LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) -- You might be surprised to learn that Gundersen Health System is hitting a milestone by recording their 2500th bariatric surgery. But what is bariatric surgery?
Gundersen Health System bariatric surgeon Josh Pfeiffer said bariatric surgery is a collection of surgeries designed to help someone lose weight and improve overall health.
Pfeiffer said there are qualification's for these types of surgeries. He said they look at a number called a 'BMI,' which is the ratio of someone's height to weight.
"If that number is over 40 then you qualify for surgery. If it's between 35 and 40 and have medical problems, you may qualify and even under 35 in some situations, like diabetes, may qualify as well."
While doctors will take anyone that is qualified for surgery, Pfeiffer said, it's important to understand it isn't just a quick fix.
"This is a lifelong change that involves, not just surgery, but meeting with dieticians, behavioral health specialists and it really does take lifelong changes to make the surgeries work."
Gundersen Health System health officials said if someone is on track after their surgery, they could see big improvements in their health related to diabetes, blood pressure or cholesterol, among many others.