January 2012: Gophers offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover weighed 403 pounds. He had a 61-inch waist, a 22-inch neck and a body mass index (BMI) of 50.9. A BMI of more than 40 is considered morbidly obese.

May 2012: Underwent gastric bypass surgery.

May 2013: Limegrover weighs 235 pounds, the same level he's been for more than four months. He has a 42-inch waist, an 18-inch neck and a BMI of 29.0.


• Limegrover had the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure, which permanently divides the stomach into two chambers — one large and one small. The new small stomach pouch can hold only about one cup of food, so a patient feels fuller faster. The surgeon connects the small pouch to the small intestine but bypasses the duodenum, which is where most calories and nutrients are absorbed.

• The surgery is irreversible, so others such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have opted for a reversible procedure, in which an adjustable silicone band is inserted around the top portion of the stomach. Doctors can then inflate or deflate the band, according to need, by pumping saline through a port. While that surgery might be safer, experts such as Dr. James Madura, a bariatric surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, say it has a higher long-term failure rate.

• With the nation facing a growing obesity epidemic, the number of weight-loss surgeries spiked from 28,800 in 1999 to about 220,000 a decade later, according to the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

• Last year, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study of morbidly obese patients with Type 2 diabetes. After two years, the patients who had gastric bypass surgery had trimmed 68 percent of their excess weight, while patients who focused on diet and exercise had trimmed 9 percent of their excess weight. Madura said that study helped reinforce what experts had seen, not just for diabetic patients, but for the morbidly obese population as a whole.