Bariatric Surgery at Penn Highlands Healthcare

Weight Loss Surgery Near Me In Pennsylvania

Bariatric Surgery

If you are considering weight loss surgery and you live in Pennsylvania, you will want to consider Penn Highlands Healthcare Bariatric Surgery Center. Our weight loss center provides a comprehensive bariatric surgery program that addresses your physical and emotional needs before and after surgery. Our approach will help ensure that you are successful at meeting and maintaining your weight loss goals. We offer the safest weight loss surgery procedures, including SADI-S surgery, a relatively new, simplified type of duodenal switch surgery.

Our Weight Loss Surgery Program

The decision to have bariatric surgery is a serious one, but it’s only a small component of the comprehensive weight loss program we offer at Penn Highlands Healthcare Bariatric Surgery Center. We start by understanding your personal goals and individual reasons for pursuing weight loss surgery. Our staff then spends time before your procedure breaking down any nonproductive thoughts and behaviors surrounding food and preparing you for the lifelong lifestyle changes you’ll need to make postoperatively. We know weight loss surgery can be daunting, but our team of bariatric surgeons, obesity medicine physicians, registered dieticians, and psychology and behavioral health specialists will be by your side to support you every step of the way. We also work closely with Penn Highlands Healthcare endocrinology, cardiology, pulmonology, and sleep medicine teams to meet your individualized needs to achieve your weight loss goals.

Succeeding With Weight Loss Surgery

We want every patient who comes to Penn Highlands Healthcare Bariatric Surgery Center to meet their weight loss goals that will lead to improved health and quality of life. We want to offer you an individualized, but standardized approach to your weight loss journey. Bariatric surgery is not “an easy way out.” It is an evidence-based therapy for a serious metabolic health problem. We are committed to ensuring that you feel comfortable and confident during your entire weight loss journey. To help ensure your success, our mental and behavioral health experts will work with you to change your mindset about weight and food and understand the thoughts and behaviors that may have contributed to your weight gain. They’ll also help you learn new coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and emotions and provide educational tools to help you achieve the most positive outcome possible. In addition, we have partnered with an all online bariatric surgery nutrition counseling and education program called New-Tri Health that prepares you for successful bariatric surgery and can improve your long-term success. Our obesity medicine team, surgeons and registered dieticians will follow your progress virtually as well.

To learn more about the weight loss surgery program at Penn Highlands DuBois, watch this video with surgeon Dr. Megan Lundgren.

Doctor Photo In Network
Gonzalez-Ortiz, Hiram, MD

Bariatric Surgery

General Surgery


Penn Highlands Bariatric and General Surgery - Rostraver Township

Doctor Photo In Network
Lundgren, Megan P., MD

Bariatric Surgery

General Surgery


Penn Highlands Bariatric and General Surgery - DuBois

Doctor Photo
Stockton, Shelby , PA-C

Bariatric Surgery

General Surgery


Penn Highlands Bariatric and General Surgery - Rostraver Township

Doctor Photo In Network
Wilson, Abigail, PA-C

Bariatric Surgery

General Surgery


Penn Highlands Bariatric and General Surgery - DuBois

Safest Weight Loss Surgery

Oftentimes, people who are considering weight loss surgery have researched the various types of surgeries and have interest in a particular procedure. We will listen to you and work with you to choose the most appropriate and safest weight loss surgery procedure that will help you reach your goals. You do get a say in which procedure you would prefer! Our expert bariatric surgeons will discuss any specific clinical conditions you may have and why one procedure may be better than others for your unique situation.

We offer several types of bariatric surgery, including the least invasive weight loss surgery procedures. The type of surgery most appropriate for you will depend on several factors including your medical history. The procedures we offer include:

