The WVU Medicine Medical and Surgical Weight-Loss Center offers a comprehensive, surgical program to help you obtain a healthy weight and improve your quality of life. Our nationally recognized bariatrics program has a strong focus on pre-surgery education and long-term weight loss after surgery. Weight-loss surgical procedures we offer include sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, and gastric banding.
The Medical and Surgical Weight-Loss Center delivers a superior quality of care with state-of-the-art surgical technology and our network of highly trained specialists from a range of medical fields. We offer a team approach to treating morbid obesity with dietitians, clinical psychologists, physician assistants, and nurses who are dedicated to working with you before, during, and after surgery. We’re here to help you every step of the way with regular follow-up appointments, a monthly support group, and social media support through our WVU Bariatric Surgery Facebook group.
WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital is recognized as a Blue Distinction® Center for Bariatric Surgery by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia for delivering improved bariatric patient safety and better health outcomes. We are also the first center in West Virginia to receive advanced designation in obesity medicine as an accredited center through the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program.
Weight-Loss Surgery Resources
Weight-Loss Treatment Options
WVU Medicine Metabolic and Weight-Loss Surgery offers minimally invasive laparoscopic weight-loss surgery with a few small incisions as well as non-surgical treatment. Not all patients are candidates for minimally invasive surgery or non-surgical treatment. Your provider will assess which weight-loss approach suits you best during your first appointment.
Weight-loss treatment options WVU Medicine offers include:
- Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
This weight-loss procedure restricts and decreases food intake through surgical removal of approximately 2/3 of the stomach.
- Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
This surgery reduces the size of the stomach and the amount of fat and calories absorbed.
- Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding
This is one of the least invasive approaches to weight-loss surgery because no permanent changes are made to the body’s physiology – the stomach stays intact, and the digestive process remains the same.
- Endoscopic weight-loss procedures
Our gastroenterologists provide non-surgical endoscopic weight-loss procedures using an endoscopic suturing device to reduce the size of the stomach and decrease food intake, including endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, transoral gastric outlet reduction, and endoscopic revision of sleeve gastrectomy, as well as gastric balloon and endoscopic management of surgical complications. Learn more about our endoscopic weight-loss procedures.
WVU Medicine provides a free, no obligation weight-loss surgery information session, so you can learn more about the different procedures we offer, including sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, and gastric banding.
Because patient and caregiver safety is our highest priority, WVU Medicine has suspended in-person weight-loss surgery information sessions due to COVID-19 until further notice. Patients can gain credit for attending an information session by completing and mailing the health history questionnaire and nutrition questionnaire, along with watching the bariatric information video or attend a webinar with our surgeons. Health history and nutrition questionnaires can be mailed to:
WVU Medicine Bariatrics
PO Box 9238
Morgantown, WV 26506
If you plan to attend the weight-loss surgery webinar, advanced registration is required. Select the webinar dates that work for your schedule on this online registration form or call 304-293-1728 to register. Webinars are held from 6 – 7:30 pm.
Learn more about our program in this weight-loss surgery booklet.
Weight-Loss Surgery FAQ
Who is a candidate for weight-loss surgery?
You may be a candidate for weight-loss surgery if:
- You are 100 pounds above your ideal body weight
- You have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40
- You have a BMI between 35 and 39.9 with one or more other complications, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or obstructive sleep apnea
- You’ve tried other medical weight-loss programs without success
How safe is weight-loss surgery?
Though weight-loss surgery has a reputation for being risky, procedures have improved a lot over the years. It’s riskier to continue to live with the health consequences of morbid obesity, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. Bariatric surgery procedures, like sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass, shrink the size of your stomach and change your metabolism; they are proven to be safe and effective. As with all types of abdominal surgery, there is a chance of post-operative complications, which may include nausea, upset stomach, blood clots, gastric leak, or wound infection. Your surgeon will discuss possible complications and risks with you.
What’s the first step to receive weight-loss surgery?
Attend a free, no obligation information session to learn more about the weight-loss procedures that WVU Medicine offers. After the information session, we will review the health information you provided and schedule an appointment for you to meet with a surgeon.
What happens at my first appointment?
A weight-loss surgeon will review your medical history and have a detailed discussion with you about the different types of bariatric procedures and which approach may work best for you. Additional testing and/or evaluations with other medical specialists will be needed. Screening tests performed before surgery help us plan for your surgical care. You will also meet with a psychologist and dietitian before surgery.
