Rapides Surgical Weight Loss Clinic

At Rapides Regional Medical Center, we offer weight loss solutions to let you feel good about your health. Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a rewarding process, but one that requires patience, dedication and hard work.

Obesity has a wide range of physical effects on the body in addition to contributing to co-morbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and joint pain. Weight loss surgery is one tool that can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

To learn more about the surgical weight loss program at our hospital, please call the program coordinator at (318) 769-3822.

Weight Loss Surgery Assessment

Candidates for weight loss surgery

Weight loss surgery is a procedure for patients who are morbidly obese. Depending on your height, most women who weigh more than 220 pounds, or men who weigh more than 240 pounds, may be eligible for weight loss surgery.

Potential candidates typically meet the following criteria:

  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
  • Have a BMI of 35 to 39.9 and have been diagnosed with one or more co-morbid conditions
  • Are committed to following the rules of a weight loss surgery program
  • Understand that surgery is a tool that requires lifestyle changes for long-term success.

To learn more about bariatric surgery at our hospital, please watch these three videos.

What is BMI?

Body mass index, commonly referred to as BMI, is a simple calculation based on your body weight and height. While BMI is not a perfect measure, for example a body builder with a high muscle mass or a pregnant female, for the general population it is a good measure and is the standard used to determine eligibility for weight loss surgery. Use the tool below to calculate your BMI.

BMI Calculator

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.





Your BMI Score is:


Your BMI indicates your weight is in the underweight range. By gaining a few pounds, you may lower your chances of health problems.

Congratulations! Your BMI indicates that your weight is in the healthy range.

Your BMI indicates your weight is in the overweight range. To lower your chances of health problems, you may consider losing some weight.

Your BMI indicates your weight is in the obese range, which can have a significant impact on your health.

All information provided by this website is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a health care professional. No information provided in this site may be considered medical advice. The information may not be relevant for your individual situation and may be misinterpreted. HCA assumes no responsibility for how you use information obtained from this site. Before making any decisions regarding your health care, ask your personal physician.

Our surgical weight loss program

The Rapides Surgical Weight Loss Program offers:

  • A dietitian to help assess, monitor and counsel patients before and after surgery to improve adherence to recommendations and maximize weight loss
  • A registered nurse for program coordination, patient education, encouragement and support
  • Caring, sensitive and compassionate staff with specialized training
  • Size-friendly furnishings and equipment for the comfort and safety of our guests and patients.

FAQs of Weight Loss Surgery

Can weight loss surgery prolong my life?

  • A study published in 2007 definitively answered this question – yes, it can. Other more current studies have confirmed this fact. One such study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in October 2020 found that among patients with obesity, bariatric surgery was associated with longer life expectancy than usual obesity care.

Can weight loss surgery help other medical conditions?

  • Research shows that weight loss surgery can improve or resolve health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, joint pain, lipid disorders, reflux and many more diseases associated with obesity co-morbid conditions. Data even shows a reduction in rates of certain cancers.

What is the recommended age range for weight loss surgery candidates?

  • Generally accepted guidelines from the American Society for Bariatric Surgery and the National Institutes of Health indicate surgery only for those 18 years of age and older.
  • The risk of surgery in the elderly age group is increased, but the benefits of surgery, in terms of improved overall health and quality of life are also increased. Therefore, we will accept people into our program by health age, not chronological age. It is all about understanding and managing the risk-to-benefit ratios.

Is weight loss surgery dangerous?

  • Although there is always a risk with any surgery, weight loss surgery has relatively low surgical risks. Many people are scared of weight loss surgery.  However, fear is most likely held from when the procedures were first done in an open fashion.  With current laparoscopic and robotic techniques, bariatric weight loss surgery is safer than ever before.

How will I prepare for weight loss surgery?

  • Planning for weight loss surgery is like running a marathon. You would not just go out for a run, you would prepare for it. Weight loss surgery is generally safe, but that is because we take the time to educate and get you ready for surgery. Over the course of four to six months, you will meet with various doctors, including your weight loss surgeon and your primary care physician. You will have lab work drawn and additional pre-op testing. Specialty appointments, such as with a cardiologist or endocrinologist, may be necessary depending on your medical history. Based on the requirements of your insurance company, you will also meet with a mental health professional, a dietitian and an exercise specialist.

What is the advantage of robotic weight loss surgery?

  • The advantages are the same as most robotic surgeries – less pain and a faster recovery time.

FAQs of After Weight Loss Surgery

How long do I have to stay in the hospital?

  • The average hospital stay for sleeve and bypass surgery is one to two days.

How soon will I be able to walk?

  • Almost immediately after surgery, we will want you out of bed and walking. This decreases the rate of lung infections. Early walking also increases the return of bowel function.

What happens if there is a leak or complication from surgery?

  • We have the necessary equipment and personnel to take care of you.

Will I get excess skin?

  • Not all patients have excess skin after surgery, but some do. Those patients who have more muscle mass have less excess skin, and that is why we stress the importance of exercise once the weight starts to come off.  If you are left with excess skin that makes you uncomfortable, there are plastic surgery skin procedures that can help with this issue.

Do most people who have weight loss surgery regain their weight?

  • No. A small number of patients can regain their weight but the vast majority lose significant weight and keep this weight off.  This is why we set you up for success by educating you about diet and physical activity prior to surgery.

What are the known vitamin issues I will have after the procedure?

  • Not all patients require vitamin supplements after bariatric surgery. The Sleeve Gastrectomy has a lower requirement for vitamin support, while a need for supplemented vitamins is high for gastric by-pass surgery.  However, we follow our patients for life, and your weight loss surgery bariatric team and primary care doctor will monitor you closely for years to come to ensure no deficiency develops.

Will I have to take vitamins after surgery?

  • You will need to take a multivitamin for life
  • You may need higher doses of some vitamins or minerals especially Iron, Calcium and Vitamin D, although there is a lower requirement for patients having a Sleeve Gastrectomy than for gastric by-pass.
  • As long as patients take their vitamins as instructed, it is rare to have health problems associated with vitamin deficiency. We follow our patients for life and will monitor you closely to ensure no deficiency develops.