Weight Loss Surgery

The most experienced weight loss surgery team in the region

• More than 3,000 bariatric surgeries performed since opening in 2002

• Recognized as a MBSAQIP Accredited - Comprehensive Center since 2007 

• Recognized as a CIGNA Bariatric Center of Excellence

• Our team of physicians, experts and our bariatric community support and guide you every step of the way


While proper diet and exercise are the best ways for losing weight, we understand that this doesn’t always work for individuals with major weight problems. If you are having trouble losing weight through traditional diet and exercise, bariatric surgery may be a safe option for you to successfully regain your health.

The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus has the most experienced bariatric program in the region, having performed more than 3,000 bariatric surgeries since 2002. Our surgeons are board-certified in general surgery and are fellows of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society from Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, specializing in minimally invasive, laparoscopic, robotic and nonsurgical options. In addition to having top surgeons, we provide a multidisciplinary team including a medical weight loss expert, dietitians, nurses and other professionals with expertise in caring for patients before, during and after weight loss surgery.

Weight loss surgery is a huge commitment and we fully equip you with the knowledge you need to understand the road ahead and ensure the best outcome. We help you choose the right procedure, navigate your insurance policy, prepare you for surgery and support you through recovery. Our job doesn’t end after surgery. We continue to provide long-term follow-up care, support groups and nutrition and exercise guidance to ensure you achieve your weight loss goals with lasting results.

What is bariatric (weight loss) surgery?

Bariatric surgery, commonly referred to as weight loss surgery, is a medical procedure designed for the treatment of obesity in which a surgeon alters the amount of food your stomach can hold, causing malabsorption of calories and nutrients, which results in dramatic weight loss. Bariatric surgery has been shown to improve or resolve many diseases and conditions associated with obesity including, but not limited to: diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, arthritis and back and joint pain.

Every individual is different and there is no “one size fits all” procedure. Our experienced specialists offer all of the most current, minimally invasive bariatric surgery options, providing guidance on the best fit for you to achieve optimal results.

  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
  • Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS)
  • Revisional bariatric surgery

It is important to note that, while bariatric surgery is proven to produce significant weight loss, it is only one tool and must be combined with a commitment to an overall change in lifestyle.

Is bariatric surgery right for you?

There are some minimal criteria you must meet depending upon your specific degree of obesity. These include:

  • You meet the Body Mass Index (BMI) requirements:
    • BMI of 40 or greater, or BMI of at least 35 plus a risk for serious health conditions as a result of obesity such as: type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, cardiomyopathy, polycystic ovary syndrome, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

      Calculate your BMI

  • You have attempted other methods of losing weight and have not been successful
  • You are committed to making the lifestyle changes necessary for long-term success
  • You must attend an informational seminar and consult with one of our bariatric surgeons

Will insurance cover your surgery?

Insurance coverage varies greatly depending on plan and employer. Please contact your insurance provider and ask about the terms of your coverage. If you have additional questions, our coordinators are happy to discuss your specific case with you at 785-232-0444.


Making the decision – first steps

Weight loss surgery is a major decision and it is important you have all the resources to determine if surgery is right for you. The first step to joining our bariatric surgery program is to view our free online weight loss surgery seminar to learn about surgery in a safe, compassionate environment. Our online seminar is presented by our bariatric surgeons and provides you with information and education about treatment options and surgical procedures from the comfort and safety of your own home. View the free seminar today!

Online Seminar

Once you have viewed the online seminar, you will be prompted to take a quiz about what you have learned. Following completion of the quiz, a member of our support staff will be in contact with you to review insurance coverage and schedule your first consultation. At the first consultation, you will meet with your surgeon as well as meet with one of our bariatric coordinators who will assist you through the entire process.

After surgery

Surgery is just the first step in your journey and just one tool we provide to help you reach long-term weight loss success. In order to help you achieve optimal results, we also provide the following support:

  • Regular follow-up appointments to track your success and address any problems or concerns
  • Nutrition education
  • Exercise education and wellness classes
  • Support groups


Virtual support group

Research has shown that patients who attend support groups regularly are more successful in their weight loss goals after surgery. We offer a free online bariatric support group to anyone who has had weight loss surgery or is in the process of having surgery. The group provides education and encouragement through social interaction, guided discussion and guest speakers to help individuals in their weight loss surgery journey and all from the comfort from your home. Family or support persons are welcome to attend as well.

To learn more about our virtual support groups, click here.


Want to share your success story?

We would love to hear your weight loss surgery success stories. Please share your story by completing the form below and clicking submit. By submitting your story and images, you are authorizing your consent for those items to appear on www.kutopeka.com and The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus Facebook page.

Testimonial Submission

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Looking for a doctor? Our experts are here to help you find a physician. Call us toll-free at 1-833-4NEWDOC (1-833-463-9362). 


Service Providers

Bernita M. Berntsen, MD
Surgery, General

Carlyle M. Dunshee, MD

Carlyle M. Dunshee, MD
Surgery, Vascular, Surgery, General

James J. Hamilton, MD

James J. Hamilton, MD
Surgery, General

Sidney Y. Hu, MD

Sidney Y. Hu, MD
Surgery, General

Jennifer D. McAllaster, MD
Surgery, General

Joel C. VanderVelde, MD
Surgery, General

Amber Hart, APRN
Surgery, General

Allison Rendel, APRN
Surgery, General

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call:

Tallgrass Building
6001 SW 6th Ave., Suite 220
Topeka, KS 66615

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday:
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

To learn more, view our free online seminar.

Online Seminar

Recognitions and Accreditations

● Designated Bariatric Center of Excellence by CIGNA

● MBSAQIP Accredited – Comprehensive Center since 2007

Our Patients Share Their Non-Scale Victories!