Overview

Overview

Am I a candidate for weight loss surgery?

If you're significantly overweight and want to make a lifestyle change, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery at Cleveland Clinic Akron General.

Research supports the benefits of weight loss surgery for those with a BMI between 35 and 39.9 with obesity related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and other obesity related conditions. You could be a candidate for surgical weight loss if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You are more than 100 lbs. over your ideal body weight
  • You have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40
  • You have a BMI of over 35 and are experiencing severe negative health effects, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, related to being severely overweight
  • You are unable to achieve a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time, even through medically-supervised dieting

Calculate Your BMI

We have provided a BMI chart to help you determine if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery at Cleveland Clinic. If you have a BMI of over 35, then you could be considered for weight loss surgery.

BMI Chart

Considering a bariatric weight loss procedure?

In-Person Bariatric Seminars

Our seminar designed to help you make an informed decision about weight loss surgery. Listen to one of our Cleveland Clinic surgeons describe morbid obesity and the surgical options used to treat this disease.

Online Bariatric Seminars

Our online seminar provides the same information patients receive at the in-person seminar, available for you to complete at your convenience. Once you've watched the presentations, you will be given questions to ensure you have understood the material provided.

Join an In-person or Online Seminar
Why choose the Bariatric Center?

Why choose the Bariatric Center?

MBSAQIP Accredited Center Seal | Cleveland Clinic
Akron General's Bariatric Center is accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP).

For many severely overweight people, repeated attempts at diet and exercise have been unsuccessful. This often results in frustration and a sense of hopelessness. Furthermore, obesity is associated with many health conditions, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, which have been shown to reduce life span. If you or someone you know has been unable to lose weight through diet and exercise or a medical weight loss management program, help is available. Weight-loss surgery, or bariatric surgery, may be an appropriate option.

Akron General has a dedicated, knowledgeable and patient-centered team of weight-loss specialists who are here to support you and help you find the best, and most healthy, solutions for your weight-loss difficulties. With help from our specialists in sleep disorders, gastroenterology and nutrition, cardiology, internal medicine, psychology and other obesity-related fields, as needed, our patients receive the support they need for a permanent return to health.

Our Bariatric Center is accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), a joint project of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). MBSAQIP accreditation means you have access to a comprehensive and multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success.

Meet Our Medical Team

Meet Our Medical Team

We welcome you to read the biographies of our bariatric team. In addition to gastric sleeve, gastric bypass and gastric banding surgeons, our staff is comprised of therapists, coordinators, and nutritionists to ensure the quality of your experience with our multidisciplinary team.

We work closely with your primary care doctor, as well as any appropriate specialists, who could include gastroenterology, endocrinology, cardiology, internal medicine and other obesity-related fields.

Bariatric Surgeons

christopher daigle
Christopher Daigle, MD, FRCSC, FACS

Christopher Daigle, MD, is the Medical Director and Chief of Bariatric Surgery at Akron General. He completed his bariatric fellowship training at Cleveland Clinic. He currently serves as the president-elect of the Ohio/Kentucky state chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. He is also an accomplished researcher in the field of bariatric surgery with over 70 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and meeting presentations.

marita bauman
Marita Bauman, MD
Marita Bauman, MD, is originally from Indiana where she attended medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine. She completed her surgical residency at Indiana University in Indianapolis. Dr. Bauman then moved to Cleveland where she completed an advanced laparoscopic, endoscopic and bariatric surgery fellowship at Cleveland Clinic. She specializes in bariatric surgery, in addition to a wide range of minimally invasive procedures treating reflux, hiatal hernias, gastroparesis, achalasia and other general surgical diseases.

Medical Staff

amy laktash
Amy Laktash, NP
Amy Laktash, NP, received her master’s degree from The University of Akron after completing a bachelor’s in nursing at Miami University. She currently works as a nurse practitioner for the Bariatric Center, as well as the clinical coordinator for the Center’s Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MSAQIP). She has more than 10 years of clinical and healthcare administration experience with Akron General and is certified as an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She resides in West Akron with her husband, Mike, and son, Milo.

julie linder
Julie Linder, NP
Julie Linder, NP, a family nurse practitioner, received her master's degree from Eastern Kentucky University, and a bachelor's degree in biology and nursing from The University of Akron. She has a passion for health promotion, disease prevention and the treatment of obesity.