  • Gastric Sleeve Surgery: At the Penn Highlands DuBois weight loss center, our bariatric surgeon performs laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, one of the most common weight loss surgery procedures available. During a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, 75% of the stomach is removed, leaving a narrow gastric sleeve. Bariatric surgeons perform the procedure by making five or six small incisions in the abdomen and using a video camera (laparoscope) and long instruments that are placed through these small incisions. No small intestines are removed or bypassed during gastric sleeve surgery. A laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy procedure takes one to two hours to complete. This procedure is not appropriate for patients with reflux.
  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: This procedure is the most common type of malabsorptive bariatric surgery—meaning it alters your digestive process. The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass involves connecting the stomach directly to the lower portion of the small intestine. This allows food to bypass segments of the digestive tract that absorb calories. It also makes the stomach smaller, which is considered a “restrictive” element of the surgery, making you feel full. During a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure, a bariatric surgeon creates a small pouch laparoscopically by dividing the upper portion of the stomach. That pouch is attached to a Y-shaped section of the small intestine, allowing food to bypass the lower stomach, as well as the first segment of the small intestine (duodenum) and the second segment (the first portion of the jejunum)
  • SADI-S surgery (single anastomosis duodenal ileal bypass with sleeve): This is a relatively new, simplified type of duodenal switch procedure endorsed by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery that is now available to select patients. Similar to gastric sleeve, SADI-S surgery involves a bariatric surgeon creating a smaller “tube” or “sleeve” shaped stomach. In addition, with SADI-S surgery, the bariatric surgeon attaches the smaller stomach directly to a more distal portion of the small intestine, which results in the absorption of fewer calories.

Bariatric Revision Surgery

Penn Highlands Bariatric Surgery Program does not offer gastric banding, also known as lap band, because it hasn’t shown to have the same success for weight loss and maintenance as gastric sleeve surgery or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. We do perform gastric band removal procedures. We also offer revisional surgery for appropriate candidates for complications of bariatric surgery or for those who have regained weight after a previous surgery. Laparoscopic and endoscopic approaches to revisional surgery are available depending on the patient’s situation.

  • Lap band removal: This procedure is offered for patients who are symptomatic secondary to a slipped band, have developed esophageal dysmotility, or have regained weight after a lap band surgery and who wish to convert to a gastric sleeve or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. We typically convert in a two-stage process (two different surgeries).
  • Gastric bypass revision: Some patients develop complications after gastric bypass, such as a gastro-gastric fistula, which can cause weight regain and reflux. Other patients may develop an ulcer at the new connections – typically due to smoking or NSAID use. Other patients may have regained weight and require a “limb lengthening procedure.” Our bariatric surgeons can perform gastric bypass revision for patients who had their initial surgery at another bariatric surgery center.
  • Gastric sleeve revision to bypass: This procedure can convert a gastric sleeve to a bypass and might be needed if the patient has regained weight or developed reflux. There may also be an option to convert a gastric sleeve to a SADI-S.

Why Choose PHH Bariatric Surgeons Near Me?

Penn Highlands Healthcare Bariatric Surgery Center features expertly trained and experienced bariatric surgeons to treat patients from throughout Pennsylvania. Our bariatrics surgeons have proven expertise by meeting these criteria:

  • Completed an accredited residency in general surgery
  • Certified by the American Board of Surgery
  • Completed fellowship training in advanced laparoscopic surgery and bariatric surgery
  • Maintain Membership in the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
  • Performed at least 100 (or more) bariatric surgery procedures

Your pre-surgery and post-surgical follow-up visits may be conducted in one of Penn Highlands’ facilities outside DuBois or via telemedicine to make these more convenient for you.

Bariatric Surgery Clinics at Penn Highlands
Penn Highlands Bariatric and General Surgery - Connellsville

401 East Murphy Avenue
Connellsville, PA 15425

Penn Highlands Bariatric and General Surgery - DuBois
Penn Highlands Bariatric and General Surgery

90 Beaver Drive
DuBois, PA 15801

Penn Highlands Bariatric and General Surgery - Rostraver Township

800 Plaza Drive
Rostraver Township, PA 15012

Being Referred for Weight Loss Surgery

If you’re considering bariatric surgery for weight loss, there are three essential steps to take:

  • Call 814-375-2037 to register for our weight loss surgery educational seminar. During this 30- to 40-minute video seminar, you will learn about Penn Highlands Bariatric Surgery, the procedures we offer, and the entire process from preoperative pathways through surgery and a lifetime of change. You’ll also get to meet our entire team.
  • Call your insurance company to ask about coverage for bariatric surgery procedures. Most insurance companies cover most aspects of bariatric surgery care, but we don’t want you to be surprised after you have already started the process. Our office can help to make appeals to insurance companies in the case of denials. Almost all insurance companies require a letter from a primary care provider or obesity medicine physician detailing failed medical weight loss attempts and the need for surgical intervention.

Does Insurance Cover Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery?

