Bariatric Surgery Program


Common Bariatric Surgery Questions

Why bariatric surgery?

Traditional weight-loss therapies, such as dieting, exercise, anti-weight medication and behavior modification, have poor long-term success rates. Bariatric surgery is more effective in achieving dramatic long-term weight loss for the morbidly obese.

For a person with obesity to achieve significant long-term weight loss, the body’s weight-regulatory system (or metabolic health) must be re-set so that the body will stop storing excess fat. Surgical intervention is the most effective treatment to accomplish this.

Am I a candidate for surgery?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) established a basic guideline for candidacy. If your weight is in excess of 100 pounds of your ideal body weight and you have a BMI greater than 40, or if you have a BMI greater than 35 with pre-existing co-morbidities, then you have met the NIH's qualifying health criteria for the surgical procedure. For a more detailed explanation, see our Surgical Candidacy section.

What other guidelines for weight loss surgery do insurance companies commonly require?

Common insurance requirements include:

  • Age 18 years or older
  • Previously failed medically supervised weight-loss attempts
  • Understands surgery and risks
  • Acceptable operative risks (for both patient and procedure)
  • Stable psychological conditions
  • Many insurance companies require either a three or six-month “Physician Supervised Diet” within the past 12 months before they authorize bariatric surgery

How much weight can I expect to lose?

Bariatric surgery offers the potential of losing between 40 to 80 percent of excess weight after an 18-month period. The Gastric Bypass and the Sleeve Gastrectomy offer the greatest amount of weight loss during the first year; whereas the Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (LAGB) surgery weight loss usually occurs over a two to three-year period. Although the initial weight loss is important, bariatric surgery allows the patient to effectively maintain long-term weight loss.

Are there risks involved with the surgery?

Any surgery involves a certain amount of risks and possible complications, both operative and postoperative. Our physicians are happy to explain the risks and the benefits of the procedures. Deciding on whether the surgery is right for you involves balancing the benefits of surgery and the improvement of your lifestyle against the surgical risks as well as the risks of continued obesity. You can discuss these concerns regarding surgery either by appointment or at one of our informational seminars.

How do I calculate my Body Mass Index (BMI)?

Click here for the CDC's BMI calculator