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Weight Loss

Bariatric Surgery

Our Mission is Your Success

Our mission is to provide support to those committed to a healthier lifestyle and improved quality of life through medical and surgical treatment of obesity. When all other methods of weight loss have failed, surgery may be the best option. Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, has proven effective for reducing obesity.

Losing weight provides numerous benefits for physical, mental and emotional well-being. A healthy weight enables a more active lifestyle, and can also be effective in treating conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

Patients need to meet specific qualifications regarding weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), and health issues to be eligible for these procedures.

The CHI St. Alexius Surgical Weight Loss Program

Losing weight through bariatric procedures involves more than surgery. It requires changing your life by changing your lifestyle. That's why Dr. Brandon Helbling and CHI St. Alexius Health have partnered to form the CHI St. Alexius Surgical Weight Loss Program, the most comprehensive weight loss surgery program this region has to offer.

In addition to our experienced, board-certified surgeon, our complete bariatric services include experts in weight management and health optimization, along with streamlined, simple to access education and supportive post-operative programs designed with you AND your busy lifestyle in mind.

We work with you and your primary care provider every step of the way to ensure that your care is tailored to your individual needs and to help you achieve optimum results.



For more information about bariatric surgery watch these Treat Your Obesity whiteboard videos from the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).



Obesity Defined
A life-long, progressive, life threatening, genetically-related, costly, multi-factorial disease of excess fat storage with multiple comorbidities (obesity related health conditions).

Magnitude of the ProblemHeight Weight Chart

  • 65% of Americans are overweight 
  • 6 to 10 million Americans are more than 100 pounds overweight
  • It can reduce a person's life expectancy by 20 years
  • It is the second leading cause of preventable death in America killing 300,000 annually

Morbid Obesity Defined
Clinically severe obesity at which point serious medical conditions occur as a direct result of the obesity (defined as greater than 200% of ideal weight, greater than 100 pounds overweight, or a body mass index greater than or equal to 40).

Obesity Related Co-Morbidities

  • Adult Onset Type II Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Cardiac disease
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Fatty Liver
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Hernia
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Hypertension
  • Infertility problems
  • Menstrual irregularity
  • Premature death
  • Respiratory disease (sleep apnea)
  • Stress Incontinence
  • Venous Insufficiency

Body Mass Index
Calculated as follows:  (Weight ÷ Height2) x 703 = BMI 
To calculate your Body Mass Index, visit CDC-Body Mass Index.

Info Sessions Weight Loss

Dr. Brandon Helbling and the Brightside team are here for you when you are ready to learn if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery. Call 701-877-2020 for more information.

Procedures offered include the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, Sleeve Gastrectomy, and revisions/conversions of bariatric procedures when other efforts have failed. Insurance and eligibility can be discussed with our team.

Dr. Helbling’s team is located at the Brightside Surgery and Weight Loss Center on the second floor inside CHI St. Alexius Health (310 N. 10th St.)

Contact us at 701-877-2020 for more information and to get started on your journey to wellness!

Roux en Y Gastric BypassAs the most researched and considered the "gold standard" in bariatric treatment, gastric bypass is routinely performed laparoscopically, which is minimally invasive.

It is routinely performed laparoscopically, which is minimally invasive. The procedure involves the cutting and stapling of the stomach and bowel, along with a bypass of a portion of the digestive tract.

The initial weight loss is rapid. Good long term weight loss is achieved through a combination of restriction of food intake capacity and a reduction of food absorption. As with all bariatric procedures, follow-up is essential to ensure proper nutrition.

Sleeve GastrectomyThis procedure reduces the stomach's volume and also eliminates the part of the stomach that produces the hormone that stimulates hunger. Approximately 85 percent of the stomach is removed, with the remaining stomach volume measuring around 2 to 5 ounces. Other than the reduction in volume, the stomach tends to function normally, so most foods can be consumed, but in small amounts.

Because this procedure doesn't involve intestinal bypass, it's a good option for people with existing conditions such as anemia or Crohn's disease. It can be performed laparoscopically on most patients, even those with a high BMI. After the initial weight loss, patients on the higher end of the BMI scale may need a second-stage procedure to lose the remaining weight.

Bariatric NutritionOur Bariatric Nutrition Program gives you all of the tools to help you be the most successful with your bariatric surgery. All of the surgeries require lifestyle and behavior changes in the area of nutrition and physical activity. The surgery will help force you to make some behavior changes, but other changes will require a conscious effort on your part. Our nutrition team will help you determine which changes you will need to make as well as offer tips and suggestions to help you maximize your weight loss.

