Bariatric Surgery Center

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The UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center is accredited for weight-loss surgery by the Bariatric Surgery Center Network of the American College of Surgeons. We are accredited as a Level 1 center, meaning we provide complete bariatric surgical care, have a high volume of patients and have the expertise to manage the most challenging and complex conditions.

Our center is one of the few in the country that offers bariatric procedures to obese patients with end-stage kidney or liver disease, who would otherwise be exluded from an organ transplant because of weight. Procedures also are offered to treat conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea.

Our team includes surgeons, internal medicine specialists, dietitians, nurses and clinical coordinators. We offer comprehensive evaluations before surgery and follow-up care after surgery including support groups, dietitian services and continuing education. We consider bariatric surgery a tool to help you live a healthier, longer life. The majority of our patients lose 50 to 70 percent of their excess weight during the year after surgery and maintain that loss. Eighty to 90 percent of patients experience an improvement or cure of obesity-associated diseases such as diabetes.

Your ultimate success, however, depends on your adherence to dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes after surgery. We want to help you succeed.

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Morbid Obesity

Obesity is a complex and chronic disease with many causes. It's not simply a result of overeating. Research has shown that genetics often plays a role, particularly if you're morbidly obese. To help patients lose weight and maintain that weight loss, the UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center uses surgical techniques to treat morbid obesity when other efforts have failed.

There are several criteria to determine morbid obesity. One is being 50 to 100 percent more than your ideal body weight.

Another measure is being 100 pounds overweight or having a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more. BMI is a number based on both your height and weight that can help evaluate the degree to which you are overweight and assess your total body fat. Normal BMI is 20 to 25. Use our Body Mass Index Tool to check your BMI.

Obesity becomes "morbid" when it increases your risk for life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and severe joint problems. In many cases, bariatric surgery is the most effective way to treat morbid obesity. Several bariatric procedures are available. The most common are "restrictive" procedures that reduce the stomach size and limit the calories you can consume.

Read more about preparing for bariatric surgery in the "Requirements" section below.

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Request an Appointment

Appointment form is on UCSF Department of Surgery website.

Getting Here

Bariatric Surgery Center
400 Parnassus Ave., Sixth Floor, Reception Desk 6S
San Francisco, CA 94143-0338
Phone (existing patients):
(415) 353-2161
Phone (new patients):
(415) 353-2804
Fax: (415) 353-2505

Hours: Monday to Friday
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

What to Bring

    Before scheduling an appointment, please provide the following four items. Please mail the information to the Bariatric Surgery Center.

    • New patient medical history questionnaire.
    • Letter from your primary care doctor, including a six-month summary of diet and weight history; a list of "comorbid" conditions or other conditions you have in addition to obesity; and why you are being recommended for bariatric surgery.
    • Insurance authorization for an initial surgical consultation.
    • Photocopy of the front and back of your insurance card.

Access Your Health Information Online

This clinic uses UCSF MyChart, an online patient service. Message your provider, request medication refills, view some test results and more.

Learn more about UCSF MyChart

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To be considered for bariatric surgery, you must weigh less than 450 pounds. Our hospital X-ray equipment can't accommodate patients who weigh more. A nutritionist can help you lose weight to meet this requirement, if necessary.

For patients with commercial insurance, HMOs, managed Medicare and managed Medi-Cal plans, please verify that you have bariatric surgery benefits prior to requesting an appointment.

Please note: Currently we only accept Medi-Cal plans for bariatric surgery for patients who reside in San Francisco County.

Prior to your appointment, please complete the New Patient Medical History Questionnaire (eight pages). Mail or fax the completed form to the new patient coordinator at the UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center. Our fax number is (415) 353-2505. Please also bring a copy of the form to your first appointment.

The UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center has performed surgical weight-loss procedures since 1996. We offer comprehensive evaluations before surgery and follow-up care after surgery including support groups, dietitian services and continuing education.

Weekly Information Session

Learn more about bariatric surgery and our UCSF experts by attending an information session at 8 a.m. on Wednesdays. Sessions are held at:

Medical Office Building 1
(Ambulatory Care Center)
UCSF Medical Center
400 Parnassus Ave.
Sixth Floor, Reception Desk 6S
San Francisco, CA 94143-0338

Phone (existing patients): (415) 353-2161
Phone (new patients): (415) 353-2804
Fax: (415) 353-2505

More Information


To refer a patient to the UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center, we require the following:

  • A referral letter to include:
    • Diagnosis
    • Length of time you have cared for the patient
    • Patient's current BMI
    • Clinically significant comorbidities
  • Demographic page reflecting current contact information
  • Copy of insurance card (front and back)
  • Authorization if required with CPT code 99205
  • Documentation of weight-loss attempts for three consecutive months prior to the first appointment. This documentation must continue for an additional three months during the bariatric workup (a total of six consecutive months is required for surgical authorization). Documentation must include the following:
    • Duration of each program
    • Initial weight and ending weight
    • Methods of weight-loss attempts, i.e. diet and exercise, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, JumpstartMD, nutritionist/registered dietician consult notes, etc.
  • Copies of clinic progress notes

If you have any questions about referring a patient, please contact the new patient coordinator at the UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center, at (415) 353-2804.

Related Information

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Condition Information

Key Treatments

Our Team

Jonathan Carter
Jonathan Carter, MD
Bariatric and general surgeon
John P. Cello
John P. Cello, MD
Mary Ellen DiPaola
Mary Ellen DiPaola
Dietitian and diabetes educator
Nicole Yvonne Nguyen
Andrew Posselt
Andrew Posselt, PhD, MD
Bariatric and transplant surgeon
Stanley Rogers
Stanley Rogers, MD
Bariatric and laparoscopic surgeon
Ryan Wilson
Ryan Wilson, PA-C, MS, MPH
Physician assistant

Patient Experiences