Bariatric Surgery

Let our team of medical experts help you reach your ideal bodyweight with a plan personalized for you.

Why Bariatric Surgery and a Weight Control And Wellness Program?
More than 35 percent of adults are obese. Obesity has been clinically classified as a disease by the American Medical Association and for good reason. Obesity can reduce both life expectancy and quality of life.

If obesity rates continue on their current path, it is estimated that the number of new cases of Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke and arthritis could increase 10 fold by 2020. Some of these conditions can be controlled or even cured by treating obesity.

Bariatric Surgery photoObesity-Related Health Problems:

  • Low back pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Heartburn
  • Type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes)
  • Sleep apnea
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Asthma or bronchitis
  • Heart disease
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Leg swelling (venous stasis)
  • Female hormone abnormalities
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Accumulation of fat in the liver

Hiram Gonzalez, MD photoMeet our Director
Hiram Gonzalez, M.D., is a dedicated general/gastrointestinal surgeon at Monongahela Valley Hospital. He works in Belle Vernon and Finleyville with general/gastrointestinal surgeon Arshad Bachelani, M.D. Dr. Gonzalez is a fellowship-trained bariatric surgeon, who has extensive experience with weight management programs. Whether you choose bariatric surgery or not, Dr. Gonzalez and the team's goals for you are to lose weight, live a longer life and enjoy a better quality of life.

What is Bariatric Surgery?
The program offers different weight management strategies until we find one that works for you. In some cases, the answer may be weight loss surgery, called bariatric surgery.

Dr. Gonzalez performs the three most common bariatric procedures: the adjustable gastric band, the gastric sleeve, and the gastric bypass. Each has its advantages and reduces or restricts the stomach, causing a patient to feel full sooner and to eat less. The procedures are quite safe and the risks are low. All procedures are minimally invasive, using small openings in the skin.

Adjustable Gastric Band uses a small band to create a small pouch that restricts food allowed into the stomach. The band needs adjusted periodically. This is the least invasive of the surgeries, with no cutting, stapling or re-connecting of the stomach or intestines.

Gastric Sleeve (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy) surgically reduces the stomach to 1/15th of its original size, about the size of a small banana.

Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass surgically reduces the stomach size to a one half-ounce size pouch, and connects the small intestines directly to the pouch.

Who Qualifies for Bariatric Surgery?
Candidates must:

  • Be 100 pounds overweight or have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40
  • Have a body mass index of 35 with serious obesity-related health issues
  • Participate in a physician-supervised weight loss program for a specific amount of time, typically six months; this varies by insurance
  • Have failed attempts at structured, supervised weight loss programs
  • Be a non-smoker or quit smoking three months prior to surgery

What About my Primary Care Physician?
This program does not replace your primary care physician, but works in concert with him or her. MVH's Weight Control and Wellness Program will help you attain a more healthy lifestyle so your PCP can better manage the medicines you need for diabetes, acid reflux, high blood pressure, etc. Patients who lose weight often see decreases in or elimination of these medicines.

Will my Insurance Cover this Program?
It is important to check with your insurance carrier to determine if they cover the aspects of the program listed to the left.

How does the MVH Weight Control and Wellness Program work?
If you have 100 pounds or more to lose, you know that your weight did not appear overnight. It will take time, effort and lifestyle changes to eliminate your excess weight and to keep it off. But there are often multiple reasons for severe obesity, a disease that stores excess energy as fat in the body.

Our physicians and clinicians will evaluate your case based on your lifestyle, diet, culture, amount of physical activity, age and gender, as well as certain environmental, psychological and genetic factors that can contribute to obesity. They will review your other illnesses or conditions that may be a result of, or made worse by your obesity. Our multidisciplinary team of physicians, dietitians, physical therapists and exercise physiologists will help design a personalized plan for you that includes:

  • Nutrition counseling to create a healthy eating plan*
  • Medically supervised weight loss with recipes, food journals and helpful tips
  • A physical activity plan that can be followed at home
  • Guidance to help those too obese for regular activities
  • Special classes at our Center for Fitness and Health
  • Healthy cooking classes
  • A series of seminars to provide additional moral support
  • The option of weight loss (bariatric) surgery*
  • Plastic surgery for body contouring after excessive weight loss*
  • All services are located at Monongahela Valley Hospital or Monongahela Valley Hospital HealthPlex, only eight miles apart
  • The program is flexible and catered to each participant

*Items may involve an extra cost; insurance coverage varies

For more information, contact the office of Dr. Gonzalez at 724-929-4122 or visit his Web site.

Download this page as a brochure (pdf)

Is Bariatric Surgery Right for You?
Come meet Surgeon Hiram Gonzalez, M.D., at these free information sessions to learn how weight loss surgery can help those struggling to lose 100 pounds or more. Reservations required by calling 724-929-4122.

If you are interested in the Weight Control and Wellness program, but are unable to attend one of our free information sessions, click here to fill out the request form. You will receive an e-mail with a link to a recording of Dr. Hiram Gonzalez's "Is Bariatric Surgery Right For You" and a PDF containing information from the talk.

Date Location
To Be Determined Zoom Conference