Getting Started on Your Weight Loss Journey

Are you ready to transform your life with weight loss (bariatric) surgery? If so, we recommend taking time to learn more about bariatric surgery.

Wende Wagner climbing


Am I a Candidate?

There are four primary considerations:

1. Body Mass Index (BMI)

To qualify for weight loss surgery, you must have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater or over 35 with a high-risk for health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. Your BMI is a ratio between your height and weight that can help your doctor evaluate your risk for health problems.

2. Make a commitment to weight loss

Weight loss surgery does not make weight loss easy for the rest of your life. Weight loss surgery is simply a tool that, along with lifelong changes to lifestyle, dietary habits and exercise, can help you maintain a healthy weight.

To qualify for weight loss surgery, you must be committed to the lifestyle changes. But don't worry, you won't be alone. Our team will work with you throughout your journey to help support those changes. Learn more about our supportive services.

3. Be ready to embark upon the journey

Weight loss surgery requires a certain level of physical ability and emotional maturity. It won't be easy, but with help from our team, and a dedication to learn and prepare, your chances of success will increase.

Before we perform any surgery, we want to be sure that the procedure will be safe for you and your body. Our staff will guide you through any testing you need to ensure you are physically and emotionally ready for weight loss surgery. We are committed to providing safe and effective weight loss solutions.

4. Insurance requirements

Your insurance company may have weight loss surgery insurance requirements, such as losing a certain amount of weight before surgery. If you're interested in weight loss surgery, call our office and our staff will call your insurance company to see if you're covered. We work with many insurance companies.

Some insurance companies do have certain requirements that must be met prior to approving weight loss surgery. The MU Health Care weight loss team will be glad to help you meet these requirements.

Adolescent Bariatric Surgery

If your child has tried different ways to lose weight loss unsuccessfully, our adolescent bariatric surgery program may be the next step. At MU Health Care, adolescents who struggle with losing weight are referred to our pediatric weight management program. Your child will be evaluated by our team and surgeons — both pediatric and adult — who specialize in performing weight loss surgery on teenagers in addition to providing a range of support services to help your family achieve a healthier lifestyle. Our adolescent bariatric surgery program is accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®) and is the only hospital in the area to be accredited to perform bariatric surgery on adolescents.

We know that weight loss surgery is not a decision you and your child are making lightly. Together with your family, we create a personalized plan and establish a strong support system to help teens adjust to their new bodies and lifestyle changes. Your child and family will have access to a wide range of team members including a dietitian, psychologist, nurse and surgeon. We also host monthly support groups and offer telehealth appointments for those who may live further away. Talk with your pediatrician to learn if weight loss surgery may be an option for your child.

Get Started

There are multiple ways to get started on your weight loss journey. We are here to help you achieve your goals. Choose from one of the below ways to begin.

Request an appointment today

Learn more about the different surgical and nonsurgical weight loss solutions we offer.

Take our online assessment

See if you’re a candidate. We offer a variety of weight loss options and work with you to find the best option for your goals and lifestyle.

Watch your options below

Andrew Wheeler, MD, chief of bariatric surgery, explains weight loss surgery procedures and how we can help you along the journey to a healthier you.

Before your first appointment

Before you attend your first appointment, please print and completely fill out the form below. The information on this form helps our physicians perform a comprehensive evaluation of health, medical history and nutritional history.

Patient Form

During your first appointment, our physicians can discuss these items with you and help guide you toward the weight loss option that’s best for you. We will provide information about dietary and lifestyle changes that come with each surgical procedure and work with you to receive any other medical clearances that are necessary. Our team will also contact your insurance company to find out what they may require to authorize surgery. This can take between two and six weeks.

Once surgery has been approved, you'll be asked to attend a pre-surgery class in which you'll receive your surgery date and go over important pre-and post-surgery details such as diet, preparation for surgery and post-surgery care.

After surgery, we do see our patients often to ensure everything is running smoothly. Follow-up appointments occur at one week, one month, three months, six months and then yearly for the next five years. Our team also offers ongoing support through in-person and online support groups, additional classes and a dietitian always available via phone or email.

Learn more about Bariatric Surgery Services at MU Health Care.