HealthWatch: Gastric Bypass Surgery

Health Watch

Bariatric surgery is a weight loss surgery that reduces the size of the stomach to help people lose weight. One of the most popular is the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

In healthwatch Chelly Boutott has the inspiring story of how Aurora BayCare Medical Center helped one man lose 500 pounds.

37-year-old Kevin Bottesi is enjoying living a healthy lifestyle, “Life is immensely better I’m like going on hikes, I’m seeing places I thought I would never see again,” said Kevin Bottesi, Manitowoc, gastric bypass surgery patient.

3 years ago Kevin weighed 740 pounds, he had high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, and sleep apnea, “I was basically sitting in my bed all the time so it was really depressing, “explained Kevin, “I was missing kids functions, I wasn’t making it to their games because I was, well I can’t walk that far.”

The breaking point — when he went into respiratory failure due to his weight. Kevin was in the hospital surrounded by his three kids, “My whole family was here basically saying their goodbyes to me because they didn’t think I was going to make it,” said Kevin.

Kevin knew he had to change his life, “You don’t want your kids experiencing that kind of feeling, you know, saying goodbye to their dad when there was absolutely something I could do about it,” said Kevin.

So he turned to bariatric surgeon Dr. Daniel McKenna at Aurora BayCare Medical Center Bariatrics wanting a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, “Making the stomach smaller or rerouting food past part of the stomach in order to induce a state of a lack of appetite,” said Daniel McKenna MD, FACS, bariatric surgeon, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

Kevin thought it would help him lose the weight he needed to to become healthy, “I heard that it was a big success.”

Before Kevin could get the surgery he had to lose some of the weight, “Kevin was so large we needed to shrink his liver in order to be able to see his stomach and perform his surgery safely,” explained Dr. McKenna.

The hospital helped him with nutrition education and he started to exercise, “The education before hand is what we provide them to make sure that when they’re home alone they’re eating the right foods,” explained Dr. McKenna.

And Kevin started to workout, “I was working out 2-3 hours a day in the pool, I was eating everything I was supposed to be,” said Kevin.

A year later, Kevin was down to 490 pounds. However, his weight loss was slowing down so Kevin was ready to get gastric bypass surgery, “I still had the struggles of like temptations and stuff like that, I would still feel hungry,” said Kevin.

“When they have this tool there where they don’t feel hungry, feel full quicker they can lose a substantial amount of weight,” explained Dr. McKenna.

After surgery Kevin had to make adjustments, “You have to eat even smaller portions of what you were eating before,” said Kevin “And the weight was just flying off again.”

Doctor McKenna says they expect most patients to lose about 70-percent of their excess weight so there are many health advantages, “It puts diabetes into remission and sometimes between 75 and 85 percent of patients it treats sleep apnea, hyper tension, gastroesophageal reflux disease,” explained Dr. McKenna.

Today, two years after his surgery, at 240 pounds Kevin is nearly at his goal weight and doing things he never could before, “Now I’m rock climbing,” said Kevin.

Kevin says his weight loss journey to a healthier self was hard but very much worth it, being there for his three kids, “No more high blood pressure so no more pre diabetic, said Kevin, “Every weekend we’re doing something, every weekend we’re hiking, we’re swimming.”

Like any surgery there are risks but Dr. McKenna says they are relatively low.

Dr. McKenna says commitment and yearly follow up visits are very important so people do not gain weight back.

To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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