Most private insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, recognize the serious health issues that can result from obesity and pay for bariatric surgery. However, coverage and qualifying criteria vary, so it’s important to contact your insurance provider to obtain any specific requirements and verify coverage before you start the process. Some insurance providers may require participation in a supervised weight management program or a referral from a primary care physician. Our program navigator can help you with insurance questions and will work to appeal the decision if your insurance company initially denies coverage. Some parts of your weight loss journey may not be covered by insurance, such as the vitamins you will need to take after surgery.

What Else Do I Need to do Before Bariatric Surgery?

To undergo bariatric surgery, you must meet with the four primary components of our team:

  • Surgical consult
  • Medical team (clearances)
  • Registered dietitian
  • Psychology / Behavioral health

In addition:

  • You must be up to date on cancer screening according to your age and family history.
  • You must be screened for obstructive sleep apnea and, if necessary, undergo a sleep study.
  • You must undergo necessary preoperative laboratory studies and imaging studies as determined by the medical teams and the surgeon. These are often based on your medical history and if you’ve had any heart or lung issues or are being treated for endocrinology, nephrology, rheumatology, or gastroenterology disorders.
  • If you smoke, or have any ongoing substance abuse issues, start the process of cessation as soon as possible. These behaviors are dangerous to the new anatomy and to your health, so you cannot have bariatric surgery until they are under control. You can still be seen by our team and start the program, but we cannot ask your insurance company for coverage until we have documented cessation. We offer free resources to help you on this path.

What Can I Expect After Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass or Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

People who undergo one of these two most popular types of bariatric weight loss surgery can expect few complications and a relatively quick recovery. After just a 24- to 48-hour post-surgical hospital stay, you will recover at home and can return to normal activity in three to five weeks after your bariatric weight loss surgery. During this time, you will meet with your primary care provider, your bariatric surgeon, and a dietitian regularly to assess your progress and recovery. While you recover, you’ll also need to avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and smoking.

How Much Weight Loss After Surgery Can I Expect?

You can expect to lose 60 to 70% of your excess body weight after bariatric surgery. The majority of your weight loss will occur in the first 18 to 24 months after your weight loss surgery. After the first 24 months, you may continue to lose some weight.

How Will I Need to Change My Eating Habits After Weight Loss Surgery?

One of the reasons bariatric surgery is such a serious decision is because successful weight loss after bariatric surgery is only possible with long-term lifestyle and dietary changes. Your physician and registered dietitian will provide specific guidelines about how much and what types of food you will be able to eat. There are strict sugar-free, liquid, high-protein diets (phase 1 and 2) you will need to follow during the first few days and weeks after surgery as your body heals and adjusts. During the next six to eight weeks (phase 3), you’ll follow a diet of high-protein, soft/pureed foods that includes fish, eggs, dairy, poultry and legumes. Your phase 4 diet is what you’ll follow until you reach your goal weight. It incorporates high-protein foods (meat, eggs, tofu) and vegetables and avoids all fruits, breads, cereals, rice, pasta, starchy vegetables, alcohol and caffeine. During phase 4 and phase 5—your lifetime diet—you will rely on small, controlled portion sizes. During phase 5, you can reintroduce whole grains, starchy vegetables, and fruits.

Can I Get Pregnant After I’ve Had Bariatric Surgery?

One of the positive outcomes of weight loss surgery is that it often helps improve a woman’s fertility issues. However, becoming pregnant too soon after surgery can be dangerous for you and your baby. We advise that you wait at least 18 months after surgery and until your weight stabilizes before trying to conceive. Because of hormonal changes brought on by drastic weight loss, your chances of conception during those first 18 months could be very high, so be sure to use a reliable birth control method.

Let your bariatric weight loss surgery team know if you are planning to become pregnant after weight loss surgery so they can provide guidance and a safe timeline for conception.

Services we offer:

To learn more about bariatric weight loss surgery, contact Penn Highlands Healthcare Bariatric Surgery Center in DuBois at 814-375-2037 and Monongahela at 724-929-4122.

Upcoming Bariatric Surgery Events

View All Events

Bariatric Surgery News

View All News


Hiram Gonzalez-Ortiz, MD, Meet Your Provider
Learn More About Bariatric Surgery
Megan P. Lundgren, MD Meet Your Provider
​Penn Highlands Bariatric Surgery Seminar Video
Shelby Stockton, PA-C​, Meet Your Provider