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Unity Hospital

Bariatric Center

It's not the weight you lose, but the life you gain

Bariatric Center

Get started now.
Call 763-236-2045
or sign up for an informational class.

Back on Track Workshop

For weight loss surgery patients who have experienced weight re-gain. This five hour class offers strategies and support toward health. Offered three times a year winter, spring and fall. Register now.

"It was the best choice I've ever made!"

Stacy liked the close proximity of the Unity Hospital Bariatric Center. "The informational meeting gave a good overview of what to expect both before and after surgery. I really connected with the former patients that spoke about their own journeys," she said. "I felt like if they could do it, so could I."

More than 7,000 people in the North Metro have achieved long-term weight loss, and started a new, healthier chapter of life with weight loss surgery at Unity Hospital. You can do it, too, here at one of Minnesota's first comprehensive bariatric centers.

Are you eligible for weight loss surgery?

Start on the road to long-term weight loss today.

A Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence

Unity Hospital has been designated a Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

Unity was one of the first hospitals in Minnesota to open a comprehensive bariatric center. Since the beginning in 1996, we have helped more than 6,000 patients take a step toward a healthier lifestyle. This success has made our program a model for other hospitals in Minnesota.

Unity Hospital is nationally recognized by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program.

The program accredits bariatric surgery centers that have undergone peer evaluation in accordance with nationally recognized bariatric surgical standards. Bariatric surgery accreditation not only promotes uniform standard benchmarks, but also supports continuous quality improvement.

Our program revolves around your needs

Think of Unity as your personal weight loss support team. Our bariatric nurse clinicians, dieticians, therapists and exercise specialists will be there for you every step of the way. We'll make sure you have the education, encouragement and assistance you need to achieve long-term weight loss and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

We start with a free information session, where you'll learn about the different types of weight loss surgery and your treatment options. You will then meet one on one with a bariatric nurse clinician, who will be your guide in preparing for surgery, and for long after. After your surgery, you'll even receive your surgeon's pager number, just in case you have any questions or concerns, day or night.

Why choose Unity for your bariatric surgery?

More than 6,000 people have chosen Unity for their bariatric surgery. There are many things to look for in choosing a bariatric and weight loss center that's right for you:

  Dedicated team
  Patient success
  Comprehensive services
  Support network
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Over time, it became easier. I’ve adjusted to my new eating habits, including cutting out all sodas. My weight has stabilized and I’m very happy with the changes. Life after weight loss surgery is doable.
Read James' story.

How our program works

We're there for you every step of your journey

Here are the major steps you'll go through as we help you achieve your goals for weight loss.

1. Attend our free information session

This meeting will help you determine if weight loss surgery is right for you, and it is required for anyone interested in pursuing surgery. Classes are held weekly at Unity Hospital, Find an open class time.

2. Complete a health history form

You will receive a health history form when you attend an information session. Be sure to bring the completed form with you when you meet with your bariatric nurse for your first appointment.

3. Meet with a bariatric nurse for a consultation

Your bariatric nurse will walk you through each step in the surgical process and review your healthy history form and insurance criteria. You'll also receive information about our other resources, such as psychologists and dietary consultations.

4. Prepare for surgery

Before your surgery is scheduled, you will need to lose 10 percent of your excess body weight. This helps reduce the risk of surgical complications and will speed up your recovery time. Tobacco-users must be nicotine-free at least 8 weeks prior to surgery.

5. Complete a psychological assessment

This assessment will determine whether you are in the best possible mental health to proceed with surgery at this time. Your psychologist will also help you prepare for surgery and the changes you will face after your surgery.

6. Meet with your bariatric nurse for an in-depth education session

Any questions that you still have will be answered at this meeting.

7. Meet with your surgeon

At this session, your surgeon will review surgery options and prepare you for the day of your surgery.

8. The week before your surgery

You'll need to see your family physician for a pre-operation physical exam within seven days before your surgery date.

9. Surgery

Your surgery will take only a few hours, and you'll be able to return home in 1-2 days. Before you leave the hospital, you'll receive information on what to expect during your recovery, as well as your surgeon's pager number. You can contact your surgeon at any time if you have a question or concern.

10. One-week follow up visit

Your surgeon will meet with you one week after surgery to check your incision and give you further instructions.

11. On-going support

We'll be there in the months and years after your surgery with continuing support you as you embrace a new, healthier lifestyle. Expect to have several appointments in the first year following your surgery. After that, you'll come back to Unity once per year for a follow up appointment. Support groups are available to you at anytime.

Surgery options at Unity Hospital

For more information on the Bariatric Center call,
763-236-2045 or
sign up for an informational class.

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There are many weight loss surgery options you can choose to help you on your path to weight loss. Your surgeon will explain the benefits and risks of each option, and help you decide the best option for your needs.

Surgery options at Unity include:

  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery:
    Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery changes the size of your stomach as well as your ability to absorb calories to help you succeed at long-term weight loss.
  • Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band:
    Adjustable gastric banding, commonly known as Lap-Band® or Realize Band™ surgery, is surgery to limit the amount of food you can eat at one time.
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy:
    A sleeve gastrectomy is a type of weight loss surgery where surgeons remove part of the stomach and resize the remaining stomach to about the shape and size of a small banana.
  • Surgical Revisions
    Patients who have had previous weight loss surgery and have experienced problems might be a candidate for a surgical revision. Common procedures include port revisions or repairs, adjustable gastric band slippage or position problems, and repair of an stomach stapling or gastric bypass procedure.

