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The University of Michigan Adult Bariatric Surgery Program offers a comprehensive and personalized weight loss surgery program designed to help you reach your goals. By performing weight loss surgery through small incisions (laparoscopically) you will recover more quickly and have less risk for complications. Success starts by learning more about obesity, understanding the risks and benefits of surgery and committing to life-long habits to improve your health.

Bariatric Surgeons

Our surgeons are specialized in minimally invasive techniques (laparoscopic surgery) so that you can recover more quickly and with less pain. They are also noted leaders in research in bariatric surgery with a focus on improving quality, safety, basic science and access to care. We offer adult bariatric surgery services at UMHS and VA hospitals. At the University of Michigan, our bariatric surgeons are on-call 24-7 so that you will always have access to a our specialized care.

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Oliver A. Varban, MD, FACS
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Surgical Director, Adult Bariatric Surgery Program
Adult Bariatric Surgeon UMHS

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Jonathan F. Finks MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Medical Director, Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative
Adult Bariatric Surgeon UMHS

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Justin, B. Dimick, MD, FACS
George D. Zuidema Professor of Surgery
Chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery
Adult Bariatric Surgeon UMHS

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Robert W. O’Rourke, MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Adult Bariatric Surgeon VA

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Amir A. Ghaferi, MD, FACS
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Chief, Division of Veteran’s Administration
Adult Bariatric Surgeon VA

Our surgeons participate in the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative (MBSC), a state-wide quality improvement program aimed at making bariatric surgery safe. To learn more about the MBSC, click here.
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Medical Bariatric Specialists

Our Medical Bariatric Specialists provide important medical management and long-term follow of patients after bariatric surgery through the Metabolic Endocrinology and Diabetes (MEND) clinic.

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Elif Oral, MPH, MD
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine
Division of Metabolism Endocrinology and Diabetes (MEND)

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Andrew T. Kraftson, MD
Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine
Division of Metabolism Endocrinology and Diabetes (MEND)

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Nazanene Esfandiari, MD
Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine
Division of Metabolism Endocrinology and Diabetes (MEND)

Bariatric Physician Assistants

Our Physician Assistants (PAs) are specialized in bariatric care. They will obtain your initial medical evaluation and will provide ample information to guide you through your weight-loss journey. Our PAs also offer a preoperative medically supervised weight-loss clinic for UMHS patients to help streamline documentation prior to surgery.

Colleen Buda, PA-C, MPAS
Adult Bariatric Surgery Program Director

Kendra Rogers, PA-C, MPAS
Physician Assistant

Clare Gargaro, PA-C, MS
Physician Assistant

Bariatric Dietitians

Our dietitians are integral to your success. They will perform your initial dietary evaluation and provide nutritional education before and after surgery. We coordinate your one-on-one dietician visits along with our PA and surgeon visits to help save you time.
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Amy Lockwood, MPH, RDN
Lead Senior Dietitian

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Darlene Bellers, MS, RDN
Senior Dietitian


Any life-changing event will challenge your ability to adjust and adapt. We are here to help you through that change. Our Psychologists will perform your initial psychological evaluation and offer recommendations that will be vital to your success with surgery, recovery and long-term weight loss.
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Kristen L. Votruba, PhD, ABPP-CN
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

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David F. Marshall, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Certified Bariatric Nurse

If you are at home and need someone to answer a specific question about your care after surgery all you need to do is call. Our Certified Bariatric Nurse has the knowledge and experience to answer your questions and get you help.

Jennifer Paron, BSN, RN, CBN
Registered Nurse
Clinical Care Coordinator
Certified Bariatric Nurse

Patient Services Coordinators

Our Patient Services Coordinators will help you navigate the steps involved in preparing for your surgery. From initial scheduling to clearing insurance, they are committed to providing a smooth journey through a complex medical system.

Lead Patient Services Coordinator

Patient Services Coordinator

Patient Services Coordinator

Patient Services Coordinator

Patient Community Site

C-Tools is free an interactive website that offers educational materials and resources, program announcements, meeting schedules and a chat room where you can exchange stories, experiences and questions. Recipes, cookbooks, additional websites and mentoring programs are also updated on a continuous basis. You will be provided access at your initial evaluation.

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Support Group Meetings

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Support group meetings are a mandatory part of your success. We offer meetings at different days and times to fit your schedule. Meetings are held locally and are facilitated by one of our clinicians. Meetings are 2 hours long typically and topics range from eating disorders and physical conditioning to plastic surgery and mentorship programs. A list of topics, dates and times are listed on the C-tools website. We encourage you to attend the meeting with your family member or person providing you with support at home.

Mentoring Program

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Before your surgery, our staff can match you with someone who has gone through our program and has had the same procedure that you are interested in. Mentors are individuals who have volunteered to act as supporters and advisors for those pursuing bariatric surgery. They cannot replace a medically trained professional, but can connect with you on a personal level and assist you with their experiences.

Conditioning Program

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is excited to offer an exercise program for bariatric surgery patients as well as personal . This program offers fitness assessments, body composition testing and fitness specialists that will guide you through a fitness routine and understands your unique limitations. Click here for more information.

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The Hunger Within Program

The Hunger Within is a nationally recognized treatment program focused on exploring core reasons for emotional or compulsive eating. To learn more about this 12-week program click here.

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