Darol 160lb. Weight Loss
Candelaria 33lbs. Weight Loss
Kandis 85lb. Weight Loss
Jeanne 40lbs. Weight Loss
Randall 100lbs. Weight Loss
Meet our Expert Surgeons
Walter Medlin, MD, FACS
Walter Medlin, MD, FACS
His surgical residency training was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Minneapolis, Minnesota with a research project in arteriovenous fistula. He later did advanced training in Minimally Invasive Surgery and Bariatrics in New York and Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh, he was mentored by Dr. Daniel Cottam. He has also sought extensive additional training in Flexible Endoscopy, Colon surgery, and Hernia surgery.
In the past 2 years, he and his team in Billings, Montana performed over 40 Da Vinci Robotic procedures for Gallbladder disease, Sleeve Gastrectomy, Gastric Bypass, GERD (reflux) and Hernia. He also performs colonoscopy.
Walt has completed over 1500 bariatric procedures, and in 2008 underwent sleeve gastrectomy himself! He has battled weight since the second grade, reaching over 300 pounds at his peak.
Walt is an active advocate, serving on the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) board of directors, and with the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) as a state chapter president and on Access to Care committee. He has visited Washington DC several times to educate lawmakers.
Walt loves the outdoors, especially motorcycles, climbing, snowboarding, and kiteboarding. With his weight now around 200 pounds, it is much easier to do the activities he loves!
Daniel Cottam, MD
Daniel Cottam, MD
After leaving his residency, Dr. Cottam completed a two-year fellowship at the prestigious Mark Ravitch ⁄ Leon C. Hirsch Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. During his time there, he performed hundreds of bariatric surgeries and groundbreaking research on inflammation in obesity, diabetes and bariatric surgery, and the training of bariatric surgeons. He also helped pioneer the sleeve gastrectomy as a weight loss procedure.
Dr. Cottam began practicing in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he specialized in bariatric surgery (including gastric bypass and laparoscopic adjustable banding), abdominal wall reconstructions, and complex revisional bariatric surgery. He was one of the first surgeons in the nation to begin doing revisional endoscopic bariatric surgery. While in Las Vegas, he helped teach numerous physicians how to perform bariatric surgery safely and effectively. He also served as a professor of surgery at Touro University Medical Center.
Dr. Cottam is the first surgeon in the United States to perform the single anastomosis loop duodenal switch, and along with Mitch Roslin of the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, he pioneered this procedure in the United States. This procedure has revolutionized the care of obesity and drastically reduced complication rates. Currently, he serves as a master consultant for Medtronic and teaches, lectures, and proctors surgeons from all over the world. He has taught surgeons from Australia, India, New Zealand, Europe, Duke, the University of Nebraska, and the Cleveland Clinic along with hundreds of others. Dr. Cottam has been recognized as a Center of Excellence Surgeon since 2005. He is proud to offer comprehensive medical care to the bariatric population in the intermountain west.
Bariatric Surgery FAQ
Am I A Candidate For Weight Loss/Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery may be right for you if:
- Your BMI is 40 or higher. (Use our BMI Calculator)
- Your BMI is 35 or higher and you also suffer from one or more health problems such as Type II Diabetes or Hypertension.
- Your BMI is between 30 and 35 and you also have significant weight induced comorbidities.
- You have been overweight for more than 5 years.
- Your serious attempts to lose weight have had only short-term success.
- You do not have any other disease that may have caused your obesity.
- You are prepared to make substantial changes in your eating habits and lifestyle.
- You do not drink alcohol in excess.
- Weight loss surgery: Patient results may vary. Consult your physician about the benefits and risks of weight loss surgery.
Will My Insurance Cover Weight Loss/Bariatric Surgery?
When Is Someone Considered Morbidly Obese?
Am I At A Greater Risk For Other Diseases If I suffer From Morbid Obese Disease?
What Are Some Health Conditions Related to Obesity?
