Skip section navigation
It's not the weight you lose, but the life you gain
Get started now.
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.
My family and friends love my new life and they cannot believe the new 'me'
At 5 feet 3 inches tall and 281 pounds, Annie Meyer struggled to keep up with the activity level of her young son, Kody. "I tried everything to lose weight, from doctor supervised diets to joining a fitness club. I was at my wits end!"
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 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:
Unity was one of the first hospitals in the state to open a bariatric center. Our board-certified bariatric surgeons are recognized as experts in the field, and our bariatric nurse clinicians have over 90 combined years of experience in bariatric care. In fact, several of our nurses are bariatric patients themselves.
Unity Hospital has a compassionate, dedicated team of providers that includes bariatric surgeons, physician assistants, bariatric nurse clinicians, bariatric dieticians, and an exercise specialist and support group facilitator. We also work with psychologists who are experienced in working with weight loss patients.
More than 6,000 weight loss surgeries have been performed by the surgeons at Unity Hospital. Our excellent surgical outcomes exceed the national average.
Unity Hospital Bariatric Center does both gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding, vertical sleeve gastrectomy and revisional procedures. Both the LAP band and Realize band brands are used.
Our commitment to your long-term weight loss success begins well before your surgery, and continues long after. It starts with a bariatric nurse clinician who will review your medical history and talk to you at length about your surgery and the lifestyle changes that will follow. After your surgery, you'll stay in a dedicated bariatric wing in a private room. You'll receive your surgeon's pager number, and we encourage you to use it anytime, day or night, if you have a concern. Our support continues for years afterward, with follow-up visits with doctors, nurses, exercise specialists and dieticians.
You're not alone in your journey. Unity Hospital offers more than a dozen support groups throughout Minnesota each month--more than any other program in the state. We also offer an online message board that will connect you to others who have had, or are considering, weight loss surgery.
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.
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.
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,
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:
Non-surgical weight management program
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
Meet our surgeons
Roux en y gastric bypass surgery
"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.
"I didn’t know I was fat, and I didn’t know that the health issues I had were related to my weight. Up until the winter of 1999, I believed I was healthy. That changed when my legs started hurting for no apparent reason."
My family and friends love my new life and they cannot believe the new 'me'
At 5 feet 3 inches tall and 281 pounds, Annie Meyer struggled to keep up with the activity level of her young son, Kody. "I tried everything to lose weight, from doctor supervised diets to joining a fitness club. I was at my wits end! I am a very energetic person but as the weight kept adding up, especially after my pregnancy, I knew something had to be done soon. My health and life depended on it."
Enjoying life after weight loss surgery
Having been at a healthy weight for most of his life, James Snow didn’t anticipate that a career change would eventually lead to his obesity. For years he managed a retail organization and literally ran from morning until night.
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.
My weight got in the way of living my life
“Life changing” is how Krystal Despain of Minneapolis describes her surgical weight loss journey. “To see her living a full life, a life she wasn’t able to live before, inspired me to call Unity Hospital Bariatric Center.” Despain was 27 years old when she had her own weight loss surgery.
"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.
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."
Taking care of Heidi Morrison
Heidi Morrison heard about different surgeries and decided the sleeve procedure would be best for her. Morrison scheduled an appointment and Dr. July had performed the first sleeve procedure at Unity Hospital and after only six months she had lost 70 pounds.
Less to love
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 of Ham Lake is happy to tell anyone considering weight loss surgery: Don't wait. It will change your life.
Lap Band® surgery
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.