• Surgical Weight Loss

Weight loss surgery—also known as bariatric surgery—makes surgical changes to your stomach and/or digestive system. These changes limit how much food you can eat and how many nutrients you absorb, leading to weight loss.

By making these changes, weight loss surgery may also reset your body’s “set point,” or weight regulation system, by affecting hormonal signals, resulting in decreased appetite, increased feelings of fullness, increased metabolism, and healthier food preferences.

Learn more about your body's "set point" here.

Obesity is a treatable disease

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery defines obesity as a disease in which fat has accumulated to the extent that health is impaired.

Obesity can lead to many health-related issues. It is a major cause of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health problems. The good news is that obesity can be treated. If you are having a hard time losing weight and keeping it off, you may need more than diet and exercise. 

RAMC's Bariatrics team offers these surgical and non-surgical weight loss options: 

Read more here — Treating Obesity: What are my options?

The Bariatrics Team

Dr. Sarah Pergande specializes in general surgery, minimally invasive surgery, bariatrics and cosmetic body contouring.

The team also includes a physician assistant, registered nurse, registered dietitian nutritionist and health and fitness coordinator.

Upcoming Seminars - ask questions, get answers

  • July 19, 2022 - in-person at RAMC Hospital

  • Sept 13, 2022 - virtual webinar

  • November 15, 2022 - in-person at RAMC Hospital

  • January 17, 2023 - virtual webinar

  • All programs are 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. In-person programs are in the hospital lower level conference room.

Please call the clinic for more information and to register before attending the webinar. Thank you! 

The Surgery Weight Loss Journey at RAMC

Do your research
Learn about eligibility and approval

You will need to contact your health insurance company to determine if they cover bariatric surgery. Be sure to get that coverage in writing. 

Call RAMC's Specialty Group to schedule your appointment with Dr. Pergande. 608-768-3900

You'll discuss your weight loss options, procedures, nutrition, vitamins and supplements, and get your questions answered. 

To expedite your registration process, we ask that you review and complete the following:
We are also pleased to offer the following services:
  • Nutrition Classes
    These classes are part of a one year program. Due to limited seating, we ask one support person per patient. More details provided by the office.
  • Vitamins & Supplements
    Available to you through RAMC Community Pharmacy and RAMC Viking Pharmacy. Samples can also be provided.

Frequently Asked Questions

Discussion Points with Patients and Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I consider bariatric surgery?

A: Patients with a BMI >35 have a metabolic disease. This disease impacts many organ systems and increases morbidity and mortality which can shorten your life span and quality of life.

Q: What are the qualifications for weight loss surgery?

A: The most common insurance and bariatric center requirements include:

  • Patients between 18-65 years old
  • Patients who have previously failed medically supervised weight loss (documentation requirements of failed attempts ranges between 3-12 months,
  • Psychological evaluation prior to surgery 
  • Nutritional consultation
  • No smoking or tobacco products for 8 weeks prior to surgery and no tobacco post-surgery
  • Documentation of no reversible endocrine condition or other medically reversible conditions causing obesity
  • Documentation of no active substance abuse

Q: Will my insurance cover bariatric surgery?

A: You will need to contact your insurance company to see if bariatric surgery is covered in your policy. There are many steps involved in the bariatric process including pre-surgical evaluations, lab work, and nutrition counseling. Be sure to ask if these are covered. Many insurance plans will require a predetermined number of nutrition visits and months of medically supervised weight loss prior to surgery. Make sure you ask how many months are required in your plan.

Q: How long will I be off work after surgery?

A: You can expect to stay overnight in the hospital after your surgery. Longer hospital stays may be needed if any complications occur. Most people return to work within 2 weeks after surgery. You may need additional time off if your job involves heavy lifting. 

Q: Is weight loss surgery safe?

A: The fatality risks for weight loss surgery are ~2%. Both orthopedic and gallbladder surgery have higher rates of risk of complications than weight loss surgery does. Patients have higher rates of morbidity and mortality for staying morbidly obese. Some of the most common complications include dehydration, blood clots in the legs or lungs, and leaks. 