Bariatric Psychologists

serena stevens
Serena D. Stevens, PhD
Serena D. Stevens, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in the Bariatric Center. She completed her PhD at Loma Linda University, with clinical and research emphases in eating disorders, body image, weight stigma, and weight management. Dr. Stevens also completed a fellowship in Health Psychology at the Cleveland Clinic, with a dual emphasis on managing the behavioral health aspects of individuals diagnosed with MS, as well as individuals pursuing weight loss surgery. Dr. Stevens works with patients while they are preparing for bariatric surgery, helping them identify emotions, thoughts and behaviors that could be unsafe or could get in the way of being successful following surgery.

Nutritionists

chelsey ludwiczak
Chelsey Ludwiczak, RD
Chelsey Ludwiczak, RD, graduated from Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio with a bachelor’s degree through the Coordinated Program in Dietetics. She also completed various internships at Trumbull County WIC and Northside Medical Center in Youngstown, Ohio. Chelsey is currently a licensed dietitian in the state of Ohio and has received ServSafe Manager certification. Additionally, she is member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and has received a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management.

Megan Martin

Megan Martin, RD, LD
Megan Martin, RD, LD, graduated from the University of Akron with a bachelor’s degree through the Coordinated Program in Dietetics. She also completed over 1250 clinical hours at various locations including Cleveland Clinic, Summa Akron City and Portage County WIC. Megan is currently a licensed dietitian in the state of Ohio and has received her ServSafe Manager certification. Additionally, she has received ALLY and CITI training certifications and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 

 
Bariatric Treatments

Bariatric Treatments

Choosing the best procedure for your needs is something the Cleveland Clinic Akron General surgeons excel in. Learn more about the types of bariatric surgery below.

Surgical Weight Loss Options

It is important to understand the two methods which create weight loss in our patients, restriction and malabsorption.

  • Restriction refers to when a surgical procedure physically changes the capacity of the stomach, which confines the number of calories you can eat.
  • Malabsorption refers to when surgery is used to shorten or bypass part of the gastrointestinal tract, which decreases the number of calories and nutrients the body absorbs when food passes through.

Both of these effects have the same purpose however, to reduce life-threatening obesity and related illnesses.

Knowing more about each type of surgery we offer can help you have an informed conversation with a Cleveland Clinic Akron General bariatric doctor.

After you choose one of these surgical options for weight loss, you'll be expected to change your lifestyle after bariatric surgery.

Gastric Bypass (Malabsorption)

Gastric bypass is one of the most common forms of bariatric surgery. Cleveland Clinic's team has mastered this procedure. Gastric bypass surgery is an operation that creates a small pouch to restrict food intake and bypasses a segment of the small intestine.

Gastric Sleeve (Restriction)

Gastric Sleeve is becoming a more popular procedure in recent years. Gastric Sleeve is a laparoscopic procedure, meaning that it is less invasive and may lead to reduced recovery times and minimal scarring. The procedure involves making five or six small incisions in the abdomen and performing the procedure using a video camera (laparoscope) and long instruments that are placed through these small incisions.

Non Surgical Weight Loss Options

The Bariatric Center offers nonsurgical weight loss options to help patients achieve a healthy weight:

Medical Weight Loss Management

For medical weight loss, dieticians review each patient’s food and exercise history as an important part of the medical assessment. Psychologists help our patients address issues like depression, eating disorders and smoking and other addictions, helping our patients adopt healthy behaviors to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Exercise physiologists also can create individualized exercise programs, including stress testing. Medication, such as appetite suppressants, can be prescribed to help with weight loss.

Intragastric Balloon System

The intragastric balloon is a new nonsurgical treatment option for patients who failed previous attempts at weight loss through diet and exercise alone.

Appointments

Appointments

To find out more about how Akron General can help you reach your weight loss goals, please call 330.344.1950.

Ready to get started?

In-Person Bariatric Seminars

Our seminar designed to help you make an informed decision about weight loss surgery. Listen to one of our Cleveland Clinic surgeons describe morbid obesity and the surgical options used to treat this disease.

Online Bariatric Seminars

Our online seminar provides the same information patients receive at the in-person seminar, available for you to complete at your convenience. Once you've watched the presentations, you will be given questions to ensure you have understood the material provided.

Join an In-person or Online Seminar
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should someone consider having bariatric surgery?

