Morbid Obesity is a complex disease and solution options are confusing. The Kona Metabolic & Bariatric Program team offers a comprehensive weight loss program including medically managed and surgical weight loss options. This collaboration between Kona Community Hospital and Ali`i Health Center offers weight management options previously unavailable on Hawaii Island.
Our team is here for you.
On island ~ all the time.
In the United States, around 15.5 million people suffer from severe obesity, according to the National Institutes of Health, and the numbers are increasing. Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks. Metabolic and bariatric surgical procedures have proven to be effective in the reduction of comorbid conditions related to severe obesity.*
Adjustable gastric banding surgery involves the
placement of a silicone adjustable gastric band around
the top portion of your stomach. This procedure can
be reversed more easily than other weight loss
surgeries and is adjusted based on your progress and
your specific nutritional needs. Adjustable gastric
banding allows you to lose weight gradually by
reducing the amount of food you can intake.
Adjustable gastric banding is considered the least
invasive of all weight loss surgeries, as no cutting,
stapling or stomach re-routing is involved. When
completed laparoscopically, adjustable gastric band
patients experience less post-operative pain, reduced
hospital stays and increased recovery time.
Gastric laparoscopic bypass surgery, also referred
to as Roux- en-Y, is the most frequently
performed weight loss surgery in the United
States. Gastric bypass surgery works by changing
the anatomy of your digestive system. This
surgical weight loss procedure limits caloric intake
and also helps decrease some of the hormones
that stimulate appetite. Your bariatric surgeon will
create a small pouch at the top of the stomach
and then connect it to a portion of the small
intestine. Additionally, gastric bypass surgery
can be completed laparoscopically with smaller
incisions, less blood loss, fewer complications
and often, a quicker recovery.
By decreasing the stomach size and bypassing a
part of the intestines, gastric bypass surgery
induces faster weight loss. The remainder of the
stomach is not removed, but by bypassing it, it
can no longer act as a reservoir for excess food.
The gastric bypass procedure has demonstrated
added health benefits beyond weight loss as
many patients also experience lower blood
pressure, improvement in sleep apnea, acid
reflux disease, diabetes control and joint pain.
Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Center Specialists
Nathan Tomita, D.O., MPH is the Kona Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Center Program Director. He attended medical school at Michigan State University School of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing, Michigan. He completed his residency in general surgery at the Henry Bi-County Community Hospital in Warren, Michigan. Before joining Ali`i Health in 2012, he was previously president and CEO of Mid-Michigan General Surgery, and also chief of surgery at Memorial Healthcare Center. He has performed hundreds of surgical weight loss procedures, most using minimally invasive, laparoscopic techniques. Dr. Tomita specializes in general surgery, bariatric surgery, women’s breast health, and an incisionless procedure for the treatment of GERD.
Ly Gau, D.O. Medical Program Director, attended medical school at Michigan State University. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Michigan State University/ Genesys Regional Medical Center and was a fellow in geriatrics at the University of Michigan Health System. Before joining Ali`i Health in November 2011, she was a geriatrician, long term care and hospice medical director at the Memorial Healthcare Center in Oswosso, Michigan. She is a member of the American Geriatric Society and the American Osteopathic Association. Dr. Gau is board certified in geriatric medicine and internal medicine with the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine.
Maria Oka, APRN, graduated with a master of science in nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with specialty as a family nurse practitioner. She attended the University of Washington’s Wound Care Management Program in Seattle, where she became a certified wound care nurse. Before joining Ali`i Health in July 2009, she worked as a nurse practitioner/wound care specialist in a general surgery clinic affiliated with Auburn Regional Medical Center in Auburn, Washington. Maria is certified with, and a member of, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
Cheryl Gomes, RD graduated with honors from the University of Arizona with a bachelors in nutrition. She completed her dietetic internship at University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. She worked as a diet tech during school and as a dietician after graduating at a long term care facility in Tuscon. Later, she was the primary gastric bypass dietitian at a center of excellence located in the Southcrest Hospital. Cheryl moved to Hawai`i in 2005, and in addition to her work with Ali`i Health, she also works as a dietician at Life Care Center of Kona.
During sleeve gastrectomy surgery, your bariatric
surgeon will remove approximately 75 to 85
percent of your stomach, maintaining the
remainder of your digestive tract. Sleeve
gastrectomy procedures preserve the natural
continuity between the esophagus, stomach and
small intestine, so malabsorption of nutrients,
vitamins and minerals does not occur.
Sleeve gastrectomy surgery is performed
laparoscopically. Patients who have laparoscopic
gastric surgery typically experience reduced
hospital stays, smaller incisions, less scarring,
and often a quicker recovery than traditional