Bariatric Surgery FAQ | UnityPoint Health Grinnell Regional Medical Ce

Frequently Asked Questions

How does weight-loss surgery work?

Weight-loss surgery, called bariatric surgery, reduces the size of the stomach by either reshaping it or placing a band around a portion of it. Because the stomach is smaller, patients feel fuller faster and thus eat smaller meals. These changes in eating habits lead to successful weight loss and maintenance. Patients must also remain physically active to improve their overall health and wellness. Bariatric surgery is the only option today that effectively treats obesity in people for whom more conservative measures such as diet, exercise and medication have not been effective. 

What surgery options are available at Grinnell Bariatrics? 

We are the only hospital in Iowa to offer weight-loss surgeries using the daVinci XI robotic surgical unit. Most surgeries are completed with minimally invasive procedures to give patients faster recovery, less pain and less scarring.

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
This weight loss surgery makes your stomach smaller and causes food to bypass part of the small intestine. Our surgeons will divide the stomach into two parts: an upper "pouch" and a lower, unused portion. The "pouch" is a small pocket that can only hold about one ounce of food, or about 1/8 of a cup. After creating the pouch, part of the intestine is connected to the pouch –this leads to the "bypassing" of the lower part of the stomach and a few feet of small intestine. Gastric Bypass is generally performed laparoscopically.

Gastric Sleeve
If you choose this path for weight loss, this surgery makes your stomach smaller. A portion of the stomach is removed, converting the stomach into a long narrow tube. This surgery does not interrupt the usual intestinal continuity. This operation is done laparoscopically or robotically.

Medical Weight Loss
Surgery may not be the best treatment for your weight loss journey. Sometimes there are medical options you have not even considered, yet. Grinnell Bariatrics and Grinnell Regional Medical Center offer a comprehensive medical weight-loss program under such circumstances that includes disease management, behavioral therapy, nutritional education, and fitness recommendations to help our patients make a speedy recovery

The Grinnell Bariatrics team is dedicated to helping you succeed. Nothing is more important than answering your questions or taking the time to understand your goals. They work with you extensively to determine which type of surgery is best for you. As an American College of Surgeons Center of Excellence, Grinnell Bariatrics has everything you need to be successful on your weight loss journey.

What are the risks of surgery?

All major surgery comes with risks, and the risks are different for each patient. At the Grinnell Regional Medical Center, our surgeons have better outcomes than most. During your first appointment, your surgeon will explain your individual risk level.

How do I determine if this is right for me?

Grinnell Bariatrics follows guidelines supported by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program in order to determine a patient's eligibility for weight-loss surgery. Rather than using weight, we use body mass index (BMI) as a criteria for surgery. Individuals are candidates for surgery if:
Their BMI is greater than 40 or between 35 and 40 with major obesity-related medical problems, e.g. diabetes, hypertension, hyperchloremic, sleep apnea. Click here to calculate your BMI.
They have failed previous attempts at weight loss in a medically supervised program
Before becoming eligible for surgery, you will meet with our surgeons, dietitians, psychologists, and members of our nursing staff for a full evaluation.

What is required of me before I'm scheduled for surgery?

Your team of nurses, surgeons, therapists, dietitian, and wellness specialists will work with you for several months prior to your surgery. Some insurance companies require a patient to be in a physician-supervised weight-loss program for at least six-months before surgery.

You will complete a surgical consultation, mental health consultation, diagnostic testing, pre-surgery education class, pre-operative interview, and pre-operative physical exam.

Will my insurance cover bariatric surgery?

Most insurance companies cover weight-loss surgery providing you meet certain medical criteria. For example, you may be required to provide documentation from your physician of six to 12 months of medically supervised weight loss. Before you come for your first appointment, please call your insurance company to find out if weight-loss surgery is covered. Our patient coordinators, who are experienced in working with insurance companies, will assist you in determining your individual coverage.

Why choose GRMC?

As a multidisciplinary team, Grinnell Regional Bariatrics has more than 30 years of experience and have performed more than 2,000 weight-loss procedures. Because of our experience with all bariatric surgery options, our experts can accurately recommend the best surgical treatment for each patient. The surgeons at Grinnell Bariatrics have extensive experience in minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic surgery and open surgery, and are board certified and members in good standing of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

In addition, our surgeons regularly treat people who also have obesity-related problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and digestive disorders. In some cases, these conditions can make surgery more complex. Our experts draw on their years of experience to address each patient's specific needs before, during, and after surgery -- making the entire procedure safer for even the most difficult cases.

If I am interested in weight-loss surgery, what is my first step?

Once you have decided to explore weight-loss surgery, please call our surgeons at 855-567-7123.