Non-surgical weight management program

For more information or
to sign up, call
1-866-904-9962 or
register online.

Woman gardening

Changing My Weighs

For morbidly obese patients, weight loss surgery is a proven, long-term solution. But for those who do not qualify for surgery, or are not ready to take that step, there is another option.

Learn how to lose weight in a healthy, safe manner using good nutrition and lifestyle habits which will last you a lifetime. This nine-session course is taught by trained dietitians and nurses with experience with managing weight loss. The first week, each participant will receive one-on-one support in creating a personal weight loss plan, unique to your goals and challenges.

Additional topics include exercise, mindful eating, reading food labels in the grocery store, identifying and managing stress, meal planning, tips for eating healthfully on vacation and at holidays and staying motivated.

Changing My Weighs is for individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher. Determine your BMI.

Cost: $250 for the nine-session series that takes place over 12 weeks
Registration: Call 1-866-904-9962 or register online.
Location: Unity Education Center, 620 Osborne Road NE, Education Center Room 3, Fridley, MN 55432

Meet our surgeons

photo Jeffrey Baker, MD, Surgeon, co-medical director Unity Hospital Bariatric Center

Jeffrey Baker, MD, FACS
surgeon, co-medical director
Unity Hospital Bariatric Center

photo Laura July, MD, Surgeon, Unity Hospital Bariatric Center

Laura July, MD, FRCSC
surgeon, co-medical director
Unity Hospital Bariatric Center

photo Jonathan Gipson, MD, Surgeon, Unity Hospital Bariatric Center

Jonathan Gipson, MD, FACS
Unity Hospital Bariatric Center

Patient stories

Roux en y gastric bypass surgery

Jon Sando

I have much more energy now since weight loss surgery

"My outlook on life today has changed for the better. My food choices are much better, and I can't seem to get enough exercise." This is a far cry from Jon's experience prior to surgery. "I couldn't walk one block without stopping to rest and catch my breath.

Stacy Parker

"It was the best choice I've ever made!"

Stacy liked the close proximity of the Unity Hospital Bariatric Center. "The informational meeting gave a good overview of what to expect both before and after surgery. I really connected with the former patients that spoke about their own journeys," she said. "I felt like if they could do it, so could I."

Bernice Petersen

"Happy, Active and ALIVE!"

With this program, Bernice Petersen literally got her life back. The entire team provides support, not just prior to surgery, but after surgery as well. Their encouragement has helped her succeed with her journey through weight loss surgery.

Joan Tabak

I am living a life that I never had before

Joan Tabak’s journey toward weight loss surgery began at age 39. She had hit 320 pounds – her highest weight ever. Having struggled with extra pounds during her early teen years, her weight soared out of control following a hysterectomy.

Rob Portinga

"I am doing things I never thought possible"

Rob Portinga’s weight loss surgery journey started at Unity Hospital’s Bariatric Center in 2008. At 371 pounds and with a BMI of 53.2, Rob had been dealing with medical issues related to his weight, including high blood pressure for 20 years, sleep apnea and acid reflux.

Sleeve procedure

Linda Hofschulte

I found the person who had been locked inside all my life

Linda had a strong family history of obesity and associated comorbid conditions. Having lost her own mother at the age of 54 from a 30-year battle with diabetes, Linda knew she would likely follow the same path if she didn't make a change.

Bob Jungbauer

I wanted to be a part of a proven successful program

What is life like for Bob today? He is thrilled to have just renewed his wedding vows with his wife of 30 years. A sedentary lifestyle is now a thing of the past. "Life has completely turned around. I feel better physically and mentally.

Ernie Eichberg

I literally have my life back

"It wasn't just the physical reasons I stopped doing the things I loved. That was part of it, of course. I was always out of breath and tired, but just as debilitating was the emotional toll it took. I had really lost my motivation to want to do the things I loved."

Re-found confidence

Jeffrey Erdos

"Before surgery, I really hated cauliflower. Now I find I actually enjoy it! Who would have thunk?"

"I can't really say that any one person in the program stands out, because I think all the folks I worked with have been very helpful and extremely professional. They did me a great service, as well as others who come into the program to seek a better quality of life. I give kudos to everyone!"

A couple's journey

Ken Schamberger

Together, Ken and Kris are 212 pounds lighter!

"Dr. Jeff Baker spoke and readily answered questions. Both my wife and I were very impressed with him and the program's accreditation. We both left that night knowing we were going to have surgery."

Less to love

Pat and Ann LaCourse

Couple chooses weight loss surgery to lose 265 pounds

In December 2005, Ann LaCourse had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass weight-loss surgery at Unity Hospital by Daniel Baker, MD. A few months later, Pat LaCourse also had the procedure performed by Dr. Baker of the Unity Hospital Bariatric Center. In a little more than one year, the LaCourses lost a combined 265 pounds.

Life changing surgery

Richard Izzo

"The surgery will change your life."

Richard Izzo of Ham Lake is happy to tell anyone considering weight loss surgery: Don't wait. It will change your life.

Lap Band® surgery

Nancee Nichols

Feeling younger and more active than ever

Nancee Nichols was always active camping and hiking all over the world; but at age 50, when her weight reached 315 pounds, she started to experience some negative effects.

Karie Henderson

Lap Band® surgery gives Karie Henderson "the lifestyle I had always wanted."

Karie Henderson was never overweight as a child or adolescent. But after she married and had her only child, a son, everything changed.