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Bariatric Surgery Clinic

Sajida Ahad, MD, FACS

FREE Informational Seminar on Weight Loss Surgery Options

Register online for a FREE informational seminar with Bariatric Surgeon Sajida Ahad, MD, FACS. Or, call (319) 398-6747 for more information.


You CAN lose weight. Mercy Bariatric Surgery Program is here to help.

Mercy’s Bariatric Surgery Clinic provides surgical weight loss options to help you with lifelong success with weight control and healthy living.

Our comprehensive program is under the direction of Sajida Ahad MD, FACS – one of the few surgeons in the United States who is trained in obesity medicine and bariatric surgery.

Do I qualify for bariatric surgery?

To be considered for bariatric surgery, you are required to meet a number of criteria. In most cases, you should:

  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or higher with significant obesity/weight-related medical problems (high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, etc.) or body mass index of 40 or higher.
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 70
  • Has struggled long-term with excessive weight
  • Not be actively using illicit drugs, excessive alcohol or any tobacco product
  • Be able to incorporate lifestyle modifications and commit to long-term follow-up

Do you have questions on whether you quality for bariatric surgery? Attend one of our free educational seminars.

Getting Started

  1. Informational Seminar
    The informational seminar is free and mandatory for anyone considering weight-loss surgery. You will get to know the bariatric surgery team and the types of weight-loss surgery Mercy Medical Center offers. This is a great way to explore options and make the very best decision for your health! Register for a seminar now. If you are unable to register online, please contact Kerri Swisher, RN, Bariatric Program Coordinator, at (319) 398-6747 to check availability.

    Prior to the seminar – we would like you to fill out a health questionnaire (print one here) and bring it with you to the educational seminar. After we have received the questionnaire, we will contact you to make an appointment for an initial consultation in the Bariatric Surgery Clinic.

  2. Insurance
    Prior to your first appointment, ask your insurance company if they cover weight-loss surgery, lap gastric bypass, lap sleeve gastrectomy or lap adjustable band. Also ask what requirements must be completed in order to be approved, such as length of physician-supervised diet and psychiatric evaluation. It is your responsibility to understand your insurance coverage.

    We have included an insurance form in the patient questionnaire that we require you to use when talking with your insurance provider. Please fill out and return this form with your patient questionnaire.We are available for assistance and will verify coverage with your insurance company as well.

  3. Initial Consultation
    When you arrive for your consultation, you will meet with the bariatric surgery team (coordinator, dietitian and surgeon). You will also receive a patient information binder at this visit. From this point on, your weight-loss journey will be individualized. Together as a team, we will help you decide which procedure is best for you based on previous history, preference, insurance and lifestyle.

  4. Nutrition Counseling
    All weight-loss surgery patients must meet with a dietitian to discuss dietary counseling, nutritional education, and pre- and post-operative dietary requirements. Your insurance may not cover these visits, but these are a requirement of our program.

  5. Psychological Evaluation
    All weight-loss surgery patients must undergo a psychiatric evaluation prior to surgery to ensure the best possible outcome. Weight loss surgery is a life changing decision and the psychiatric evaluation is the first step to ensure that your journey is successful.

  6. Additional Consultations
    Based on your medical history, you may be required to get other consultations prior to approval for surgery (primary care provider, pulmonology, cardiology, endocrinology, etc.).

  7. Insurance Pre-approval
    After you successfully completed all dietary consultations, the psychiatric evaluation, and any additional consultations or tests and you have incorporated the required lifestyle changes, our team will review your case and submit to your insurance provider for pre-approval.

  8. Assignment of Surgery Date
    Once the office receives approval from your insurance company, we will meet with you to pick a date for surgery.

  9. Pre-operative Diet
    Patients are routinely placed on a pre-operative liquid diet prior to their surgery. Depending on your starting weight, your liquid diet may last two to four weeks. This helps shrink your liver so the surgeon can better access your stomach during surgery.

  10. Day of Surgery
    Report to the Surgery Center’s waiting area. Mercy Surgery Center is accessible by using any south entrance and taking the elevator to Level 2.

    Surgery patients are normally asked to arrive 2 hours before their scheduled surgery. The nurses will prepare you for the operating room by starting an IV and asking you questions about your medications and health history.

    Your family and friends can wait in the Surgery Center’s waiting area while you are in the OR and recovery room. You will be taken to a private room for the rest of your inpatient stay. Friends and family can visit.


