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Bariatric Surgery


From how we gained our weight to who we can be without it—we all have our own unique story.

We carry unique burdens. We face unique challenges.

There is far more to our stories than digits on a scale.


From how we gained our weight to who we can be without it—we all have our own unique story.

We carry unique burdens. We face unique challenges. There is far more to our stories than digits on a scale.

Center for Bariatric Surgery

The nationally recognized Center for Bariatric Surgery at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has transitioned to Southwest General Health Center.

Founded at St. Vincent in 1997, the Center was the first in northeast Ohio to achieve national accreditation and was recognized as a national center of excellence for 25 consecutive years. In addition to meeting all necessary criteria as a Comprehensive Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), the Center was recommended for a Best Practice in Patient Education Award, and the staff was applauded as a “dynamic team with excellent program leadership.”

Southwest General is proud to welcome the skilled and dedicated staff from St. Vincent as they relocate to the new Center for Bariatric Surgery at Southwest General. This multidisciplinary team features experienced bariatric surgeons, including program director, Leslie Pristas, DO, FACS, as well as nurses, operating room staff, psychologists, dietitians, patient advocates and more. In their new home at Southwest General, they will continue to work together to provide patients with the individualized care and attention necessary to help them reach their goals.

Additionally, the team and the patients they care for will have easy access to state-of-the art facilities and technology at Southwest General’s Surgical Pavilion and offices in Middleburg Heights, Ohio.

Southwest General is honored to be the new home for the outstanding bariatric and weight-loss care once provided at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. As we welcome both staff and patients, we look forward to continuing the program’s award-winning legacy and to providing the life-changing care that will allow patients to live happier, healthier lives for themselves and their families.

Weight Loss is Complex Because the Body is Complex

FACT: Weight Loss is Hard - Dr. Leslie Pristas

Dr. Leslie Pristas, medical director of the Center for Bariatric Surgery at Southwest General, explains why weight loss is hard and how our bodies have been developed to actually work against diet and exercise.

More Fact or Myth Videos

Am I a Candidate?

Is weight loss surgery right for me? Do I have to be obese to qualify for surgery? What does my Body Mass Index mean? Am I really a candidate? We’ve helped thousands of people who have come to us from a variety of paths in their journey to weight loss.

Many of our patients have gained weight gradually over a few decades.

They are on the edge of medical obesity, and while they have lost some things in their life already, they face deeper challenges if they don’t stop their gradual weight gain. Some of our patients have struggled with weight their entire lives and are reaching the critical crossroads of a health crisis. In our experience, we’ve even seen patients who were once competitive athletes, but their lives changed direction just a few years ago—and a massive weight gain followed.

Everyone has their own unique path, but a basic Body Mass Index calculation can guide your exploration of weight loss options. Enter your BMI information below.

BMI Calculator



Your BMI is:

What does this result mean?

BMI Range Meaning
Under 16 Severely Underweight
Between 16 and 20 Underweight
Between 21 and 25 Healthy Weight
Between 26 and 30 Moderately Overweight
Between 31 and 35 Overweight
Between 36 and 39 Very Obese
Over 40 Morbidly Obese

If your BMI is greater than 35, bariatric surgery is one possible treatment option. If you’re BMI is over 30 and you have diabetes, then you might also consider bariatric surgery as a treatment option. If you fall into these categories, we recommend you continue your exploration of surgical options by completing an introductory seminar online.

For those who have a BMI between 26 and 35, Southwest General also offers non-surgical weight loss options. These personalized programs can get you on the path to better health. Explore those options here.

Regardless of your BMI, a number is not your whole story. In order to treat you, we get to know you. We don’t see you as a number. We want to learn more about you, because that is how we find answers. We invite you to get to know us by attending a seminar or exploring our medical weight-loss options. It’s just one little step to making a big change in your life.


I contemplated surgery for at least five years before doing it. I’d lose 10 pounds then put back on 15. My doctor finally told me I was reaching the point where serious health problems were likely to follow. Surgery changed my life in so many ways. I don’t just feel better—my entire outlook on life has completely changed. — MICHAEL, Lost more than 150 pounds through bariatric surgery


All testing, procedures and surgeries are now being conducted at the Center for Bariatric Surgery on Southwest General's main campus:

Center for Bariatric Surgery:
Southwest General Health Center

18697 Bagley Road
Middleburg Heights, OH 44130

Program offices are in the process of being transitioned to Southwest General. You will continue to see physicians and other providers, dietitians and patient advocates at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center until new offices are completed at Southwest General in 2023.

Office Location:
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center

2322 E. 22nd, Suite #207
Cleveland, Ohio 44115