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Weight Loss Services at WakeMed

Obesity is a serious problem in the United States.

40% of adults are obese and another 30% are overweight[1] which means that currently, the majority of our population is either overweight or obese. 19% of children are obese1.

These numbers are increasing. Obesity is associated with numerous medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, arthritis, heart disease, strokes, cancers and even death.

Specially Trained Medical Experts in Weight Loss

Losing weight is difficult. Many people cannot do it on their own.

At WakeMed Cary and North Raleigh, we offer a variety of services to assist with weight loss. We are an accredited Bariatric Center of Excellence. We have a comprehensive team of surgeons, medical physicians, nutritionists, exercise trainers and specially trained bariatric nurses who provide weight loss strategies ranging from medical to surgery.

Our team performs a comprehensive evaluation of each individuals’ diet and exercise habits and helps each person develop a personalized weight loss plan including nutritional recommendations, exercise practices and sometimes medications.

For individuals interested in pursuing weight loss surgery, we will assist in determining if you are a candidate and enroll you in our program. Criteria and coverage vary depending on insurance providers.

Qualifications for Weight Loss Surgery

The general qualifications for weight loss surgery (also known as bariatric surgery) include[2],[3]:

  1. Age 18 – 64 years
  2. Body Mass Index (BMI)* greater than or equal to 40 kg/m2
  3. BMI greater than or equal to 35 kg/ m2 and at least one obesity-related medical condition
  4. Inability to achieve sustainable weight loss for a period of time

*BMI is a calculation based on weight and height.


Safe, Effective Treatment for Obesity

Bariatric surgery is a safe, effective and lasting treatment for obesity and its associated medical conditions. WakeMed bariatric surgeons offer the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and biliopancreatic diversion duodenal switch. Your surgeon and weight loss team will help guide you as to which option is best for you. All surgeries are performed minimally invasively (ie: laparoscopic, robotic). Open surgery is rarely performed.

View our Bariatric Procedure Information.

Common Bariatric Surgeries

The sleeve gastrectomy is now the most commonly performed bariatric procedure, followed by gastric bypass and duodenal switch.

Adjustable gastric banding, at one time the most popular bariatric surgery, has not been shown to have long term effectiveness and is no longer offered although we still perform adjustments for patients who have existing bands. With sleeve gastrectomy, there is about a 60% excess weight loss compared to 70% with gastric bypass and 80% with duodenal switch3.

Gastric bypass and duodenal switch are technically more complicated relative to the sleeve gastrectomy and patients can have a higher rate of issues with malnutrition and vitamin abnormalities.

In general, bariatric surgery is quite safe with low rates of complications. Typically, patients stay 1-2 nights in the hospital. Following surgery, there is a period of diet restrictions involving a liquid diet initially with slow advance back to solid food. Weight loss occurs over a 1-2 year period following surgery.

Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedures

There are nonsurgical weight loss procedures although the long-term safety and effectiveness are still unclear. These procedures are performed endoscopically (through the mouth with no incisions) and typically reserved for patients who cannot tolerate surgery.

Options include balloons placed in the stomach to fill up space within in the stomach, aspiration therapy which involves placing a device within the stomach that allows release of stomach contents after eating and an endoscopically performed sleeve gastrectomy. Currently at WakeMed, endoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is the only offered endoscopic bariatric procedure.

Helping You Lose Weight & Live a Healthier Life

Obesity is a life-threatening condition and affects many of our population. Our goal at WakeMed is not only to address this serious health problem but to help you identify what weight loss treatments will work best for you.

[1] Hales CM, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Ogden CL. Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2015-2016. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics. Oct 2017.

[2] National Institute of Health

[3] American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

About Ann Chung, MD

Dr. Ann Chung is a board-certified general surgeon who has also completed a fellowship in minimally invasive advanced gastrointestinal and bariatric surgery. Her clinical interests include minimally invasive surgery using endoscopic, laparoscopic and DaVinci robotic techniques, reflux disease, hiatal hernias, bariatric surgery, small and large intestinal disease processes, biliary disease and solid organ pathology.

Request an appointment with Dr. Chung today.