Frequently Asked Questions

Bariatric surgery is recognized by the National Institutes of Health as the only proven method of achieving long-term weight control for the morbidly obese, when all other approaches have failed. There are several approaches to bariatric surgery, but all procedures are either restrictive (limit food intake), malabsorptive (limit calories absorbed) or a combination of the two.

We encourage you to explore all options open to you. A good place to start is attending one of our weight loss informational seminars. As you continue your research, you should also consult with an experienced bariatric surgeon who will make recommendations and outline a personal plan that would be best for you.

Candidates for surgery must have:

  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more OR
  • Life threatening obesity-related health problem(s) such as diabetes, severe sleep apnea, or heart disease and a BMI of 35 or more

The Comprehensive Weight Loss Center at Emory Decatur Hospital offers several surgical weight loss options, providing patients with a choice in their approach to weight loss. Surgical options include: 

Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y)
Sleeve Gastrectomy
Loop DS
Lap Band

The surgical procedure that you will undergo is carefully determined through a one-on-one consultation with your surgeon. This determination is based on specific health and safety criteria, including body mass index (BMI), associated medical conditions, prior history of abdominal surgery and other variables that determine the best outcome for each individual patient.

There are no guarantees that you will lose weight with any method, including surgery. Successful weight loss is possible only with complete cooperation and commitment to behavioral change and medical follow-up. This requires a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle – one that includes counseling, support groups, fitness and nutrition programs for achieving successful weight loss goals.

As with any surgery, there are a number of risks involved with weight loss surgery. Like any abdominal operation, this is a major procedure. The body sometimes responds adversely to operations, especially in the obese patient. Known complications include heart attack, stroke, wound infection, internal bleeding, gallstone formation, bowel leakage, hernias, injury to the spleen, serious infections, ulcers, strictures and malnutrition.

You should research and consult with your doctor to discuss which type of procedure is appropriate for you. It is important to discuss with your surgeon the specific risks for someone with your conditions and undergoing your specific procedure.

Yes. There have been people who have died as a direct result of having weight loss surgery. This is unusual, but there is the risk of this happening.

A psychological evaluation is helpful in determining which patients might not be mentally and emotionally capable of handling these operations. In addition, most insurance companies require an evaluation prior to being considered for bariatric surgery. Even if your insurance company does not require an evaluation, the Comprehensive Weight Loss Center at Emory Decatur Hospital does.

On average the surgeries take one to three hours of operating time. This depends largely on your anatomy and whether you have adhesions (scar tissue) inside the abdomen or have had previous surgery.

Minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery usually requires a hospital stay of one to two days, if there are no complications. Some may stay longer, but it’s not an indication of how well the recovery may be going.

This depends on exactly what type of surgery you will have done, but in general it will be one to four weeks after your surgery.

The decision to have weight loss surgery requires a permanent, lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle – one that includes fitness, nutrition, counseling and support. You must follow your doctor’s orders and stick to strict dietary guidelines for several weeks following surgery. Post-surgery guidelines vary by surgeon. You may hear of patients who have different guidelines from your own. Be sure to follow closely the program outlined by your physician since it has been designed for your unique needs. It is strongly encouraged that you join a support group to discuss and learn from people who have had similar experiences with obesity and, later, weight loss surgery. Ask your physician about recommending a support group that will meet your needs.

Costs vary for these surgeries and will depend primarily on your individual needs and the type of surgery you pursue. A cost starting at $16,000 is probably realistic. Medicare and some insurance providers may cover a portion of the cost. If you do not have bariatric insurance coverage, it is still possible to have one of these procedures done on a self-pay basis. With the self-pay option, you won’t be delayed by having to wait for insurance approval. Emory Decatur Hospital offers competitive self-pay package rates. 

Request Information

For more information, please call the Emory Decatur Hospital Comprehensive Weight Loss Center at 404-501-7818.