads to the bowel. We now have a non-surgical option to help you regain control. A non-invasive procedure can be performed endoscopically using a flexible scope through the mouth the same way as a standard outpatient scope procedure. Through this scope, a specialized devise will be used to place sutures around your stomach outlet with the goal of reducing the size back to its original postoperative state.

Endoscopic outlet and pouch repairs

Endoscopic devices allow physicians to place sutures around the enlarged outlet.

The outlet is reduced to about 10mm in diameter.

Sutures may also be added to reduce capacity and volume of the stomach pouch.

Balloon endoscopy

The endoscopic gastric balloon procedure is a nonsurgical bariatric option for you if you have a BMI between 30 and 40. This procedure is a temporary technique in which a balloon is placed in the stomach to occupy space, helping the patient feel fuller quicker. The balloon is placed endoscopically with the same type of endoscope that is used to look at a stomach when assessing for reflux disease, so is much less invasive than surgery. Patients typically come into the hospital or endoscopy suite, have it placed and go home the same day.

Once the balloon is placed, it is removed six months later. 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.

Minimally invasive bariatric surgery techniques

Robotic surgery uses robotic technology to perform surgical procedures. These minimally invasive procedures usually require fewer and much smaller incisions, which means less scarring, faster recovery times and less pain for you. The robotic system gives our surgeons enhanced visualization, greater dexterity, increased precision and better control of surgical instruments.

Adolescent weight loss program

Our adolescent weight loss program is designed for adolescents who need surgical assistance to lose weight.

The criteria for weight loss surgery in adolescents require special consideration and standards. Surgery must be performed in a hospital with adolescent classification. The adolescent must:

  • Be at least 12 years old
  • Have at least three months of failed organized attempts of weight management, as determined by their healthcare provider
  • BMI greater than 35 with serious obesity-related health issues or a BMI greater than 40
  • Be committed to comprehensive medical and psychological evaluation, nutritional counseling and long term follow-up

Diet and life after bariatric surgery

Weight loss surgery is a tool to help patients lose weight. After bariatric surgery, the patient must adhere to diet and lifestyle changes to achieve successful, sustained weight loss. A weight loss specialist or dietitian will create a program personalized to each patient.

Weight loss support

Weight loss surgery is a life changing event. We want you to have all the resources possible to make an informed decision. That is why we offer free bariatric surgery seminars and a free bariatric surgery webinar to help you learn about weight loss surgery and get answers to your questions.

We also provide weight loss surgery support groups to those throughout the St. Petersburg, FL area. The support groups allow patients to share experiences and receive the emotional support and encouragement needed to sustain weight loss.

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 procedures 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.

BMI Calculator

BMI Calculator

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All information provided by this website is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a health care professional. No information provided in this site may be considered medical advice. The information may not be relevant for your individual situation and may be misinterpreted. HCA assumes no responsibility for how you use information obtained from this site. Before making any decisions regarding your health care, ask your personal physician.
For a free bariatric surgery information packet, please complete the web form. To learn more about the program or to ask questions, please call (866) 931-THIN (8446).