Am I eligible for weight loss surgery?

You may be a candidate for weight loss surgery if:

  1. You have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more (about 100 pounds overweight for men and 80 pounds  overweight for women).
  2. You have a BMI between 35 and 39.9 with one serious obesity-related health problem (such as heart disease,  type 2 diabetes, hypertension or severe sleep apnea).
  3. You do not have a history of addiction or severe psychiatric problems.
  4. You possess a thorough understanding of weight loss surgery and the lifestyle changes it will require you to  make.
  5. Patients who have a BMI over 30 may be eligible for weight loss surgery on a cash-pay basis. (Insurance will not  cover the procedure for anyone with a BMI under 35.)

Find out if Cernero Surgery & Aesthetics accepts my insurance!

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Is weight loss surgery right for me?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), guidelines have been created to determine who will do better with weight loss surgery. These guidelines are typically used by insurance to determine whether or not a patient’s weight loss surgery will be covered. Under these guidelines, you might qualify for weight loss surgery if:

  • You have a BMI of 35-40 with other co-morbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea,  hypertension OR
  •  You have a BMI of 40 and above.

In general, this means that patients who are 60 to 100+ pounds overweight may be eligible for weight loss surgery. Co-morbidities are medical conditions that are associated with obesity and coexist with obesity. When obesity goes away, so do the symptoms.

What is the first step to weight loss surgery?

The first step for weight loss surgery is to determine whether or not you are eligible for surgery. Are you 60-100+ pounds over your ideal body weight? Determine your body mass index by inputting your height in inches and your weight in pounds into our

If your BMI is above 35, then you are eligible for weight loss surgery. Once you have determined whether or not you are eligible, the next step is to determine coverage options with your insurance provider.

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You may contact us for any other questions about getting started. Weight loss surgery seminars are available for more information.

What are my weight loss surgery options?

Gastric Sleeve

Sleeve Gastrectomy, or gastric sleeve, is a resection of 75 percent of the stomach causing a decrease in hunger hormones and in the capacity of the stomach resulting in weight loss. Sleeve Gastrectomy limits the amount of food you can eat at one time by permanently reducing the size of your stomach. As a result, you will feel full with less food and stay satisfied longer. Like other metabolic surgeries, it also helps to establish a lower, healthier body fat set point by changing the signals between the stomach, brain, and liver.


Gastric banding is a procedure that limits the amount of food you can eat at one time. Cernero Surgery & Aesthetics uses the LAP-BAND® for gastric banding procedures. The LAP-BAND® is a small, inflatable belt placed around the upper portion of the patient’s stomach that functions to restrict the amount of food consumed, slows the emptying of food from the stomach, and provides a constant sensation of being “full”.

What are the risks involved in bariatric surgery?

With any surgery there’s always inherent risk of complications, including: bleeding, infection, problems with anesthesia, and drug reaction. Weight loss surgery is no different. However, the dangers of living with the chronic disease of obesity hold greater risk than surgery. Morbid obesity will shorten one’s life as well as diminish the quality of one’s life. During your first appointment, Dr. Cernero will explain your individual risk level when determining which procedure is right for you.

What tests may be necessary before surgery?

Patients may need to undergo a psychological evaluation prior to undergoing bariatric surgery. In addition, we require a complete blood count, complete metabolic panel, urinalysis to include urine nicotine. We will perform a chest X-ray, an electrocardiogram (EKG), and an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).

In addition to the routine lab work and tests, you may need additional studies such as a sleep study, EGD, echocardiogram, or stress test for cardiac clearance.

Will my insurance cover the procedure?

In general, about 50 percent of insurance companies will cover the weight loss procedure if requirements are met warranting a Letter of Medical Necessity (stating why significant weight loss is medically necessary, based on several health criteria). Many states have laws that require insurance companies to grant benefits for weight loss procedures, providing the patient meets the criteria of the National Institutes of Health. However, comprehensive and detailed attention is usually needed in order to obtain insurance coverage for weight loss surgery, which we will work diligently with you to complete.

Insurance coverage for gastric sleeve surgery varies by state and insurance provider. As it now stands, many Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, and United Healthcare programs, as well as Medicare cover gastric sleeve surgery for individuals who meet certain criteria. Our office will confirm coverage with your insurance provider.

If you have questions about insurance coverage or weight loss surgery cost, please contact our office and we can assist you.

What are my options if my insurance does not cover the surgery?

If you do not have insurance, do not meet your insurance requirements, or if you have an exclusion on your policy, we now offer financing options through our partners at Care Credit and American Healthcare Lending.

What happens during my first appointment with Dr. Cernero?

During your first appointment, Dr. Cernero will review your medical history, discuss the two surgeries he offers (gastric sleeve and LAP-BAND®), and explain the risks and benefits of both surgeries as they relate to your specific situation.

