Staten Island Teacher Loses 90 Pounds after Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Jennifer Vitulli chose to travel to New Jersey for weight loss surgery with Dr. Adeyeri after a friend’s firsthand recommendation.

“As I was approaching my 50s, my weight began to affect my health,” recalls Staten Island fourth-grade teacher Jennifer Vitulli. “I watched my friend Lisa lose so much weight after her weight loss surgery that it inspired me to follow in her path.”

Lisa Johnson had also traveled from New York City for weight loss surgery performed by board-certified bariatric surgeon, Dr. Ayotunde Adeyeri, who is also the medical director of the Institute for Weight Loss at Hackensack Merdian Health Old Bridge Medical Center.

Jennifer, who battled weight issues most of her life, earnestly tried all the traditional diet programs, including multiple efforts with Weight Watchers, and even traveled to Manhattan to see a high-end dietitian. The outcome was yo-yo success—weight lost and weight eventually regained.

Finishing a bariatric journey with confidence and determination

“Five years ago, I consulted with a bariatric surgeon here on Staten Island, but I left feeling like a number, not a person.” Additionally, the follow-up funneling of pre-op paperwork was disorganized and laborious.

However, her consultation with Dr. Adeyeri was markedly different. Jennifer says her visit left her feeling motivated and excited that she could renew her health in time for her 50th birthday. In addition, the pre-op process and communication with Hackensack Meridian Health was ‘easy, efficient and seamless.’

Since her complication-free gastric sleeve surgery in August 2022, Jennifer has lost 90 pounds and is inches away from a ‘normal’ BMI for the first time in her life. Most of the weight was lost during the first six months after sleeve surgery. “I may go for a 100-pound weight loss, but I feel great now.”

Jennifer said the weight loss has been a tremendous boost to her overall quality of life. Before surgery, she experienced chronic pain in her back, knees, ankles and ongoing gastrointestinal problems. Emotionally, the weight loss has helped Jennifer become more social and physically fit.

“Before surgery, I felt like an 80-year-old woman. Today, I feel 20 years younger now that I’ve lost the weight, and that’s no exaggeration.”

Jennifer’s colleagues at her elementary school have taken notice of her success and asked her for details about her surgery experience. She notes that her drive to see Dr. Adeyeri in Holmdel or Old Bridge, NJ is about 30 minutes from home and, ironically, it is faster than a drive to a Staten Island-based healthcare system.

We asked Jennifer for her firsthand advice to share with others considering bariatric weight loss surgery:

“Do your research about the surgery and choose your surgeon wisely.

Even before surgery, join bariatric surgery support groups, either online, on social media or in person. You learn so much from listening to other people’s experiences. Early on, they will help you and after surgery, you will help those who come after you. The support group helped me get a clearer picture of the overall journey from a patient’s perspective, so I knew what to expect.”

To find out more about surgical weight loss–gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, gastric band insertion or removal, bariatric revision or duodenal switch, call practice manager Natasha at 732-217-3897to learn more and schedule a private consultation to talk with the doctor about your health and weight loss goals.