Q: What changes in medications and supplements are required after surgery?
A: Medication dosages for ongoing chronic issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol should be closely monitored. Extended release medications should be changed to regular release formulas.

  • All medications after surgery need to be liquid, crushed or chewable for the first two months.
  • Oral contraceptives may not be fully absorbed after gastric bypass, potentially decreasing their effect.
  • Aspirin, NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, Mobic) and steroids should be avoided.
  • You will be required to take lifelong bariatric specific vitamins, supplements (B12, calcium, iron) and antacids (famotidine).

Q: What changes will I have to make to my eating habits?

A: Committing to bariatric surgery is committing to a lifestyle overhaul. Bariatric surgery is just a tool used to help you change your eating habits for good. In the months leading up to your surgery, you’ll work with our nutrition team to form a plan for healthy eating that’s sustainable for you long term. 

Q: Is my surgery reversible?

A: At Reedsburg Area Medical Center, we are proud to offer three surgical options for weight loss. Depending on the surgery you choose, it may or may not be reversible. Each procedure is discussed in detail at your first bariatric appointment and at our virtual bariatric seminar. 

Q: Will I need cosmetic surgery after I lose the weight?

A: Many people will have excess skin after their surgery, it means you have successfully lost the weight! We do offer cosmetics and body contouring, but keep in mind that most insurance companies will not pay for this service. 

Recipes & Nutrition Information

Farmers Markets are a great resource for locally raised fruits, vegetables and more. RAMC's hosts a farmers market on our front lawn every Friday, May - October, 10 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Guilt Free Hot Chocolate

2 scoops Chocolate protein powder
1 packet sugar free Hot Chocolate mix
8 oz. (1 cup) hot water

Very Berry

1/2 cup Plain Kefir
1/2 cup berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
1/2 cup water

High Protein Jell-o (stage 1, two parts: clear liquids and full liquids)
High Protein Jell-O Mousse
No Bake Key Lime Pie Bites
Mini Cheesecake Bites
Frosted Lemonade
Homemade Hummus (stage 2, soft)
Feta Tomato Frittatas (stage 3)
Southwest Chicken Bowl (stage 3)
Wonton Tacos
Garlic Mushroom Quinoa
Roasted Parmesan Artichoke
Chicken Salad Cucumber Bites
Pumpkin Soup
Mediterranean White Bean & Chicken Soup
High Protein Pasta Salad
Tzatziki Sauce
Stuffed Pepper Soup
Turkey Meatballs
Protein Waffles
Chicken Corn Chowder
Exercise & Physical Activity

Disclaimer – Please check with your provider before beginning any exercise program.

Programs available at RAMC

  • Seniors on the Go
    Typically for those around retirement age. Meets at the Fusch Center.
  • Strong Bodies
    Currently only virtual classes are available. In person classes are full. Facebook account is necessary for virtual classes. Consists of high reps with low weights. Cost: $30-35 for 12 weeks ($35 for new clients; $30 for repeat clients)
  • Phase 2 1/2
    Meets 2x/week in cardiac rehab. One-on-one visit for the first visit. No pre-existing medical condition requirement. Cost: $45 per month
  • One-on-one Guided Exercise Plan
    $45 for a single session that includes instruction and an exercise plan developed especially for you by Jason Noble, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, RAMC Health & Fitness Coordinator. A package of 12 sessions for $480 (saves $5 per session) that would add weekly sessions of exercise instruction and progression. Both of these require the participant to do some exercise on their own.

RAMC Exercise Videos with Jennifer Schneider, RAMC Physical Therapist

    Yoga with Erika

    Reedsburg Wellness Opportunities

    Check with your local city and chamber of commerce to find out what your area offers!


    Additional Services

    Endoscopic Suturing including the Xtack

    Additional Forms for New Patients

    Nutritional Eval

    Sleep Apnea Questionnaire