From the time I am seen in the office, how long before I will have the surgery?
In general, after the initial consultation in the office, it can take anywhere from three to six months to have the surgery. Once we gather the information that we need, we send a letter to your insurance company for pre-approval for the procedure. Once obtained, you will then undergo an in-depth history and physical examination as well as some laboratory tests and x-rays. Once those are done, provided there are no additional or unexpected medical problems that would require treatment first, we schedule your operation.
Will my insurance cover weight-loss surgery?
Most, but not all, insurance companies cover bariatric surgery. Prior to attending the information session, all patients are asked to contact their insurance company to inquire about their specific benefits/policy. Many insurance companies require proof of your long-term attempts to lose weight through diet and exercise and/or behavioral techniques.
How long does the surgery take?
The average length of surgery for the bypass is about one hour. A lap band takes about 30 minutes to complete.
How long is the hospital stay for weight-loss surgery?
The average length of stay for a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy is two nights. If you have a lap band placed, you will typically be in the hospital for one night.
When can I return to work after surgery?
In general, you can return to work within four to six weeks of having the operation.
How quickly does a person lose weight after surgery?
Patients generally lose 60 to 85 percent of their excess weight within the first year after surgery. After that, weight loss continues until about 18 months post-surgery when patients usually achieve their goal weight. If you exercise, attend support groups and eat healthy foods, your weight loss from bariatric surgery can be significantly greater.
Can I eat whatever I want after weight-loss surgery?
Patients who undergo bariatric surgery must adopt permanent lifestyle changes for the procedure to remain effective. You’ll work with a nutritionist who can help you make necessary adjustments. Food intake after surgery is limited to one or two ounces per scheduled meal, so that the stomach can heal properly. Later, the amount of food you can eat increases. About six months after surgery, you’ll be able to eat between four and eight ounces of food per meal.
Can I ever lose too much weight?
It is very unlikely for patients to lose too much weight. Occasionally, patients can develop a stricture (outlet obstruction) within the first few weeks after surgery. This is easily correctable. Blood work to screen for vitamin deficiencies is conducted on a regular basis to ensure that patients are well nourished and their needs are being met.
Is it possible to regain the weight after surgery?
Most patients who receive bariatric surgery lose and keep off substantial weight, often 100 pounds or more. Patients generally lose 60 to 85 percent of their excess weight within the first year after surgery. If you exercise, attend WVU Medicine bariatric support groups, and eat healthy foods, your weight loss from bariatric surgery may be significantly greater. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery estimates that about 50 percent of bariatric surgery patients may regain only a small amount of weight (approximately five percent) two years or more following their surgery. Most patients in the WVU Metabolic and Weight-Loss Surgery program have lasting results with significant improvement in health, activity, and well-being.
Can I become pregnant after having the surgery?
Individuals of childbearing age should avoid pregnancy for one year after surgery because rapid weight loss and nutritional deficiencies can harm a developing fetus. If you should become pregnant, you will need to carefully watch your dietary program to make sure you and your baby are well nourished.
Weight-Loss Surgery Support Group
Have you had bariatric surgery? Do you feel like you need extra guidance and understanding from your peers? Attend our free, monthly support group facilitated by a licensed healthcare professional. Pre-surgery and post-surgery patients discuss concerns, successes, and learn strategies to keep off the weight. All are welcome, and no appointment is necessary.
Bariatric Facebook Group
After weight-loss surgery, it can be challenging to stay focused on your weight-loss goals. We encourage patients to join our WVU Bariatric Facebook group, where you can find online support before and after your surgery.
Medical Weight Management Clinic
The Medical Weight Management Clinic at WVU Medicine is a non-surgical approach to weight loss that is directed by a physician and addresses food, movement, and behavioral changes. The program is open to adults of all fitness levels and various states of health. Call us at 304-598-4890 to register for a free, no obligation orientation session.
Finding Wellness is a new, free program for people who are ready to make healthy lifestyle changes to improve their personal health. This eight-week program is open to anyone in the community and meets from 4:30 – 6:30 pm on Tuesdays (in-person and virtual) and 11 am – 1 pm on Thursdays (virtual) at WVU Medicine University Town Centre.
Diabetes Education Center
The WVU Medicine Diabetes Education Center offers services for people with diabetes or who are at risk for developing diabetes. Classes and other ongoing services include a diabetes support group, education classes, and medical nutrition therapy.