The pre-operative nutrition materials will explain the pre and post-surgery diet. We will discuss foods allowed and foods to avoid in order to reduce the risk of complications post-operatively. We will discuss the diet progression, required supplements to optimize your health, and the basics of what your regular diet will eventually look like. You will have unlimited opportunity to ask any questions or voice concerns regarding eating after surgery. You will be given detailed instructions to help you follow the diet progression pre and post-surgery.

Post-operatively, you will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a licensed registered dietitian. You will receive helpful notes, recipes, nutrition highlights and exercises. We will discuss calorie and protein needs, meal planning, dining out, food logs, exercise, and behavior modification strategies. The goal of our post-op nutrition program is to provide you with all of the tools and information you need to be successful with long-term weight loss and weight management following surgery.

The CHI St. Alexius Surgical Weight Loss team is dedicated to your weight loss success. It includes surgeons, mental health professionals, licensed registered dietitians, registered nurse, coordinators and support staff from Brightside Surgery and Weight Loss Center and CHI St. Alexius Health.


  • Surgeon
    Brandon Helbling, MD, FACS, FASMBS
  • Physician Assistant
    Kristen Scholl, PA-C
  • Bariatric Nurse Navigator
    Paula Lubale, RN
  • Licensed Registered Dietitian
    Jenny Schmidt, RD, LRD, CDE 


Is weight loss surgery reversible?
Gastric Bypass - No.
Lap Band - Yes.
Sleeve Gastrectomy - No.

Is there guaranteed success?
No. These surgeries can be defeated by falling back into old patterns.

Will you take my gallbladder out when you do my surgery?
No. We do not remove healthy gallbladders. If you have evidence of stones or disease it will be removed.

What are the age limits for these surgery?
18 is the youngest. Patients as old as 65 have had these surgeries, however, all patients are individually considered.

When can I go back to work?
Based on the individual, procedure and type of work you do.

When can I drive?
When off of narcotic pain medication.

When can I exercise?
Walking is recommended in moderation immediately after surgery. 4-6 weeks for more intense exercise depending on which surgery you choose.

Can I drink alcohol?
We don't encourage alcohol consumption due to carbonation and intake of empty calories.

Am I going to have loose skin after I lose weight?
Probably. Reconstructive surgery may be an option for people who experience an excessive amount of loose skin.

We know that patients participating in weight loss surgery benefit from support received from many sources - including family, friends, physicians and the entire medical team. Also important is the support that patients get from others, who like themselves, have actually experienced weight loss surgery.

Studies have shown that bariatric patients who regularly attend support group meetings and follow up with their surgeon have the greatest long-term success. We offer a support group virtually via Zoom each month with a variety of topics to help you on your weight loss journey. Meeting virtually will allow you to participate and receive support no matter how far away you live. Topics include: snacking, portion control, holiday success, exercise, vitamins & supplements, reconstructive surgery and others.

Join Certified Bariatric Support Group Leader, Jessica Miller, RN for these fun and informative sessions. For more information, and to be added to the unique monthly support group invitation links, please call Jessica at 701.530.5189 or email [email protected].

Am I qualified for weight loss surgery?
To qualify for surgery, a person must be at least 100 pounds overweight and have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater, or have a BMI of 35 or greater with two or more actively treated diseases related to obesity, such as diabetes, hypertension or arthritis.

Body Mass Index is calculated as follows:

To calculate your body mass index, visit the CDC - Body Mass Index.

Qualifying for surgery is a thorough process, with patients receiving a number of health assessments. Attendance at education classes is mandatory.

Will my insurance company pay for weight loss surgery?
When considering weight loss surgery, it is extremely important that you first check with your insurance company regarding eligibility and to determine if there are any exclusions in your policy. It is a good idea to have your Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated before making the call. If your insurance company will not pay for weight loss surgery, pre-pay options may be available.





The Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program has designated St. Alexius Medical Center as a Comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Center. Dr. Brandon Helbling of Brightside Surgery and Weight Loss Center perform surgical weight loss procedures at this MBSAQIP-accredited center. Earning this designation signifies St. Alexius Medical Center's ability to consistently meet high standards of safe care for bariatric surgery patients.

Blue DistinctionCHI St. Alexius Health has been designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery® by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Designation as Blue Distinction Centers means this facility's overall experience and aggregate data met objective criteria established in collaboration with expert clinicians' and leading professional organizations' recommendations. Individual outcomes may vary. To find out which services are covered under your policy at any facilities, please call your local Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plan.
Your initial consultation is free.
For more information, contact the Bariatric Nurse Navigator at 701.877.2030, toll-free 800-472-2113 ext. 4754.