South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center Celebrates 25 Years of Success Stories

South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center at Lexington Medical Center is an accredited center for weight-loss surgery from the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Its team includes the most experienced bariatric surgeons in South Carolina. The practice is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Here is one of its success stories.

Lynn Kelly

In 2001, Lynn Kelly was working as a labor and delivery nurse in Columbia in size 4X scrubs. At 5’ 3”, she weighed 299 pounds. 

As a busy 37-year-old working mom and wife, the Richland County woman says she wasn’t following healthy habits. Like many of us, her weaknesses were carbs and sugar.

“I didn’t have health issues, but as a nurse I knew they were coming,” she said. “I always wanted to be healthier, looking and feeling better.”

That year, Lynn underwent gastric bypass surgery at the South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center. She lost 165 pounds in one year. And she’s kept it off ever since. That’s more than two decades of success.

Today, at age 59, she’s a size four.

The Road to Weight-Loss Surgery

“I was a little chubby in middle school and high school,” Lynn said. “Not crazy fat. But I tried dieting along the way.”

It didn’t work.

In college at Winthrop University, Lynn put on more weight. Then she got married, became a nurse and had two children. All the while, she admits to eating the wrong things.

One day, her nurse manager said she wanted everyone to wear matching scrubs. “I was a size 26. I’ll never forget that. I needed the 4X scrubs. That’s the biggest I’d ever been.”

Lynn began researching gastric bypass surgery and found South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center. 

Leading up to her surgery, Lynn met with clinicians from the practice who taught her about the diet and lifestyle changes she’d need to make. Weight-loss surgery is a tool, not a magic quick fix.

“You’ve got to be in it for the right reasons. If you think you’re just going to snap your fingers and not participate, you’re wrong,” Lynn said.

The surgery reduced Lynn’s stomach to a three-ounce pouch. Back then, the procedure included a large abdominal incision – there was no minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery as there is today.

After the operation, portion control became essential.

“If your mind has not made the connection that you can only have a small amount of food when you used to eat a whole pizza, you’ll be sick,” she said. “A hammer won’t drive in a nail if you just lay it there. You’ve got to use the hammer to drive in the nail. Think of the surgery as a tool that you need to make it function for you.”

Cravings are still there. And if you overeat, you can gain the weight back.

Accountability Leads to Success

“I knew if I stayed accountable, I could achieve what I wanted.”

Lynn weighs less than 135 pounds today. She’s been a size 4 for more than 20 years.

“Lynn's success is based on her dedication to maintaining a healthy diet over the years. The surgery works to reset your weight to a healthy level over the year after surgery, said Glen F. Strickland, MD, FACS, of South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center, who performed Lynn’s surgery. “Maintaining that weight is a daily choice. Some people do it and others not so much.”

Lynn’s daily meals include three small portions of foods including grilled chicken, tuna fish, and sugar free gelatin. In addition, she’ll take a bite or two of other foods, then give the rest to her husband.

She only drinks water and coffee. And she exercises on a mini trampoline. 

Lynn is thankful. 

“I’ve been so happy that I’ve been part of the program for almost the entire 25 years it’s been established,” she said. “I wouldn’t do anything differently. And I could not recommend them more highly.”

Today, Lynn is a grandmother to three children.

“You’ve got to know how bad you want it. And I wanted it really bad,” she said. “To be here for my children – and my future grandchildren – who I’m here for now.”


For more information about South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center, visit or call 866-560-4415.

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