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Bariatric surgery

  • Frequently asked questions

Bariatric surgery: Frequently asked questions

Following are some commonly asked questions about bariatric surgery at Community Hospital. Please consult your doctor with questions regarding your individual situation.

Who qualifies for bariatric surgery?

We use the guidelines established by the National Institutes of Health, and these are used by most insurance companies as well. In general:

  • Patients with a body mass index of between 35 and 40 will qualify if they have two severe, obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, joint disease requiring joint replacement, or heart disease.
  • Those with a body mass index higher than 40 may be considered for surgery without these illnesses.
  • An individual who qualifies should have tried to lose weight without surgery first.
  • Surgery can only be offered to those able and willing to follow through with the required aftercare.

What weight loss operations are performed at Community Hospital?

The most commonly performed bariatric operations at Community Hospital are the laparoscopic gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and laparoscopic gastric band (lap band). 

We also perform revisional surgery when necessary.

Are there age requirements?

In general, we do not offer the surgery to teens under the age of 15, and very seldom under the age of 18. We do not have an absolute upper-age limit, but make evaluations on a case-by-case basis.

Does insurance cover the surgery?

Bariatric operations are covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare. Your individual plan may exclude all such types of surgery, however, or may impose requirements such as waiting periods before surgery can be approved.

Why is accreditation important?

Accreditation represents an institution’s commitment and accountability for high-quality care and patient safety. Community Hospital's bariatric program was one of the first in the country to be designated a Bariatric Surgical Center of Excellence by the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. In 2012, the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery combined their respective accreditation programs in a single program to achieve one national standard. That accreditation, now held by Community Hospital, is the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP).

What is the typical recovery period?

Most patients spend only one night in the hospital, and most are back to work within two weeks. Some may require a longer period of observation in the hospital or longer recovery time after surgery.

What kind of follow-up is involved after surgery?

Patients are followed by the surgeon for a minimum of five years after surgery. In addition:

    • Community Hospital has four free support groups each month for patients who have had weight-loss surgery, which are run by our dietitians.
    • Dietitians are available after surgery for one-on-one counseling and group classes.
    • Psychological backup is available with experienced healthcare providers.

We also have a full complement of specialists including endocrinologists, pulmonologists, cardiologists, and plastic surgeons with experience caring for patients who are overweight or who have lost weight.

Where can I find out more about weight loss surgery at Community Hospital?

To learn more about our program, please call (831) 649-7230. In addition, you can learn more at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

After surgery: Support groups

After surgery, it’s recommended that patients join a support group for continued encouragement. Free monthly support groups include meetings for:

  • All patients who have had bariatric surgery
  • Those who have undergone bariatric surgery at least 12 months prior
  • Patients who have adjustable gastric bands
  • Those seeking to meet or maintain goals

Nutrition classes and counseling and psychological support are available all along the way. Patients are expected to see their surgeon for at least five years after their surgery.

Learn more

If you think bariatric surgery might be right for you, call (831) 649-7230.

See our schedule of bariatric-related lectures and support groups

Bariatric surgeons

Mark Vierra, MD photo

Dr. Mark Vierra
(831) 649-0808

Dr. Lurie

Dr. Michael Lurie
(831) 649-0808

Monterey County Surgical Associates 

Bariatric surgery is life-changing

Debbie Tracy

Debbie Tracy lost weight and was able to give up 11 medications, including insulin as a result of her bariatric surgery.

Vivian Duffy

Learn how Vivian Duffy, a single mother of three lost 134 pounds and the threats of diabetes and high blood pressure have subsided. 

Read an interview with Dr. Mark Vierra about the potential benefits of bariatric surgery.