Weight Loss Surgery

Our weight loss surgery team has helped more than 2,700 men and women in the Philadelphia region gain a new lease on life through weight loss surgery. Weight loss is a journey, and at Chestnut Hill Hospital, we're here to help you every step of the way. Our fellowship-trained surgeon, John Meilahn, MD, performs a variety of minimally invasive weight loss procedures which may provide the life-changing results you're seeking. We will work with you to develop a comprehensive plan of treatment.

What is weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, are surgical procedures performed on the stomach and digestive tract to induce weight loss. The surgery serves as a tool to assist with weight loss. Combined with nutritional guidance, fitness programs, and other emotional support, weight loss through weight loss surgery can be long-lasting and effective, improving health and wellness. There are three types of weight loss surgery: gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and duodenal switch.

Am I a candidate for weight loss surgery?

If you meet the criteria for weight loss surgery, your doctor may recommend the procedure to improve your health. You may be a candidate for weight loss surgery if you have:

Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your BMI gives a fairly accurate assessment of how much of your body is composed of fat.

Calculate BMI

  • Between the ages of 18 and 65
  • Body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater
  • Body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater with one or more life-threatening medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea
  • Struggling with an obesity-related condition like hypertension, heart disease or sleep apnea
  • Tried to lose weight through diet and exercise without success
  • Psychologically ready for weight loss surgery and willing to commit to a whole new lifestyle
  • Greater or equal to 100 lbs. overweight
  • Not drug or alcohol dependent


If you meet any of the requirements above, we offer a free, private consultation with our Weight Loss Program Coordinator. She'll review your health history and personal goals, and provide in-depth information on weight loss surgery options, including the benefits, risks and expected results of each. If it's determined that you're a candidate, you'll work closely with the team to meet pre-operative requirements, make lifestyle changes and get ready for a successful experience.

We recommend that you verify coverage with your insurance company for weight loss surgery. You can do this by calling the member services number on the back of your card. We can verify for you when you come for your appointment as well.

Call 215-248-8520 or fill out our quick form to request your one-on-one appointment. We also host free support groups to explore weight loss and wellness solutions. Save your spot here.


  • Call the office or register online. Carlie Kamnik, program coordinator, will schedule a private consultation for you to see Dr. Meilahn, no large group sessions are required.
  • Dr. Meilahn will spend time talking with you and will order the necessary testing to proceed with a personalized plan for surgery.
  • Meet with our dietician and begin to think about your dietary habits and the changes that will be necessary. We will design a personalized plan for you.
  • We will see you monthly as testing is completed.
  • We will offer support as you commit to make the lifestyle and emotional adjustments necessary for a successful operation.


  • According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) multiple large studies have shown weight loss surgery to be an effective and durable treatment of morbid obesity. Surgeries work by changing the signals that regulate set points for body fat, a tool no traditional diet can provide. Also, studies show that more than 90% of bariatric patients are able to maintain a long-term weight loss of 50% excess body weight or more when combined with dietary and lifestyle changes.
  • Weight loss surgery significantly improves or resolves obesity related conditions, including type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, arthritis, asthma, acid reflux and more.
  • Large scientific studies have shown that severely obese people who chose weight loss surgery live longer than those who do not. Very good safety results are achieved by carefully preparing patients for surgery.
  • A happier and healthier you is more than just physical transformation. Studies have shown that self confidence and wellbeing are improved. Many people have improvement in physical mobility allowing them to enjoy their lives in a way that they had lost. Weight loss truly gives people a new lease on life.


All surgeries carry some risk. Pneumonia, blood clots, infection, bleeding, leaking at staple lines, as well as ulcers, hernia and gallstones may occur, but are infrequent. Generally, the risks associated with weight loss surgery are significantly less than the risk of remaining morbidly obese. Your Bariatric Coordinator and surgeon are there for you to answer questions and assist you throughout your weight loss journey.

Patient results may vary. Consult your physician about the benefits and risks of any surgical procedure or treatment.

Recovering from weight loss surgery

At Chestnut Hill Hospital, you benefit from comprehensive care, from your first consultation through recovery and support. Take part in our monthly Weight Loss Support Group held on the first Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in the Main Level Conference Room at Chestnut Hill Hospital. Questions? Call 215-248-8520.


A bariatric surgical center achieves accreditation following a rigorous review process during which it proves that it can maintain certain physical resources, human resources and standards of practice.


Healthcare facilities and providers are recognized as Blue Distinction Centers for their proven expertise, high-quality care and patient results.