Health Cover Stories

A Healthy Approach: SSM Health Weight Management Services

Losing weight for better health makes a lot of sense, but it can be a real challenge for many, according to SSM Health bariatric surgeon Dr. Aaron Bornstein. For patients with a significant number of pounds to lose, surgical options may be the best approach, he says.

Bornstein practices at SSM Health Weight Management Services at St. Clare Hospital, a newly opened office that expands on services offered at SSM Health DePaul Hospital. He explains that the entire practice is dedicated to educating patients about weight loss procedures with the goal of better health and a higher quality of life.

Two of the most common weight loss treatments are sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgeries. The former surgically reduces the size of the stomach, and the latter sections off a part of the stomach and reroutes a portion of the small intestine. Both can help the patient manage appetite and food intake as a means toward losing weight. “The main idea is portion control,” Bornstein says. “You feel full faster when eating and take in fewer calories each day. Some people may see weight loss surgery as a drastic step, but when you think about the money and time spent on diets and other weight-loss plans, surgery makes a great deal of sense. It’s very safe, and the results are long-lasting.”

Bornstein, Dr. Mario Morales and Dr. Andrea Schwoerer are available for consultations, and a team of counselors and dietitians works to ensure each patient’s needs are met. “For COVID-19 safety reasons, we can do consultations virtually, and we offer pre- and postoperative video seminars so patients know what to expect during the entire process,” Bornstein says. During an initial visit, the physician discusses medical history and appropriate treatment options, and then the patient meets with the dietitian and counselor. Once insurance requirements have been met, the office can schedule a date for the procedure. There is usually a one- or two-night hospital stay, and most people take a week or two off work.

According to Bornstein, both sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass are effective ways of reducing weight and keeping it off. “The sleeve procedure is appropriate for 70% to 80% of people needing significant weight reduction, but it may not be an option for those with acid reflux or diabetes,” he says. “These patients may need to consider gastric bypass instead. It accomplishes both weight reduction and treatment of reflux.”

Bornstein says the most important question he asks patients is, “What is your main goal in losing weight?” He says it’s not just about slimming down, it’s also about feeling healthier and controlling medical problems related to obesity. “Under a doctor’s supervision, many weight loss patients can discontinue medications for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and others see improvement in their sleep apnea,” he notes. “Our weight loss procedures are minimally invasive, safe and effective, and there is zero judgment; we understand that talking about your weight and eating habits can be difficult. That’s why our compassionate team approach works so well.” 

Patients in need of surgical weight loss solutions can rely on SSM Health Weight Management Services at St. Clare Hospital for comprehensive, compassionate care. Pictured on the cover: SSM Health bariatric surgeon Dr. Aaron Bornstein. For more information, call 636.496.5060 or visit ssmhealth.com/weight-management.

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo by Tim Parker Photography

Pictured at top: Laura Allen, Kayla Dwinell, Dr. Aaron Bornstein, Stephanie Najbart, Bonnie Hauenstein
Photo: Tim Parker Photography

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