Mercy Medical Center accepts most private insurance, as well as Medicare and Medicaid. Every insurance company and individual plans are different. To meet requirements for most insurance companies, you must have documented weight-loss attempts. The bariatric surgery team will help you navigate insurance requirements for approval.

Surgeries We Perform

Laparoscopic/Open Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y)

  • Gastric bypass is a malabsorptive and restrictive procedure. A small stomach pouch is created that reduces the amount of food you can eat. The intestines are re-routed, which causes nutrients not to be absorbed in the usual manner.

    Before and after surgery

Laparoscopic/Open Sleeve Gastrectomy (Vertical Gastrectomy)

  • A sleeve gastrectomy is a restrictive surgery in which approximately 75 to 85 percent of your stomach is removed. You lose weight by restricting the amount of food that can be eaten and absorbed. No re-routing of your intestines occurs. Your new stomach now holds 3 ounces or less.

    Removed portion of stomach

Laparoscopic/Open Gastric Banding (LAP-BAND)

  • A lap adjustable band procedure is a restrictive procedure in which the surgeon places a band around your upper stomach to create a small pouch. This restricts the amount of food that can be eaten.

    Adjustable gastric band

Revisional Bariatric Surgery

  • Bariatric surgery is often a successful weight loss tool. However, some patients may need to have revisional bariatric surgery due to weight regain, complications, or the need to lose additional weight. If you had a previous bariatric surgery and feel you may be a candidate for revisional surgery, please contact us or attend a free information seminar for more information.

Bariatric Surgery Team

Weight loss through bariatric surgery is much more than a simple procedure — it is a journey. Bariatric patients undergo profound physical and emotional changes, and our compassionate team is here to support every aspect of your weight-loss goals. Our comprehensive program includes a team of board-certified experts, including your surgeon, nurse, program coordinator, dietitian and psychologist, who assist you through surgery and partner as your coaches to help successfully guide you through the changes your bariatric surgery journey will bring. Learn more about your team.

After Surgery

Average weight loss after bariatric surgery is 60 to 80 percent of your excess body weight within the first year. Many patients see an improvement or complete resolution in conditions associated with obesity: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, joint pain and depression. However, every patient’s journey and weight loss will depend on his or her level of compliance and commitment to healthy dietary changes and exercise throughout his or her lifetime. The Bariatric Surgery Clinic will continue to monitor your health and weight loss after surgery through mandatory follow-up visits at one week, every three months for the first year, and then yearly.

Support Groups

Our Bariatric Surgery Support Group is for patients, friends and family who are considering bariatric surgery or have had bariatric surgery. The group is led by a member of the bariatric surgery team, with guest speakers such as dietitians, plastic surgeons, physical and exercise therapists, and many more. Different topics are discussed every month and attendees are encouraged to participate in activities such as the clothing exchange. Attendance is required after your first appointment and is a prerequisite before surgery can be performed. Registration is not required. Click here for more details.


Post-Surgery Supplements

  • Multivitamin complete
  • B12
  • Calcium with vitamin D

    If you have any other deficiencies, we will treat them accordingly.

Potential Complications After Bariatric Surgery

  • Ulcers
  • Dumping syndrome (Roux-N-y)
  • Blood clots/pulmonary embolism
  • Gallstones
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Anastamotic/Staple line leak
  • Stomal stenosis
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Hernias


To refer a patient, please email Kerri Swisher, RN, Bariatric Program Coordinator, at, or within EPIC under Ambulatory Bariatric Surgery.

Mercy and MercyCare providers, please submit your referral through EPIC to Bariatric Surgery.

If you are a non-Mercy Provider, please email Kerri Swisher, RN, Bariatric Program Coordinator, at, and include the patient's name, DOB, contact information, and the referring provider's name and phone number.

Mercy’s Bariatric Surgery Clinic is a collaborative initiative between Mercy Medical Center and UI Health Care. A small number of patients may have referrals extended to UIHC’s Bariatric Surgery Clinic based on certain patient health factors.

BMI Calculator

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Please note: This information should not be construed as professional medical advice. This tool is accurate for heights between 4'10" and 7'0" and excludes pregnant women, children and athletes.

Contact Information

8th & 8th Medical Office Building

Mercy 8th & 8th Medical Park
Level 3 / Suite 300
788 8th Ave. SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Park in the lot on the corner of 8th Avenue and 7th Street SE.

Phone Number:

For questions or scheduling, call:
(319) 398-6747