First Steps for Bariatric Surgery
Find the support you need to prepare for successful weight-loss surgery at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill or the UNC Hillsborough Campus. Expect to spend six to 12 months completing our process and fulfilling your insurance provider’s requirements before surgery. Lean on our bariatric surgeons and team for personal, expert guidance throughout your journey.
Please join us for an information session to learn how weight-loss surgeries can help you or someone you care about. In the sessions, members of UNC Health Care's team - one of the nation's leading Bariatric groups - provide details on the options for Weight Loss Surgery and on the benefits of UNC's personalized approach. These seminars are optional.
The full schedule of seminars can be found here.
Bariatric Support Group
Meet your peers, hear first-hand weight-loss surgery stories, and find out what to expect during your journey. Attend free monthly weight-loss surgery support groups in Chapel Hill or Hillsborough. Support group attentance is optional.
The full schedule of support group meetings can be found here.
Verify Insurance Coverage
You must have health insurance through a private provider that covers bariatric surgery for your situation. Unfortunately UNC Charity Care doesn’t help pay for bariatric surgery at this time.
Call your insurance company and provide the following codes to see if it covers these procedures:
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: CPT 43644
- Sleeve gastrectomy: CPT 43775
Also, ask what your insurance provider requires you to do before it will cover your weight-loss surgery. Some insurance programs require patients to participate in a supervised bariatric diet and exercise programs with your primary care provider or our bariatric nurse practitioner. After completing this process, ask your primary care provider or our nurse practitioner to send a letter of support [PDF] to your insurance company. Patients with no insurance or UNC Charity Care will not qualify for the Bariatric Surgery Program.
Apply for an Appointment
Fill out our free online application that asks about your health history. You’ll get a phone call to set up an appointment as soon as possible with our team if you qualify for weight-loss surgery.
Attend a Bariatric Surgery Clinic
Meet with a bariatric nurse practitioner and registered dietitian during your first appointment. Expect to:
- Watch an overview of bariatric surgery.
- Review your medical history, including annual screenings and lab tests.
- Get nutrition counseling and discuss your current eating habits.
You'll receive a medical release form to fill out and bring to this appointment.
Start Your Intake Visit
Your initial intake clinic appointment will be with a dietitian and bariatric medicine provider at either our Chapel Hill or Hillsborough Clinic locations. You'll discuss the program requirements in detail and whether medical or surgical treatment is best for you. Usually, we'll do some lab work at this visit, but fasting is not required.
Complete Your Pre-Surgery Appointments
- Group Nutrition appointment, with dietitian follow-up 4 weeks after group appointment
- Psychologist appointment, to help determine if you are emotionally prepared to make lifelong lifestyle changes
- Additional follow up with the dietitian and/or nurse practitioner as needed; working to ensure that you have or will have the necessary support system around you as you proceed through treatments
- Additional program visits will be scheduled as needed
- If you are a surgical candidate, once all program and insurance requirements have been met, we will submit everything to your insurance company for final approval
- Upon approval, an appointment with a Bariatric Surgeon will be scheduled for consultation and surgery date
- Following surgery you will have a post-op visit within two-weeks, as well as follow-up appointments with the dietitian and medical provider at 3 months, 6 months and annually for 5 years