Obesity is harmful to a person’s health. Someone who is 40 percent overweight is twice more likely to die prematurely than an average-weight person. (This effect is seen after 10 to 30 years of being obese.) In this country alone, about 300,000 deaths per year can be blamed on obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for many serious, life-threatening diseases, including:

Studies show that the risk of death from these conditions returns to normal after weight loss. Within the first six months of having weight loss surgery, patients usually no longer need to take medications for these conditions. In addition, women who were struggling with infertility before surgery find that conception is possible after surgery.

Who is eligible for bariatric surgery?

At Cleveland Clinic Akron General, we carefully evaluate all patients being considered for bariatric surgery. Nutritional and behavioral counseling are conducted, and patients are required to attend at least one weekly support group session prior to weight loss surgery.

To be eligible for bariatric surgery, you must be between 16 and 70 years of age (with some exceptions) and morbidly obese (weighing at least 100 pounds over your ideal body weight and having a BMI of 40). A BMI between 35 and 39 also may qualify you for the procedure if you also have certain pre-existing co-morbidities, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, or sleep apnea. (NOTE: link eligible for bariatric surgery to the new page Am I a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery)

If you are a woman of childbearing age and planning a pregnancy, it’s vital to know that you must not get pregnant within the first 18 months to two years following surgery. The rapid weight loss and nutritional deficiencies associated with bariatric surgery make pregnancy very dangerous for you and for a developing fetus.

A consultation with a Cleveland Clinic Akron General bariatric surgeon is a mandatory step prior to surgery, and will help you screen for eligibility.

What bariatric surgical procedures are performed by surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Akron General?

Cleveland Clinic Akron General offers many surgical options for patients who are interested in bariatric surgery. Surgeons work with patients to identify the best surgery for their specific situations and needs.

The most commonly performed malabsorptive procedure is called the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. This method makes the stomach smaller and alters digestion. Less food can be eaten and fewer calories can be absorbed. The bariatric surgeon creates a small pouch by dividing the upper end of the stomach. Next, a Y-shaped section of the small intestine is attached to the pouch to allow food to bypass the lower stomach, the duodenum (the first segment of the small intestine), as well as the first portion of the jejunum (the second segment of the small intestine). The procedure creates a direct connection from the stomach to the lower segment of the small intestine, literally bypassing portions of the digestive tract that absorb calories and nutrients.

We can also perform the sleeve gastrectomy as a laparoscopic procedure. This involves making five or six small incisions in the abdomen and performing the procedure using a video camera (laparoscope) and long instruments that are placed through these small incisions. During the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG), about 75% of the stomach is removed leaving a narrow gastric “tube” or “sleeve”. No intestines are removed or bypassed during the sleeve gastrectomy. The LSG takes one to two hours to complete. We have an animated video of a sleeve gastrectomy procedure available as well.

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) is another surgical option. Surgeons typically use laparoscopic techniques and instruments to implant an inflatable silicone band around the upper portion of the stomach. The band creates a new, tiny pouch that limits and controls the amount of food consumed. The band also creates a small outlet that slows the emptying process into the stomach and the intestines allowing the patient to experience an earlier sensation of fullness and increased satisfied with smaller amounts of food. This ultimately results in weight loss.

What is the recovery time following weight loss surgery?

Our team’s experience in bariatric surgery, combined with advances in the field of bariatric care, means that most patients recover from surgery quickly and without complications. On average the hospital stay for patients who undergo the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is usually two to four days. Patients who have the laparoscopic gastric banding procedure typically stay one to two days.

What is my ideal body weight?

Cleveland Clinic Akron General’s Bariatric Center follows the guidelines set out by the body mass index scale. This scale recommends a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9. You can use the calculator above to find your current BMI and ideal BMI.

Is there support from surgeons and staff following weight loss surgery?

Cleveland Clinic Akron General’s gastric bypass surgery medical team is there to guide patients after each procedure. Regular follow-up visits are scheduled during the first year after weight loss surgery to check overall physical and mental health, metabolism and nutritional status.

How much weight loss can be expected?

Most patients will lose between 66 and 80 percent of their excess body weight, most of which is lost 18 to 24 months following bariatric surgery.

What are the dietary restrictions following weight loss surgery?

Following surgery, you will need to follow specific eating guidelines. Registered dietitians work directly with bariatric surgery patients to help plan healthful, appropriate meals. Additionally, you will need to stop smoking and discontinue use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).

Is it possible to gain the weight back after surgery?

