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Baton Rouge General Opens Louisiana Center for Bariatrics

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  • Written By: Baton Rouge General

BATON ROUGE, La. – Today, Baton Rouge General (BRG) announced the opening of the Louisiana Center for Bariatrics, helping patients achieve successful outcomes through surgical and medical weight loss options. The center is led by Karalyn Bentley, MD, FACS, and Lyndsey Bruno, MD, the only female fellowship-trained surgeons in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery in Baton Rouge, and Drake Bellanger, MD, who specializes in obesity medicine and non-surgical weight loss interventions.

Louisiana Center for Bariatrics’ comprehensive approach sets patients up for long-term success, from weight loss seminars and consultations to surgery preparation and recovery, nutrition counseling and support groups.

“Our patients have made a life-changing, and sometimes lifesaving, decision to create a new, healthier life, and the journey often comes with unique challenges,” said Dr. Bentley. “We’ve built a team that understands the breadth of this decision, and we’re there for every step of the way to make sure our patients have the resources to succeed.”

The center offers robotic gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy surgery for patients who qualify and have been unsuccessful in losing weight through diet and exercise. Weight loss surgery is an effective and long-term treatment for obesity, with an average excess weight loss of 50% to 70%.

The guidelines for weight loss surgery depend primarily on a person’s body mass index (BMI). For years, a person had to have a BMI of 40 to be considered for surgery, but that number has recently been lowered to 30, if there is at least one obesity-related medical condition including diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, or high cholesterol. If a person has a BMI over 35, they are also a candidate. Nearly 43% of adults in the U.S. have a BMI of 30 or higher.

For those who don’t qualify for surgery, Dr. Bellanger helps patients find weight loss success through the latest in medication therapy, nutrition counseling and lifestyle changes. He is one of the few physicians board certified in obesity medicine in the Baton Rouge area, giving patients at the Louisiana Center for Bariatrics a unique perspective and specialized knowledge.

“Weight management treatments have evolved a lot in the past few years, and there are more options available to our patients than ever before,” said Dr. Bellanger. “The struggles with weight and the barriers to weight loss that each patient faces are both unique and complex, including factors like lifestyle, physiology and genetics. We take a personalized approach to each individual, looking at the full spectrum of treatments and tailoring the options to fit their needs.”

Gastric bypass is considered one of the best procedures for weight loss surgery, with patients losing an average of 50% to 70% of their excess body weight and keeping most of it off long term. In this procedure, a small stomach pouch is created, which means patients feel fuller and more satisfied sooner.

The sleeve gastrectomy procedure, also known as the “gastric sleeve,” is the most common weight loss surgery, also with a high success rate. During the procedure, the surgeon staples and removes the outer three-fourths of the stomach, leaving a smaller, banana-shaped or sleeve-shaped stomach.

Louisiana Center for Bariatrics’ surgeons also perform revisions to previous surgeries. For example, patients may need to have their sleeve or bypass revised years following an original bariatric procedure because of weight regain, anastomotic ulcers, hiatal hernia, severe reflux or heartburn, or a dilated sleeve or gastric pouch.

“This journey is exciting for our patients but can feel overwhelming too, and choosing which procedure is best is something we spend a lot of time on with each patient,” said Dr. Bruno. “The decision depends on several factors, like weight, general health, other health conditions, and personal preference.”

A board-certified general surgeon and graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Dr. Bentley completed her residency in general surgery at Methodist Dallas Medical Center followed by a fellowship in Advanced Gastrointestinal Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Bellanger is board-certified in both obesity medicine and general surgery. He graduated from LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans then completed a surgery residency at the University of South Alabama School of Medicine.

Dr. Bruno is a board-certified general surgeon and also graduated from LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. After completing her general surgery residency there, she finished a fellowship in bariatric and minimally invasive robotic surgery at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City.

The Louisiana Center for Bariatrics is located on BRG’s Bluebonnet campus, at 8585 Picardy Ave., Suite 510. Visit or call (225) 763-4903 for more information or to schedule a consultation. To see upcoming weight loss seminars, check out our events calendar.

About Baton Rouge General Medical Center
Baton Rouge General Medical Center is the area’s first community hospital with over 600 licensed beds between three campuses. Baton Rouge General opened its doors in 1900, and has provided the Greater Baton Rouge community with high-quality healthcare for generations. An accredited teaching hospital since 1991, Baton Rouge General is affiliated with several medical school programs, and offers other medical education programs, including a School of Nursing, School of Radiologic Technology, Family Medicine Residency Program, Internal Medicine Residency Program, and Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter @BRGeneral and Instagram @batonrougegeneral.