OREM — A new bariatric surgery program is set to begin at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.

Bariatric surgery, better known as gastric bypass surgery, decreases the volume of the stomach and reduces caloric intake.

The new program, a partnership between Utah Valley Regional and Utah County Surgical Associates, is a comprehensive approach to weight loss, involving a multidisciplinary team of a physician/surgeon, nurse, nutritionist, psychologist and exercise physiotherapist. For best results, patients must maintain lifestyle changes after the procedure and throughout their lives.

The program will be spearheaded by surgeon Dr. David Watts, who has 12 years of experience performing gastric bypass surgeries. Watts said patients who undergo the procedure often have complete cure of their diabetes or other weight-related illnesses.

He said a study published in the Aug. 23, 2007, New England Journal of Medicine reported after watching nearly 8,000 patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery for 18 years, compared to control subjects matched for age, sex and body mass index, death from all causes was reduced by 40 percent after the procedure. Additionally, deaths from coronary artery disease were reduced by 56 percent, deaths from diabetes by 92 percent and cancer by 60 percent.

The Utah Valley Surgical Weight Loss Program will hold a free educational class for interested candidates on Aug. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the Northwest Plaza Clark Auditorium at Utah Valley Regional. For more information, call 357-2294 or e-mail [email protected].