• Bariatric Surgery Team of Experts
    Bariatric surgery could be your best option for living a healthy life. Let's find out together.

Ohio State is a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence

At Ohio State, our bariatrics program specializes in fitting surgical procedures to individuals with severe obesity. And we’re not just concerned with helping you lose the weight – we also want to help lower your risk of associated medical conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea, which can lead to heart failure, heart attack, blood clots and stroke, among other issues.

Ohio State was the first in central Ohio to develop a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program using a team of experts in psychology, nutrition, exercise physiology, endocrinology and more to ensure your long-term success. Our team approach involves physicians, nurses, dietitians and exercise specialists to personalize a weight-loss plan to meet your specific goals and needs. We are dedicated to offering you the highest standards of quality care and safety. We know that your weight-loss journey doesn’t end after surgery. That’s why we provide ongoing nutrition, fitness and wellness support, including fitness center and warm-water pool programs. Find out if bariatrics is the right weight-loss option for you by attending one of our bariatric surgery information sessions.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a weight-loss technique that changes the anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract (the stomach and digestive system) and creates physiological changes in the body that alter energy balance and fat metabolism. In Ohio State’s Comprehensive Weight Management Program, bariatric surgery is combined with guidance on nutrition, exercise regimens and behavior changes tailored to each individual to help them reach long-term success.

Why bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for weight loss in people who have a BMI or 35 or above. Many people in this group may have temporary success with changes in diet and exercise and/or by using diet pills, but research shows that much of the weight lost is likely to return over the years.

Bariatrics has been shown to help improve or resolve many obesity-related medical conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Often, those who reduce their weight to a healthier level are able to take fewer medications to treat their obesity-related conditions.

Who qualifies for weight loss surgery?

Who qualifies for weight loss surgery?

Bariatric surgery usually is recommended only for people who have a BMI of 35 or higher and who have tried losing weight using medication or diet and exercise changes without success.

This surgery typically is recommended for those with a BMI of 40 or higher even if they have no obesity-related medical conditions. 

For those with a BMI of 35 to 39.9, bariatric surgery generally is recommended when the person also has one or more obesity-related condition (or co-morbidity), including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), sleep apnea and other respiratory disorders, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, lipid abnormalities, gastrointestinal disorders or heart disease.

Conditions to Qualify

There are four conditions to be met to qualify for bariatric surgery:

  • If you have a known endocrine (glandular) or metabolic cause for obesity, such as low thyroid levels, the issue needs to be addressed with medication before surgery.

  • You must have attempted medical weight loss treatments (weight management guided by a medical expert) without success.

  • You must understand the risks of the operation and be able to give consent.

  • You must be prepared and willing to commit to lifestyle changes prescribed for you, including regular follow-up appointments that are necessary for you to be successful after surgery. These lifestyle changes vary for each person, and your weight-management team will be able to prepare you for what to expect at your first appointments. If you are a smoker, you will need to have been smoke-free for at least 90 days before surgery can be considered. 

Who’s not eligible?

  • Anyone with a known endocrine (glandular) or metabolic problem that’s left untreated

  • Anyone with an untreated or unresolved eating disorder, major psychiatric problem or substance abuse history

  • Anyone who is too ill or high-risk for surgery

  • Anyone who may want to become pregnant less than a year after surgery (bariatric surgery can temporarily deplete vitamins that would help with fetal development)


Steps to get started on your journey to weight loss

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center's Bariatric Surgery Program specializes in helping people with severe obesity, a condition that puts people at very high risk for suffering from other chronic and life-threatening medical problems. Find out if bariatric surgery is the right weight-loss option for you by taking part in one of our bariatric surgery information sessions.


Step 1: Attend an Information Session

The first step in the bariatric surgery process is attending a mandatory information session. 