 How soon after my first appointment will I have the surgery?

Your insurance plan will determine how soon you can have the surgery. Some insurance companies have specific criteria that must be met before weight loss surgery.

Results AND Recovery

How much weight will I lose after weight loss surgery?

Each patient reacts differently to weight loss surgery. Although it is not the same for everyone, patients are typically able to lose anywhere from 60-70 percent of their excess body weight following a weight loss procedure.

After undergoing the gastric sleeve, a patient can expect to lose between 50 to 60 percent of excess weight during the first year after surgery.

With gastric sleeve and LAP-BAND® surgery, an average patient loses about 50 percent of his or her excess body weight. This weight loss occurs over a period of one to two years, with the majority of weight loss occurring in the first year.

Weight loss varies from patient to patient and also depends on the patient’s activity and diet after the surgery. The best results come to those patients that choose the right foods and exercise after the surgery.

In order to enhance and maximize the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise plan and the overall results of the surgery, Cernero Surgery  & Aesthetics provides a consultation plan and progress appointments to all patients, post-surgery.

What is the recovery time for weight loss surgery?

Recovery time varies between patients and depends on the type of procedure you choose. In general, a patient should plan on taking 10 days off work.

Laproscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

The requirement is one to two days in hospital and recovery time is similar to any minimally invasive surgery. The patient should be doing normal activities of daily living quickly after the surgery and then fully released after six weeks without restrictions.


In most cases, the patient is typically able to go home the same day, or the morning following surgery. It’s typical of any laparoscopic surgery to have some soreness at the incision site, but the patient should be on a diet and doing some of the less stringent activities of daily living quickly after the surgery.

Periodic visits to your surgeon post-surgery will be needed to review your recovery and progress.

What happens if I don’t follow my dietary guidelines after the procedure?

Ignoring dietary guidelines following surgery can slow down weight loss and make you sick. Patients who overeat may experience nausea and vomiting.

What if I have excess skin?

After losing weight, many patients find that they are left with large amounts of excess, saggy skin on their bodies. To remove this skin, some patients choose to undergo surgery to remove excess skin. Dr. Cernero can help patients who wish to remove extra skin after weight loss. Since this is considered cosmetic surgery, it is typically not covered by insurance.

Will I have to exercise after having weight loss surgery?

Exercise not only burns calories, it also helps to build and preserve muscle. If you do not exercise daily, your body will consume your unused muscle as you lose weight. This will cause you to lose muscle mass and strength. For this reason, patients are encouraged to begin exercising soon after LAP-BAND® or gastric sleeve surgery. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Cernero to discuss which type of exercise is appropriate following surgery.

Lifestyle Changes

Can the LAP-BAND® surgery be reversed in the future?

If necessary, you may undergo surgery to remove, replace, or alter the band. Please understand that reversal of any bariatric procedure would mean regaining the weight that you have lost. Bariatric surgery is meant to be a lifelong commitment.

Can I get pregnant after undergoing weight loss surgery?

You should avoid pregnancy for at least one year after weight loss surgery at our surgical center. This is because rapid weight loss and nutritional deficiencies can be harmful to a developing fetus. Once a year has passed and you have returned to a regular diet, you should be able to have a healthy pregnancy.

Can I drink alcohol after undergoing weight loss surgery?

After undergoing weight loss surgery, you will find that even small amounts of alcohol will affect you quickly. Patients who undergo LAP-BAND® surgery or gastric sleeve surgery should avoid alcoholic drinks because they tend to be high in calories and can hamper weight loss.

Will I be able to continue smoking after the surgery?

Patients who smoke cigarettes are asked to quit six to eight weeks prior to gastric sleeve or LAP-BAND® weight loss surgery.

How can I prevent hair loss after undergoing weight loss surgery?

Rapid weight loss often causes patients to lose some hair a few months after surgery. This is usually due to reduced intake of protein and the mineral zinc. Therefore, we recommend that you consume adequate amounts of protein and take a daily Biotin supplement after weight loss surgery.

Dr. Cernero will tell you more about the appropriate supplements to take after weight loss surgery. If you have any further questions about weight loss surgery, gastric sleeve, or LAP-BAND® surgery, contact our bariatric surgery center today.

What changes will I have to make in my lifestyle after the surgery?

The LAP-BAND® and Gastric Sleeve are both highly effective procedures that can provide dramatic weight loss results and contribute to a healthier lifestyle. However, weight loss surgery is not a miracle treatment. Individuals cannot achieve their weight loss goals through surgery alone. Patients must be dedicated to making the lifestyle changes in diet and exercise that are necessary to promote good health and successful weight loss after surgery.