UCI Health weight-loss surgeons give hope to 500-pound woman

Moreno Valley mother begins two-step treatment to get healthy for her family

December 12, 2013

IN THE NEWS: Jennifer Garcia's doctors told the 29-year-old Moreno Valley mother that she needed to lose the bulk of her 500 pounds if she wanted to live to see her young children become adults. When a local surgeon said she was too heavy for a gastric bypass, Garcia turned to the bariatric surgery team at UC Irvine Medical Center, which offers a two-pronged approach to help such severely obese patients.

The first stage was a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, which dramatically reduced the size of her stomach and helped to shrink production of the hormone that triggers hunger, Dr. Ninh T. Nguyen told the OC Register.

The sleeve gastrectomy "can only achieve so much in terms of weight loss," said Nguyen, who leads the medical center's bariatric team. Once Garcia has lost about 150 pounds, Nguyen said she would undergo a gastric bypass, a more invasive but also more effective weight-loss procedure for the heaviest patients.

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