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Weight Loss

Center for Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery

If you've struggled to lose excess weight, bariatric surgery may be the first step in a journey toward a new chapter of your life. Bariatric surgery, also called weight loss surgery, changes the size of the stomach, small intestine, or both to assist with weight loss.

Numerous scientific studies have shown that bariatric surgery, combined with lifestyle modification, leads to significantly better and longer lasting weight loss when compared to lifestyle modifications alone.

The Center for Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery at University Medical Center is supported by a multi-disciplinary team that includes bariatric surgeons, dietitians, behavioral therapists and nurse practitioners dedicated to helping our patients achieve their weight loss goals.

To speak to our team, call us at 504.962.6262.

Meet Your Surgeons:

Michael Cook, MD

Dr. Michael Cook is a fellowship-trained bariatric and general surgeon and Medical Director of the Center. He earned his medical degree from the University of Tennessee - College of Medicine in Memphis, TN and completed his residency at Ochsner Clinic Foundation. He also completed a fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery at Emory in Atlanta, GA. He is board-certified in General Surgery and has a special interest in laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery.

John Baker, MD, FACS

Dr. Baker​ Dr. John Baker is a leading expert in the surgical treatment of obesity with over 28 years of experience. He is a past president of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), the largest association in the world dedicated to this particular specialty. Dr. Baker graduated from Louisiana State University-Shreveport in a six-year accelerated M.D. program and earned a medical degree from LSU Medical Center-Shreveport. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery.

A Team Dedicated To Your Weight Loss Journey

Lindsey PoeLindsey Poe, PsyD

Dr. Lindsey Poe is a licensed clinical psychologist who earned her doctorate at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center with a focus on the connection between physical health conditions and mental wellness. Dr. Poe is a member of the American Psychological Association and specializes in psychological assessment and group therapy. As part of the bariatric surgery team, Dr. Poe will conduct psychosocial evaluations and group therapy as individuals prepare for the next step in achieving their weight loss goal.

Emily AlkerToya Smith, NP

Toya Smith is a board-certified nurse practioner who is passionate and dedicated to assisting patients in their weight loss journey, while using evidence-based practices to help patients meet their goals. Toya earned my Doctor of Nursing Practice with a concentration in Family Nurse Practitioner at Louisiana State University Health in New Orleans. She completed her Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Family Nurse Practitioner at Herzing University. As part of the bariatric team, she conducts comprehensive medical evaluations, provides weight loss options, and manages pre- and post-op patients.

Your Surgery Options

Our commitment is to provide you with clear, thorough information about weight loss options designed to help you make the best decision for your immediate and long-term health. Helping you successfully prepare for weight loss surgery is our top priority at University Medical Center.

Surgical options include:

  • Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) – You can expect to lose 60-70% of your excess weight with this procedure. Your new stomach will be about the size of a large thumb and the opening leaving the stomach will be about as wide as an index finger. The new pouch will be about the size of 30mL.
    The small pouch and small outlet created by the operation and the hormonal changes will help control the feeling of excessive hunger. Changes in eating and exercise behavior will be required for weight loss and long-term weight maintenance.
  • Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy – You can expect to lose 50-60% of your excess weight with this procedure. During this surgery about 80% of the stomach is removed to create a small sleeve stomach similar in shape and size to a banana. The new pouch will be between 60-120 ml. It is larger than the stomach pouch created during the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass.
    The small pouch and hormonal changes will help control the feeling of excessive hunger. Changes in eating and exercise behavior will be required for weight loss and long-term weight maintenance.

Note: The gastric bypass does a slightly better job than the sleeve gastrectomy at resolving medical problems.

Supporting your weight loss goals

Our Bariatric Clinic is located on the fifth floor of the Hospital Building at University Medical Center.

From our main lobby, walk towards Tower 1 (orange wall) and take the elevator to the Floor 5. Cross the glass-enclosed bridge to the Hospital building to reach the Bariatric Clinic waiting room.

Please note that our in-person bariatric surgery information sessions have been cancelled through the end of the year. A member of our team will be in contact you in the month of your scheduled session with additional information.

For best results, patients need to actively participate in a multi-disciplinary weight loss program that includes nutritional, emotional, and exercise counseling. Patients are encouraged to utilize our peer support groups and brief psychoeducational therapies in order to both prepare for and adjust to life after bariatric surgery. Our highly trained team is committed to providing the highest level of patient care every step of the way.

Congratulations on taking the first step to a better, healthier you. We look forward to welcoming you to our Bariatric Services at University Medical Center.

Weight loss and your health

More than 1/3 of U.S. adults suffer from obesity. Obesity is a medical condition involving excess body fat that increases the risk of health problems. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Obesity can reduce life expectancy by up to 20 years if not treated, which is why bariatric services can be crucial to your health and survival. This weight loss solution is a way to improve your abilities to participate in everyday life and improve, if not reverse, the adverse effects of health conditions.

Weight loss can help improve conditions such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression

Do I qualify for bariatric services?

Bariatric Services are designed for those people who suffer from obesity. Obesity is measured by using Body Mass Index (BMI) calculations. To calculate your BMI, enter your height and weight into the table below.

If you have a BMI of 30 or more, you are considered obese and may qualify for our Bariatric Services. If your BMI is over 40, you are considered morbidly obese, which is a more severe form of obesity that poses extreme risks to your health and life.

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