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After years of not being able to go on vacation, Shawn went on his first trip in years, enjoying his life after bariatric surgery.

“I haven’t been on vacation for years,” says Shawn Bly of Wilkes-Barre. “I just got back from Atlantic City, where I was able to walk the boardwalk. It was a lot of fun.”

The 33-year-old had bariatric surgery in 2015 when his weight had reached a high of 518 pounds.

“I was overweight all my life. I went through the nutrition and weight management program before, but I never went through with surgery. Then I got to the point where I was sick of being overweight.”

Shawn started the program once again. This time, he had bariatric surgery.

Bariatric surgery changes Shawn’s life

Geisinger bariatric surgeon Anthony Petrick, MD, director of the Division of Bariatric Surgery, performed a biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS) on Shawn. Dr. Petrick is a board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeon specializing in bariatric and minimally invasive esophageal surgery.  

BPD/DS surgery has two major stages. The first stage is very similar to a sleeve gastrectomy. Here, roughly 80 percent of the stomach is removed, leaving a smaller tube-shaped stomach. The second step bypasses most of the intestine by connecting the end portion of the intestine to the duodenum, near the stomach.

Benefits of BPD/DS

This type of surgery limits how much you can eat and reduces the absorption of nutrients, including proteins and fats. BPD/DS has several advantages compared to other weight-loss surgeries, including:

  • Improves gut hormones to reduce appetite
  • Is most effective against diabetes 
  • Allows patients to eventually eat nearly normal-sized meals 
  • Reduces fat absorption by 70 percent or more 
  • Yields greater weight-loss results

For Shawn, the surgery was a success. “I had a dream team,” says Shawn. “From Dr. Petrick to my family physician, Dr. Aliasgar Chittalia, and everyone in between, I had a great experience. Dr. Petrick is a really good guy and a great doctor. He’s thorough. He was always there when I needed him and took care of me if something came up.”

While Shawn suffered with obesity his whole life, he doesn’t have diabetes or high cholesterol.  “I do have back problems,” says Shawn. “And I need surgery on my knees eventually. But now I feel great! If anyone seeing this is considering surgery, I say, ‘Go for it!’ It’s a long-term commitment and it’s definitely not a quick fix, but you’ll reach your goal. I’d absolutely do it again.”

To qualify for bariatric surgery, most candidates must have a BMI over 40.0 or a BMI over 35.0 plus a related health issue, such as sleep apnea or diabetes.

Anthony T. Petrick, MD, is director of bariatric surgery at Geisinger and specializes in bariatric surgery, heartburn, minimally invasive surgery, surgical oncology and cancer. Dr. Petrick sees patients at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre. 

To schedule an appointment, call 800-275-6401 or visit

Shawn Bly post bariatric surgery, shopping in downtown Scranton.

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