Bariatric Frequently Asked Questions


Learn More About Bariatric Surgery

Find out more about ways we can help you lose weight and improve your overall health. The Chicago Center for Bariatric Surgery & Medical Weight Loss at West Suburban Medical Center provides patients suffering from morbid obesity with the treatment options and support they need to lose excess weight and keep it off.


What is the Surgical Weight-Loss Program at The Chicago Center For Bariatric Surgery & Medical Weight Loss?

Launched in 2002, the program provides patients suffering from morbid obesity with treatment and support needed to lose excess weight and keep it off. The Chicago Center for Bariatric Surgery & Medical Weight Loss offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss and weight management for patients ages 18 and up. Our Program helps patients lose weight through surgery and a comprehensive treatment regime.

What does bariatric mean?

The definition is a branch of medicine dealing with prevention, control, and treatment of obesity.

What are the causes of obesity?

The cause of severe obesity is poorly understood and has many factors associated with it. In obese individuals, the set-point of stored energy is too high. This altered set-point may result from a low metabolism with low energy expenditure, sedentary lifestyle, excessive caloric intake, or a combination. There is some scientific data that suggests obesity may be an inherited characteristic. Obese individuals not only face medical consequences of their disease, but they live with discrimination and guilt every day. The emotional and physical tolls can be devastating.

Who is a candidate for bariatric surgery?

Individuals who are candidates for bariatric surgery will be or have the following:

  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 and over, with at least one high-risk medical condition (comorbidity), such as high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and others
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater
  • 18-65 years old (with some exceptions)
  • Acceptable operative risks
  • Failed attempts with diet plans, behavioral and medical therapy
  • Realistic expectations and a strong motivation to become healthier
  • Capable of understanding the procedure and implications
  • Commitment to prolonged lifestyle changes and long-term follow-up
  • Psychologically prepared

What is the first step in the process?

The first step is to register to attend an informational seminar with our bariatric surgeon and program coordinator. Information seminars are located at West Suburban Medical Center. Please call (708) 763-NEWU (6398) for more information.

After you attend an information seminar, you will be asked to attend a consultation appointment with our Medical Director and a NEWU appointment with our Bariatric Nurse Program Coordinator. Additional meetings will be scheduled at these appointments with our multidisciplinary team.

Is a behavioral assessment required prior to surgery?

Yes, all patients will meet with our clinical psychologist for a well-being appointment to help understand the behavioral modifications necessary in achieving their weight-loss goals.

What if I do no have a primary care physician?

Our staff can refer you to primary care physicians who are experienced in the medical and surgical weight loss process. Please ask our Bariatric Nurse Program Coordinator for a list of available primary care physicians.

Will my insurance cover surgery?

Most insurance plans cover bariatric surgery. Our expert team will help guide you through the insurance process in order to get your surgery approved. Many insurance policies differ from plan to plan; therefore our team will assist you in understanding your benefits and requirements for bariatric surgery. Commitment and dedication is required during this process ​to help achieve your goals. After attending the information seminar, you will meet with our Program Coordinator in order to start the insurance process at your NEWU appointment.

How long is the hospital stay?

With gastric bypass, there is a two- to three-day hospital stay. The LAP-BAND and SILs BAND procedures are less-invasive, and patients can either go home the same day of surgery, or stay overnight.

How long are you off work following surgery?

This depends on several different factors, but generally, most patients are able to go back to work in about two weeks.

Is surgery painful?

Every surgery has some level of discomfort, but this depends on each patient’s situation.

What are the risks and/or potential complications of bariatric surgery?

Since each patient is unique, we recommend viewing our online seminar or scheduling a consultation for more information. Our specialists want to answer your questions personally, with recommendations that are tailored to you and your specific situation.

How much weight can I expect to lose?

Based on our program’s data, the average one-year weight loss with LAP-BAND is 56 pounds. The average one-year weight loss with gastric bypass is about 76 pounds.

How soon will the weight come off?

It varies, but most patients start to lose weight within the first few weeks of surgery.

What follow-up care is provided after surgery?

To help patients lead and maintain active, healthy lives, we provide our patients with comprehensive post-operative care to ensure weight loss and weight management. Patients will follow up with the surgeon regularly during the first year, then annually. The patient also will meet with a dietitian and clinical psychologist at six and eight weeks, and then as needed. Patients are encouraged to attend our support groups for dietary, exercise, and psychosocial support.

Who attends support group meetings?

All patients are required to attend one support group prior to surgery. Following surgery, patients are encouraged to attend monthly support group meeting at the hospital for the rest of their lives.

How do I learn more?

To learn more about The Chicago Center for Bariatric Surgery & Medical Weight Loss, please call (708) 763-NEWU (6398).