Q&A: Regain Your Health with Bariatric Surgery

Q&A: Regain Your Health with Bariatric Surgery

Providence Little Company of Mary opens a new weight-loss surgery center in San Pedro.

In early 2020, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro opened the Bariatric Wellness Center, joining Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance in offering the latest weight-loss procedures to the South Bay community. We spoke to Malgorzata Stanczyk, MD, medical director, who performs weight-loss surgery in San Pedro with her partner, Andrew Hajduczek, MD.

What kinds of surgical procedures are available here, and how do they differ?

We offer gastric sleeve, gastric bypass and gastric banding, as well as revision of the gastric procedures. The gastric sleeve procedure is the most popular bariatric surgery these days, accounting for 61% of bariatric procedures performed nationally in 2019. In the vertical sleeve procedure, we create a small, banana-shape sleeve by removing about 75% of the stomach, without changing any other part of the intestinal anatomy. Gastric bypass is a more complex procedure in which we create a small pouch out of the stomach and connect it directly to a loop of small intestine, bypassing part of your digestive system.

Both procedures will restrict how much food you take in and decrease hunger by changing neurohormonal and metabolic responses to food. In gastric banding, we place a silastic band around the top portion of the stomach to restrict food intake. We perform our surgeries laparoscopically through a few small incisions. This minimally invasive approach reduces pain and complications and makes recovery faster and easier.

What determines whether patients are candidates for bariatric surgery, and if they are, which procedure is appropriate for them?

Before patients are accepted for surgery, they come to our office for an orientation and consultation. To be a candidate for surgery, the patient must meet the National Institutes of Health criteria for bariatric surgery. They need to have a body mass index greater than 35 or they must be about 80 pounds over ideal weight while experiencing obesity-related medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia or sleep apnea. Other requirements include prior medical attempts to lose weight and lack of active substance abuse. If they meet the requirements, we discuss their options and surgical preferences. If not, we can provide nutritional counseling with proper dietary choices, lifestyle changes, medication and counseling for weight loss.

What other services are offered to support successful surgery? 

Both before and after surgery, we provide free support group services with support group leaders who are patients themselves and have excellent knowledge of the bariatric surgery and postsurgical lifestyle adjustment.

Why should patients feel confident in choosing the program?

I am a board-certified surgeon specializing in bariatric surgery, which accounts for more than 85% of my practice. Together with my partner, we have 45 years of bariatric surgery experience, and I’ve performed more than 2,500 surgeries.

For more information on our bariatric surgery program, call 310-241-4377.