Bariatric surgery has an excellent long-term track record for helping morbidly obese individuals lose weight. However, there are no guarantees with any method of weight loss, even surgery. Success is possible only if you are committed to making lifestyle and dietary changes for the rest of your life.

What are the risks for bariatric surgery?

All surgical procedures have risks, particularly when the patient is morbidly obese. Different procedures involve different risks, and depending upon your individual circumstances, your risks may be higher or lower than average. It’s also important to know that bariatric surgeons with more experience performing weight loss surgery techniques report fewer complications. Potential risks of surgery should be discussed with your surgeon so you can make an informed choice.

Can bariatric surgery be reversed?

Laparoscopic gastric banding surgery is reversible in a minimally invasive manner. Gastric bypass surgery is potentially reversible. Reversal requires another operation of the same, or greater, magnitude with the same, or greater, risks.

What if I need revision surgery?

Weight loss surgery is not a magic bullet and while most patients are successful after weight loss surgery, there are instances where revision weight loss surgery is required. Whether reasons for seeking revision weight loss surgery are due to inadequate weight loss/weight regain, unresolved co-morbidities and/or medical complications, there is possibly a revision solution to these problems.

Revisional Procedures Overview

Revisional bariatric operations, regardless of the previous surgery, are always challenging for a surgeon. They require adequate expertise to achieve desired results. Bariatric Centers of Excellence certified by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery provide a multi-disciplinary team and facilities for managing patients requiring revision of their surgery. It is highly recommended that patients requiring gastric bypass revision or any other kind of revisional surgery find a surgeon at a bariatric center that has much experience with revisional bariatric surgery.

Will insurance cover bariatric surgery?

Many insurance companies now recognize obesity as a substantial health risk and are paying for bariatric surgery. You can check our list of accepted insurers or contact your insurance provider to find out if gastric bypass surgery (CPT code 43644) is a covered benefit under your insurance contract.

What do I need to know about pregnancy after gastric bypass surgery?

During the first 18 months after your gastric bypass surgery, your body is undergoing many changes. Weight loss is a major one, your body is also experiencing hormonal changes, increasing your fertility. Please be cautious during this time and use a method of birth control to insure that you do not become pregnant. If applicable, a pregnancy test will be conducted prior to your surgery.

However, after your surgery, pregnancy is possible if you manage it well with your bariatric surgeon.

Much of the current research suggests that pregnancy in individuals with lower BMI is often safer than pregnancy with complications from obesity. If you have had weight loss surgery and are considering pregnancy, consult your physician safe family planning. It would also be beneficial to mention this to your doctors during the consult for your weight loss surgery so they can provide guidance and resources.

During the first 18 months after your gastric bypass surgery, your body is undergoing many changes, so until your weight and body begin to stabilize, it’s not advisable to become pregnant until 18 months after surgery. Rapid weight loss immediately following surgery creates hormonal changes and might deprive a growing baby of important nutrients.

Insurance & Financial Eligibility

Insurance & Financial Eligibility

Insurance coverage varies for weight loss surgery procedures. It is crucial that you call your insurance provider to determine if your policy covers surgical weight loss. As an integral part of our team, a financial counselor can answer questions and give you guidance when working with your insurance company to acquire approval.

It is a team effort between you and our financial counselor to ensure we do everything possible to gain an approval for surgical weight loss procedures such as laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery.

Our navigation team will verify your benefits and assist you in understanding insurance requirements. Once you are accepted into the program, you with be assigned a personal navigator to assist you in your pre-operative weight loss journey

We understand the importance of surgical weight loss procedures and will work with you every step of the way.

Cleveland Clinic Akron General accepts most major insurance carriers, including Medicare and Medicaid.

After you complete a seminar, you will receive notification from our navigation team regarding your insurance status.

If your policy has an exclusion, we encourage you to follow-up with your human resources department at your place of employment to go over claims, benefits and options.

Patient Education

Patient Education

Patient Stories from Akron General's Bariatric Center

Life After Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery requires a large change in lifestyle post-operative. Cleveland Clinic's physicians will help guide you through the recovery process and life after bariatric surgery. To better understand what will be asked of you, here are some resources regarding post-operative living.

How can Bariatric Surgery help chronic health problems?

Being overweight or obese is much more than about appearance and cosmetics – it’s truly a health problem with risks of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer and more. Dr. Christopher Daigle discusses how bariatric surgery can help chronic health conditions on WKYC's Live on Lakeside show.

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