- Premature Death: New research suggests as many as 18 percent of all deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to obesity, which would ratchet up the toll to about 450,000 per year. Patients who undergo bariatric surgery may experience substantial weight loss. Maintaining a healthy weight has been shown to correlate with a reduced risk for other diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- Type 2 Diabetes: Approximately 80 percent of people with diabetes are overweight or obese. It doesn’t take much weight gain – just 11 to 18 pounds – to double your risk for type 2 diabetes. By losing weight, you may be able to reduce your risk for diabetes. Patients who have already developed diabetes may be able to better control their disease by dropping to a healthy weight range. Many post-bariatric patients are able to stop taking diabetes medications altogether.
- Heart Disease: Overweight and obese individuals (BMI of 25 or more) are at an increased risk for heart disease, including heart attack, sudden cardiac death, and arrhythmia. Also, hypertension is twice as prevalent in obese adults as it is in healthy adults. By losing weight, lowering blood pressure, and reducing cholesterol, you may be able to lower your triglyceride (blood fat) levels. Lowering these levels reduces the amount of fatty plaque that builds up in your arteries, thereby lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Cancer: Overweight and obese individuals have been shown to be at an increased risk for various cancers, including colon, prostate, kidney, gall bladder, and endometrial cancer. Women who gain 20+ pounds between age 18 and midlife are at twice the risk for postmenopausal breast cancer. Whether you decide to pursue weight loss through surgical means or other medical treatments, losing weight may help reduce your risk for certain types of cancer.
- Heartburn: Obese and overweight individuals are at a higher risk for having heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Not only is heartburn uncomfortable, but it can develop into a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus in 10 to 15 percent of patients who have mild symptoms. This condition can lead to esophageal cancer. By reducing abdominal weight, you can relieve pressure on the stomach, thereby lowering your risk factor for gastroesophageal disease and esophageal cancer.
- Reproductive & Child-Birthing Difficulties: Obese mothers are at an increased risk for gestational diabetes, death, and complications; they are at 10 times the risk for high maternal blood pressure. Babies born to obese women are more likely to have a high birth weight, and therefore more likely to be delivered via Cesarean section. These infants are also at greater risk for having neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Having weight loss surgery at least one year or more before becoming pregnant can be one of the healthiest decisions you make for yourself and your future child.
- Osteoarthritis in Weight-Bearing Joints: According to the Surgeon General, “For every 2-pound increase in weight, the risk of developing arthritis is increased by 9 to 13%.” Studies have shown that losing as little as 11 pounds can reduce the risk of knee osteoarthritis in women by 50%.
- Depression: Clinically severe obese individuals frequently suffer from depression and social anxiety. At the Surgical Weight Loss Center of Utah, patients work with a licensed psychologist, who helps with the psychological, social, and emotional angles of extreme weight loss. With regards to mental health, patients who undergo bariatric surgery typically exhibit cognitive, affective, and physiological improvement.
- Urinary Stress Incontinence: Urinary stress incontinence may be caused in part by relaxed pelvic floor muscles and excess abdominal weight, which puts pressure on the bladder. Many patients who undergo surgical weight loss regain strength in their pelvic floor muscles (in addition to dropping weight in the abdominal region).
- Sleep Apnea & Breathing Problems: Both sleep apnea and asthma have been shown to be more prevalent in obese individuals. Sleep apnea is typically more common in obese individuals because of fat deposits in the tongue and neck (compounded with sleeping on the back). Both surgical and conventional weight loss treatments have been shown to help reduce instances of sleep apnea.
- Gastroparesis: Normally, the stomach contracts to move food down into the small intestine for additional digestion. The vagus nerve controls these contractions. Gastroparesis may occur when the vagus nerve is damaged and the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not properly function. Food then moves slowly or stops moving through the digestive tract. There is no cure for gastroparesis but there are treatment options that can control the symptoms of chronic vomiting and nausea.