Weight Loss Surgery in Hawai‘i

Castle’s Surgical Weight Loss Institute

Weight Loss Hawaii Center of Excellence

Castle Medical Center is pleased to announce
that its Surgical Weight Loss Institute and
Steven Fowler, M.D., have been designated a
Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence (BSCOE)
by the American Society for Metabolic
and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).


Please note: Castle Medical Center holds free public information sessions on weight loss surgery each month. Please click on the link to see the schedule.

Please click on “Ending Obesity,” to read an article in the November 5 issue of the Honolulu Advertiser about the experience of celebrity DJ Kutmaster Spaz with bariatric surgery at Castle Medical Center.

Weight Loss Hawaii Medical Director Dr. Steven Fowler

Pictured above is Dr. Steven Fowler, medical director
of the Surgical Weight Loss Institute at Castle.

Offering Hope

Obesity is a complex, chronic disease that affects nearly one out of every three American adults, or about 60 million people, according to the American Obesity Association, an education and advocacy group. Nine million Americans are severely (morbidly) obese.

Factor in weight-related illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, liver disease, and arthritis, and obesity becomes an even more alarming national health issue, accounting for some 300,000 preventable deaths each year.

Locally, statistics from the Hawai‘i Department of Health indicate that in Windward O‘ahu alone, more than 10,000 adults are obese or morbidly obese—a disproportionately large number compared with other parts of the state. And this number is growing by about two percent, or 200 people, annually.

Better Health Through Weight Loss

Bariatric (or weight-loss) surgery has proven to be the best solution for morbidly obese patients aiming for sustained weight loss. Even a ten-percent reduction in body weight, if maintained, can reduce many obesity-related health risks.

Though Castle Medical Center has a long-standing, individualized weight management program, the new Surgical Weight Loss Institute was established to help patients who are morbidly obese manage the health risks of obesity through a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach.

“Our focus is to help patients regain their health through surgical weight loss,” explains Joanne Reid, administrative director. “Physiological, psychological, genetic, and social factors all contribute to the disease, so Castle has assembled a team of obesity and weight-loss experts who can address all of these areas.”

The team includes bariatric surgeons, a psychologist, a physical therapist, a registered dietitian, a fitness specialist, and a nurse coordinator, all of whom are involved in assessing each patient’s health issues and developing an individual weight management plan.

If an obese patient is struggling with life-threatening health risks and unable to lose weight through dieting, medication, behavior therapy, exercise, and other medical treatments, bariatric surgery may be recommended.

Bariatric Basics

Bariatric surgery, which modifies the stomach or intestines to restrict the amount of food one eats or the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs, has been around since the 1950s. It is only in the last ten years, though, that the number of surgeries has grown significantly, due in large part to the development of safer, less invasive procedures. Nonetheless, the procedures are not without risk, and Castle’s bariatric team carefully evaluates the risks and benefits for each patient, as well as the individual’s readiness to make the lifestyle changes that are part of the program.

Generally, the program evaluates candidates for weight-loss surgery if they are between the ages of 18 and 65.

Steven Fowler, M.D., is a bariatric surgeon and medical director of Castle’s Surgical Weight Loss Institute. Board-certified in surgery with a focus in laparoscopic surgery, Dr. Fowler is a graduate of Boston University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

“We offer three types of bariatric procedures at Castle, all of which are performed laparoscopically through small incisions using a camera and instruments,” Dr. Fowler says. These minimally invasive procedures are less painful, result in quicker recovery and fewer complications, and don’t leave large incision scars.

Please click to read more about the three surgical weight loss procedures offered at Castle Medical Center: the gastric bypass, the lap band, and the gastric sleeve.

Rewards, But With Lifestyle Changes

Dr. Fowler emphasizes that none of the three bariatric procedures is a guarantee of weight loss.

“Patients can still ‘cheat’ by continuing to eat,” he says. “To keep the weight off, patients must be willing to make lifestyle changes. That’s why any bariatric surgery program worth its salt is a comprehensive program with physical therapy, psychological, and nutritional components.”

Regardless of which procedure is used, patients can see a dramatic improvement in obesity-related health risks within the first month, including a reduction in medicines for hypertension and diabetes and less sleep apnea. Within a year, 80 to 90 percent of these associated diseases are significantly reduced, if not gone completely, Dr. Fowler says.

On the Road to Better Health

Weight-loss surgery brings radical changes to an individual—both physically and psychologically—and it’s important that patients are equipped with the tools they need to sustain their weight loss and live successfully in their communities.

Following surgery, patients in the program receive twelve months of follow-up care that includes group and individual counseling sessions, nutrition counseling and cooking demonstrations, fitness classes designed specifically for program patients, and peer support groups that help address emotional, behavioral, and other issues. Patients can always get additional support beyond the twelve months.

“It’s very exciting. No one else in Hawai‘i has a program quite like ours,” Reid says. “With Castle’s established Wellness Center, we are uniquely equipped to offer a comprehensive treatment package.”

You can view a video of Dr. Steven Fowler, bariatric surgeon and medical director of the Surgical Weight Loss Institute, by clicking on the link.

For more information, please call Castle’s Surgical Weight Loss Institute at (808) 263‑5176.