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Weight loss surgery


For many people, diet and exercise are simply not enough to achieve the kind of weight loss they need. If your weight is endangering your health and preventing you from doing the things you love, weight loss surgery could be your path to a healthier and more active life.  

Weight loss surgery—also known as bariatric surgery—works by limiting the amount of food you can eat at one time. It permanently alters the digestive tract, so weight loss doesn’t depend on restrictive diets or unrealistic exercise programs. There are several types of weight loss surgeries available, and your Allina Health care team will help you select the right option for you. Then they’ll guide you through every step of your bariatric surgery journey—from pre-surgery prep to post-surgery recovery and beyond. 

Take the first step 

We invite you to attend our free online webinar to learn more about weight loss surgery. Or call to speak with weight loss surgery specialist. 

Learn more

Types of weight loss (bariatric) surgery

There are several types of weight loss surgery also known as bariatric surgery. In most cases, you will have laparoscopic surgery. Allina Health surgeons use laparoscopic surgery because you will have smaller incisions, smaller scars, less pain, shorter hospital stay, faster recovery and fewer complications. 

Allina Health Weight Management offers the following types of bariatric surgery: 

Surgery to lose weight is a complex and personal decision. This option is best for people who have who have not been able to sustain weight loss through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. One of the requirements for weight loss surgery is a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher. Your Allina Health care team will help you determine if surgery is the right choice for you and your health. 

Read more about surgery benefits and complications in this article to learn Is bariatric surgery right for you?

How to prepare for weight loss surgery

At Allina Health, we'll help you achieve healthy weight loss with an expert team, convenience and ongoing support through every step of weight loss surgery.

What to expect before surgery 

  • Your care team will help you determine the surgery that is best to meet your needs. 
  • We will work with you and your insurance company to understand what services and care are covered. 
  • You can expect that it will take at least three to six months to prepare for surgery. 
  • You will get a lot of education and information before surgery to make sure you feel prepared. 
  • You will have several clinic visits before surgery. 
  • You will attend a pre-op class (script | Russian | Somali | Spanish) that will go over all the details you need to prepare for surgery.
  • You may be referred to Courage Kenny Sports & Physical Therapy to support your preparation for surgery, recovery, your new lifestyle and wellness. 
  • During your hospital stay, you will receive compassionate care from specially trained staff members. 

What to expect after surgery 

Our mission is to provide whole person care. As part of our surgical weight loss program, you will follow up with the surgical team in the immediate post-op period to make sure you are healing well from your operation. At the three month point after surgery, you will transition to our Lifestyle Aftercare program. This program will continue our focus to support you with overall health and wellness. The Weight Management Lifestyle Aftercare Program will focus on a lifestyle approach to help support long-term weight management and allow you to stay connected to your medical providers.

A lifestyle approach includes practices known to help patients and their families improve their health and quality of life by addressing six areas:

  • Eating a healthful diet/nutritional support
  • Getting more active/exercise
  • Stress management
  • Good quality sleep
  • Reducing or eliminating tobacco and alcohol and eliminating risky substances.
  • Supporting good quality relationships/social connectedness

You will transition to a new provider at this point and will follow up with that team for the rest of your life.  Our goal is to be here for you every step of the way.

Additionally, after surgery:

  • Post-operative clinic visits monitor your progress and help you stay on track—at least once a year, every year. 
  • Access to free weight-loss surgery support groups, available across the metro area. 
  • Your provider may refer you to Courage Kenny Sports & Physical Therapy, where you’ll get guidance to increase your activity level and move safely and confidently—and help you transition to a home exercise plan. 

Benefits of weight loss surgery

Weight loss surgery not only enables you to enjoy your life in a new way, it can improve many types of health problems:

  • type 2 diabetes 
  • high blood pressure 
  • sleep apnea 
  • arthritis 
  • heart disease 
  • high cholesterol 
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) 
  • infertility 
  • headaches 
  • back and joint pain 

Nationally recognized weight loss surgery program

National bariatric surgery recognition  
Abbott Northwestern, Mercy and United hospitals are nationally recognized for safe, high-quality bariatric surgery standards by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. The program accredits bariatric surgery centers that have undergone peer evaluation in accordance with nationally recognized bariatric surgical standards. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Distinction Center 
Abbott Northwestern Hospital and United Hospital are recognized for their bariatric surgery programs as a Blue Cross Blue Shield BDC+ programs. Blue Distinction Centers+ are healthcare facilities and providers recognized for their expertise and efficiency in delivering specialty care. 

Optum/UnitedHealthcare Bariatric Centers of Excellence 

  • Allina Health Weight Management – Mercy is an Optum/UnitedHealthcare Bariatric Center of Excellence. 
  • Allina Health Weight Management – United is an Optum/UnitedHealthcare Bariatric Center of Excellence. 

Billing and insurance

Please check with your insurance company and ask questions before scheduling with a surgeon to ensure you are covered for weight loss surgery. 



Related links

Source: Deborah Vanderall, RN, program manager, Allina Health Weight Management
Reviewed by: Charles Svendsen, MD, MBA, program medical director, Allina Health Weight Management

First published: 12/13/2017
Last reviewed: 1/29/2021