Weight Loss: Knowing Your Options

photo of Dr. Kevin Suttmoeller
Before any weight-loss surgery is performed, Kevin Suttmoeller, DO, works with patients to understand all their options, including nutritional interventions and medications.

When Christy Elsea, a vocal music teacher at Smithton Middle School in Columbia, met Kevin Suttmoeller, DO, she knew he was the right physician for her. Like more than two-thirds of U.S. adults, Elsea struggles with her weight. And she was ready for a change.

Enter Suttmoeller, internist at MU Health Care’s Missouri Bariatric Services.

“Honestly, I feel like I hit a goldmine with Dr. Suttmoeller,” says Elsea, a mother of two. “I’ve seen other physicians who’ve tried to correct one aspect of my weight, but Dr. Suttmoeller has taken the time to go over my options and develop a diet and medication plan that really works for me.”

Elsea has been seeing Suttmoeller since October 2016. Under his guidance, she’s lost more than 80 pounds and counting by adhering to a set diet and taking a prescribed appetite suppressant medication.

Like many people, Elsea’s weight is a battle of the mind. She knows that stress triggers her urges to overindulge, and she knows there’s a cognitive aspect to her health.

“My weight was always an issue growing up,” Elsea says. “If you look at it from a mental standpoint and realize that it’s not something you can conquer on your own, getting help makes it so much easier.”

The team at Missouri Bariatric Services helps patients take control of their health by participating in a safe, comprehensive pre-operative weight management program. Depending on a patient’s weight-loss needs, the team at Missouri Bariatric Services and Columbia Surgical Associates offers both nonsurgical and surgical options to guide them on their journey toward better health.

As the first step of that journey, Suttmoeller works with patients to help them understand their options. Although some may be candidates for weight-loss surgery, others may benefit from nutritional interventions and medications. The program offers online videos, educational resources and other interactive tools to help patients know what route is right for them.

“We take a comprehensive approach to weight loss,” Suttmoeller says. “Unlike other centers, we don’t just perform a surgery to help a patient lose weight. The first thing we’ll do is perform a complete evaluation before any weight-loss surgery is performed. We look at a patient’s baseline health, their history with diet and exercise and any habits they may have that are contributing to their weight. We’re actually treating the whole person and not just one problem.”

For those patients with other health issues, some medications can have unwanted side effects of weight gain. Suttmoeller works to find complementary medications that treat the underlying issues and not just the symptoms. Weight loss — whether through diet, exercise, medication or surgery — can eliminate or lessen the severity of Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and chronic back pain.