Explore This Program
About the Program
Surgeons in the Mass General Weight Center are members of a multidisciplinary team of obesity experts who are leading the way in providing individualized consultation and innovative obesity treatment, including state-of-the-art medical and surgical programs. Our team includes:
- Secretary/treasurer of the Obesity Medicine Association
- President of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)
- President of the Obesity Society
- Immediate Past President of Integrated Health for the ASMBS
- Member at Large of the Integrated Health Executive Council of the ASMBS
National Leaders in Weight Loss Surgery
Mass General surgeons perform a high volume of weight loss surgeries and achieve excellent outcomes. Each is a board-certified, Harvard Medical School-affiliated surgeon who specializes in treating patients with complex medical disorders related to obesity as well as weight disorders and metabolic disease. According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 11% of our patients undergoing weight loss surgery had an illness before their surgery categorized as major or extreme, compared with a statewide figure of 2%. This specialization requires advanced training and a highly focused clinical practice.
Mass General is a designated Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Blue Distinction Centers are healthcare facilities recognized for their expertise in delivering specialty care.
High Marks in Surgical Quality
The Mass General Department of Surgery and Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness have been recognized for meritorious outcomes in surgical patient care from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP). Hospitals achieve this distinction based on composite quality score in the outcomes in mortality and complications such as cardiac, respiratory, unplanned intubation, ventilator greater than 48 hours, renal failure, surgical site infections and urinary tract infections for all surgery cases.
This recognition reflects the outstanding performance of the hospital’s surgical teams in providing patient care at many levels. This distinction goes to only approximately 10 percent of the 680 participating hospitals entering data into NSQIP.
VIDEO: Improving the Quality of Surgical Care in Metabolic and Bariatric SurgeryMatthew Hutter, MD, MBA, MPH, director of the Mass General Weight Center, medical director of the Codman Center and a professor in surgery, discusses his research on measuring and improving the quality of care in metabolic and bariatric surgery.
Watch the video
At Mass General, we believe it's important to provide safe and effective care. The Department of Surgery tracks many performance measures and compares them to national data.
Care During COVID-19
Our dedicated physicians, nurses and staff are committed to providing the best possible specialty care—safely and effectively. We have taken unprecedented steps to offer virtual visits and ensure procedures are welcoming and safe. Your health is our top priority.
What to Expect
Your surgical evaluation begins with a Weight Center new patient orientation. This is a one-hour lecture led by one of our obesity experts who will explain obesity, the weight center, and both medical and surgical treatments that best fit your needs. You will then receive a call to schedule an initial evaluation by a multidisciplinary team including a psychologist, dietician and in some cases, an internist specializing in obesity medicine.
Pre-surgery Nutrition Program
Your insurance company and/or your Weight Center team may require you to attend a three to six-month pre-surgery program consisting of nutrition and, in some cases, psychology visits.
The Weight Center has developed a pre-surgery program that helps you prepare for surgery both physically and psychologically. Nutrition education is centered on achieving pre-surgery weight loss to reduce surgical risks, understanding a healthy lifestyle and teaching healthy eating habits. The psychological component of this program is focused on providing you the tools and techniques for achieving pre-weight loss surgery goals. This program fulfills the pre-operative requirements of several insurance companies and may be recommended by our team or required before enrolling in our surgical management program.
Pre-surgery “Shrink the Liver” Diet
Studies show that rapid weight loss before bariatric surgery results in significant decrease in the size of the liver. This size decrease makes the surgery technically less difficult and faster, reducing postoperative complications. All patients who are scheduled for weight loss surgery are encouraged to lose some weight prior to surgery, and our dietitians have developed a meal replacement diet specifically designed to induce weight loss. You will meet with a dietitian to individualize this weight loss plan.
The Surgical Management Program
Preparing for weight loss surgery is important, and our program is designed to provide you with the information you will need to succeed in losing weight and in avoiding postoperative complications. You will be required to meet again with your entire team before surgery, as well as attend two group nutrition education classes. During these classes, you will be provided with instructions on your postoperative diet, and how to prepare for surgery.
The Surgical Management Program is designed to prepare you for gastric weight loss surgery and to monitor, guide and support you post-operatively. The six-month post-operative program is divided into two, three-month phases.
During this time, the Weight Center dietitian educates you about the early postoperative changes, including the diet transition from liquids to solid food. The program includes group classes for nutrition education, as well as individual psychology and nutrition visits. Your Weight Center psychologist provides support for necessary behavioral changes.
During this phase, the group nutrition sessions focus on the changes in nutrition and exercise that are necessary for long-term weight management. These sessions and individual appointments are designed to help you support your commitment to behavior change.
All medical and surgical visits are billed to the patient's insurance company. Some components of the program may not be covered by insurance. To learn more about insurance coverage, call 617-726-4400. Weight Center staff are available to answer your questions.
A Multidisciplinary Team Approach to Care
Before and after your surgery, we work with your entire treatment team to design an individualized treatment plan that promotes long-term weight loss. Experts are available for counseling on nutrition, exercise and behavior modification along with medical management of related diseases.
We also offer pediatric evaluation and treatments for obesity in conjunction with Mass General for Children.
Mass General is an accredited member of the American College of Bariatric Surgery Center Network. We offer the following surgical options for appropriate patients seeking weight loss:
- Sleeve gastrectomy (also known as gastric sleeve): An alternative to gastric banding, this leading-edge procedure involves removal of three quarters of the stomach
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: Staples are used to divide the stomach into a small pouch and larger remnant. This procedure may be conducted laparoscopically (a minimally invasive approach that requires only small incisions) or as standard open surgery
- Revisional surgery: This is an option for patients suffering from complications of previous weight loss surgery
In addition, board-certified plastic surgeons in the Mass General Body Contouring Program perform procedures to remove excess skin and reshape the body to its desired proportions following weight loss surgery.
Becoming a Patient
Care begins with learning more about what our center offers through new patient orientation, where you will meet with a team of obesity specialists.
In addition to our surgeons, your multidisciplinary team may include:
- Obesity medicine specialists
- Registered dieticians
Patient Story: Kim's Successful Weight Loss Surgery
- Vice Chair of Clinical Operations, Department of Surgery
- Section Head, Swallowing, Heartburn and Esophageal Disease Program
- Surgical Director, Mass General Weight Center
- Professor in Surgery, Harvard Medical School
- Director of the Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery
- Assistant Professor of Surgery Harvard Medical School
- Director, Surgical Artificial Intelligence and Innovation Laboratory
- Medical Director Bariatric Surgery Center, Salem Hospital
- Department of Surgery
- General and Gastrointestinal Surgery
- Department of Surgery