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
How do I calculate my BMI?
Body mass index (BMI) is a tool that healthcare providers use to estimate the amount of body fat based on your height and weight. Learn more about how to calculate your BMI.
Considering a bariatric weight loss procedure?
Our online bariatric seminars are available for you to complete at your convenience. Once you've watched the presentations, you will need to answer a few questions to ensure you have understood the material provided.Watch an Online Seminar
Why Choose Our Bariatric Center?
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.
Ready to get started?Watch an Online Seminar
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, also known as Roux-en Y gastric bypass, is a minimally invasive procedure that is one of the most common forms of bariatric surgery. Our 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.
Ready to get started?Watch an Online Seminar
Appointments & Location
To find out more about how the Akron General Bariatric Center can help you reach your weight loss goals, please call 330.344.4751.
Our office is located in the Ambulatory Care Center at the Akron General campus:
Ambulatory Care Center
1 Akron General Avenue
Akron, OH 44307
Ready to get started?
Online Bariatric Seminars
Our online seminar is 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.Watch an Online Seminar
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 suffering from obesity.) 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 18 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. Patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes may be covered for surgery with a BMI of 30-35, depending on their insurance.
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. Our 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 laparoscopically 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). This laparoscopic 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.
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 is one to two days with some patient returning home the next day.
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 this chart to find your current BMI and determine your 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 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.
Guides and articles
- Download the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Bariatric Surgery Treatment Guide
- Learn more about the Akron General Bariatric Center, program and team
- Visit Cleveland Clinic's Health Essentials to read articles about the benefits of bariatric surgery, how to prepare, and how to continue success after surgery
Preparing for Bariatric Surgery?
Download our bariatric surgery guide to learn more about your surgery – before, during and after.
Patient Stories from Akron General's Bariatric Center
- Weight Loss Journey Restores Woman’s Confidence
- Photo Leads Patient to Focus on Weight Loss
- Successful Bariatric Surgery Helps Mom Lose Weight and Gain a New Perspective on Life
Life After Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery requires a large change in lifestyle post-operative. Our 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.