If you are facing challenges with weight or have been unsuccessful with more traditional weight-loss methods, choosing to explore bariatric surgery is not "giving up" or "taking the easy way out." Bariatric surgery takes just as much commitment to be successful, but it may be the best option for you.

Before we determine if you are a good candidate for bariatric surgery, it's important that you understand the surgical process, as well as the risks and the personal responsibilities that come before and after surgery. To learn more about these components, we invite you to join us for a free information session.

During our free information sessions you will:

  • Learn about the benefits of choosing Ohio State for your weight-loss surgery
  • Meet members of our clinical support team
  • Learn about surgery options and have the opportunity to ask questions
  • Hear from and about successful bariatric surgery patients
  • Receive an application packet for weight-loss surgery

Our in-person sessions are held monthly at Martha Morehouse Medical Pavilion auditorium, 2050 Kenny Road, Columbus, OH 43221. Parking is free.

Find a session

Step 2: Check Insurance Coverage

Contact your insurance provider to see if bariatric surgery is covered for you. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • Does my insurance policy cover bariatric surgery? (Your provider may also call this “treatment for morbid obesity” or “weight-loss surgery.”)
  • Are Ohio State surgeons Bradley Needleman, MD, and Sabrena Noria, MD, PhD, covered in my policy?
  • What are the medical necessity criteria for covering bariatric (weight-loss) surgery?
  • Do I need a primary care referral for bariatric surgery to be covered?
Download insurance information for prior authorization:

CareSource, Molina, other Medicaid HMO's

Ohio State Prime Care


Step 3: Begin a Weight Management Program

Each insurance provider has different requirements that must be met before approving your bariatric surgery. Some require you to complete a weight management program for a specific amount of time before they will grant approval. You are encouraged to speak with your insurance company and meet with your primary care provider to get this process started as soon as possible.

Step 4: Complete Application Packet

The application packet is a necessary step of the journey and is very detailed: you must identify the medications you take, any prior surgeries and every diet plan you’ve tried to follow. 
  • Download and fill out the Steps to Get Started Application Packet.  
  • Return completed packet to the Bariatric Surgery Department:
    • Email: ObesitySurgery@osumc.edu
    • Mail or Drop Off: Martha Morehouse Medical Plaza, 2050 Kenny Rd, 2nd Floor Pavilion, Suite 2500, Columbus OH, 43221
Special notice on email:
  • The Health System recognizes that patients may prefer email as a way to communicate with us.

  • Please be aware that information sent using email may not be secure. These is a possibility that information about you may be intercepted and read by other people. We will ask your permission before using unsecure email to communicate with you about your health care that involves your health information.

  • If you give us your email address, we may email you information about our products and services, tips about healthy living or when we open a new location.

  • Patients also ask us if they can email their providers about their health care. Whenever possible, we prefer that patients use MyChart to securely communicate with health care providers because of the inherent risk that email communications are unsecure.

Step 5: Bariatric Counseling and Consultations

After attending an information session, learning about your insurance coverage and submitting your application for surgery, you’ll get to meet with some of our experts so they can learn more about your individual needs.

This complete counseling and consultation process includes:
  • Bariatric counseling – All candidates for bariatric surgery at Ohio State will have a consultation with a psychologist. During this appointment, a psychologist will review and interpret a few tests to learn more about you and the ways you cope with life events and stress. You and the psychologist will also discuss your current and past lifestyles and how weight has affected your decisions. This is a required part of the process and will help us make sure you are successful before and after surgery.

  • Medical and dietary evaluations – Once your completed application has been received and your bariatric counseling has been scheduled, we will contact you to schedule consultations with our team of dietitians and clinical experts. During these visits, we will learn about your overall health and current to determine if you are ready for weight-loss surgery, and if so, which procedure will best meet your needs. 

  • A dietitian will meet with you to determine whether you’re nutritionally ready for surgery.

  • Blood will be drawn for some tests, and other procedures may be ordered to ensure that you receive all the care your need to prepare safely for surgery.

