610-378-2000 610-378-2000

Bariatric Surgery

Penn State Health St. Joseph’s Bariatric Surgery Program offers weight-loss operations and other treatments to improve your health and help you live longer.

Bariatric surgery is an option for people who are over age 18, are 100 pounds or more overweight and have exhausted other efforts to lose weight through diet and exercise.

For more information click here or call 610-378-7900.

About Bariatric Surgery

Obesity is a condition of consistent and uncontrollable weight gain. Obesity worsens your health, as you may develop diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or arthritis, among other problems. Obesity also increases your risk of dying, compared to someone who is not obese.

Find your BMI

Changes in your diet and behavior, along with exercise, should always be the first option to losing weight. However, these methods may not work in the long run, and you might find that you have gained back much of the lost weight.

The goal of bariatric surgery is to give you a powerful tool to lose weight and keep it off. Most people lose up to a third of their body weight and get significant improvement in the medical problems that are related to their weight, like diabetes and sleep apnea.


Our bariatric surgery program features an individualized approach that consists of the following:

  • Comprehensive initial evaluation by a surgeon
  • Comprehensive care coordination by a nurse before and after surgery
  • Education about surgery, with support for both the patient and family
  • Medically supervised diet before surgery (required by some insurances)
  • Nutrition counseling and education by a registered dietitian prior to and after surgery
  • Commitment to the long-term support and care of our patients after the operation

Types of Weight-Loss Surgery Procedures

Sleeve Gastrectomy

The sleeve gastrectomy is the most common operation for weight loss. During this operation, a narrow tube of stomach is created by stapling, making the stomach about the size of a small banana. The outer part of the stomach is completely removed. This operation is done laparoscopically or robotically, through a few small incisions.

The advantages of the sleeve gastrectomy are that it is a quicker operation than the gastric bypass and does not involve any rearrangement of the intestines. Also, patients feel less hunger after the sleeve gastrectomy.

Compared to the gastric bypass, overall weight loss and improvement in medical problems are similar.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery involves stapling your stomach to make it smaller (about the size of an egg), then attaching the small stomach directly to your intestine. Gastric bypass surgery works by decreasing the amount of food you eat but also by decreasing the amount of calories that your body absorbs from food.

At Penn State Health St. Joseph, almost all gastric bypasses can be performed laparoscopically or robotically, using several small incisions. As a result, patients usually have less pain, quicker recovery and fewer complications.

Both sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass are done in combination with counseling on nutrition and eating behaviors.

Revisional Surgery

Penn State Health St. Joseph’s bariatric team also performs revisional bariatric surgery.

If you had a previous bariatric surgery and would like to be seen by our team at St. Joseph Medical Center, call 610-378-7900 and speak with the program coordinator. Please make every effort to have a copy of your operative report from your bariatric surgery sent to our office prior to your consultation with the surgeon.

National Expertise

Dr. Allison Barrett is the director of bariatric surgery at Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center. She co-authored “The SAGES Manual of Bariatric Surgery,” which serves as a teaching tool for physicians around the country. She speaks at national conferences, is board certified and is a fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. She is trained specifically in minimally invasive surgery, including the use of robotic surgery.

Dr. Barrett uses Enhanced Recovery protocols for her bariatric surgery patients. With these protocols, patients are up and walking soon after surgery, their pain is minimal, and they return to their normal lives more quickly after their operations.

She works closely with a nutritionist, a bariatric program coordinator and a medical assistant, as well as mental health, pulmonary and cardiology groups, to provide personalized care for each patient. Penn State Health St. Joseph places vital importance on direct access to the surgeon and one-on-one care throughout the process of preparing for surgery and recovering after it. The dedicated bariatric team provides the resources, education and support you need to achieve successful weight loss.