  • At the end of these visits, you will have a written plan to decrease your personal health risks for surgery (including medical testing and goals), as well as the items your program coordinator has identified as insurance requirements. 

  • You must work with your program coordinator to complete your developed plan and meet your medical requirements before you can move forward in the surgical process; once these are finalized, we will request insurance approval for surgery.

Step 6: Pre-Operative Consult with Your Surgeon

Once you have been approved for surgery by your insurance provider and our staff, we will schedule an appointment with you and your surgeon to discuss the benefits and risks of your surgery. If not already scheduled, our staff will then work with you to schedule a date for your surgery.

Step 7: Day of Surgery

Typically, patients are admitted to the hospital on the morning of their surgery. Your procedure will last about one to two-and-a-half hours.

Your stay in the hospital may last between one and three days. During that time, you’ll be placed on a clear-liquid diet to help your stomach and intestines return to their normal function and to reduce the possibility of leaks as you heal

Weight loss surgery options

About 95 percent of bariatric surgeries at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, meaning a surgeon inserts instruments through several small incisions. Rarely do Ohio State surgeons perform open bariatric surgery.
Each person is different, and choosing a surgery type will depend on your medical history, lifestyle and nutritional habits. Once you begin meeting with our experts, having open and honest discussions with them can provide you with all necessary information to choose a procedure that fits your needs.

Minimally invasive surgery features several benefits over open surgery:

•  less pain after surgery


•  less skin and muscle tissue trauma


•  less-noticeable scars


•  earlier mobility



•  fewer wound complications


•  shorter hospital stays

•  shorter recovery times        

Gastricbypass Gastric Bypass

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgery aids weight loss by reducing the stomach size, leading to a fuller feeling after eating less.

GastricSleeve Sleeve Gastrectomy

Sleeve Gastrectomy

With sleeve gastrectomy, patients lose about 60-70 percent of excess weight within 18 months after surgery.

Gastricbanding Gastric Banding

Gastric Banding

Gastric banding is an adjustable and reversible form of bariatric surgery.

FeaturePageListingCalloutBariballoon Gastric Balloon

Gastric Balloon

The intragastric balloon is a non-surgical, temporary method of weight loss that must be removed within six months.

Why choose Ohio State for Bariatric Surgery?

Why choose Ohio State for Bariatric Surgery?

  • With more than 30 years of bariatric surgery experience, Ohio State teaches surgeons from across the nation how to perform this surgery.
  • More weight-loss surgeries are performed at Ohio State than at any other program in central Ohio, with 95 percent performed using minimally invasive techniques.

  • Ohio State is recognized as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence® by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

  • Our bariatric surgery program sees complication rates much lower than national standards.

  • Ohio State was the first in central Ohio to perform minimally invasive gastric bypass surgery. 



  • "The physicians and staff members at Ohio State are so positive; they made me feel like my surgery day was going to be the first day of the rest of my life."
    Melissa Bariatric Surgery Patient

Patient Success Stories

Shaun's Bariatric Journey

Meet Shaun and learn how the bariatric program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center helped him shed 120 pounds so that he can live life to the fullest by spending more time with his daughter.

Christopher's Bariatric Journey

Meet Christopher and learn how the bariatric surgery program and care team at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has helped him lose 134 pounds and stop taking his medication, and has transformed his quality of life.

Kristan’s Bariatric Journey

Meet Kristan and learn how the Ohio State Bariatric Surgery Program gave her hope and has helped her live life to the fullest for more than six years.

Randy’s Bariatric Journey

Meet Randy and learn how the Ohio State Bariatric Surgery Program helped him lose 140 pounds, stop taking medication and has allowed him to spend much more free time with his daughter.

Melissa’s Bariatric Journey

Meet Melissa and learn how the Ohio State Bariatric Surgery Program saved her life, sparked her passion for exercise and helped her on her journey to health and wellness.

Bariatric Providers

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