Frequently Asked Questions

Please click the links below for Frequently Asked Questions about Bariatric Surgery.

General Questions

What is Body Mass Index or BMI?

Body mass index is way of adjusting for the fact that taller people will weight more than shorter people.  It is associated with long term health, but does not take in to account the effects of gender, race, age or muscle mass.

How do you calculate BMI?

BMI may be calculated by dividing your weight in metres by the square of yourt height in kilograms.  Alternatively it may be calculated using the form on this page.

Am I a candidate for bariatric surgery?

As with other elective surgery, the decision to undergo bariatric surgery is a balance of the health and wellbeing improvments you might expect after surgery against the risks and long term side effects of surgery.

If you have a BMI of greater than 35 kg/m², have struggled with weight over time, and have been unable to keep weight off through diet and exercise alone you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery.  If you have type 2 diabetes and a BMI of greater than
30 kg/m², then bariatric surgery may also be of benefit.  There are also endoscopic treatments to assist with weight loss for people with a BMI of between 27 and 40 kg/m².  More information may be found

What operations do you offer?

For surgical weight loss, Dr Smith offers a range of modern laparoscopic bariatric procedures including laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, intragastric balloons and revision procedures.  For more information about weight loss surgery please click here.  Dr Smith also specialises in other advanced laparoscopic surgery including laparoscopic gallbladder removal, laparoscopic hernia repair, laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery (fundoplication), colonoscopy and endoscopy.  For further information on these procedures please click here.

What are the pre-surgical requirements for weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery is safest and most effective as part of an integrated weight loss surgery program.  Here at Aspiring Bariatrics Laparoscopy and Endoscopy Limited we partner with other professionals to provide this comprehensive service.  The pre-surgical program usually includes:

  • Free no obligation online information webinar
  • Comprehensive nutritional assessment from a dietitian experienced in bariatric surgery
  • Health psychology assessment to address common challenges that may occur after surgery
  • Full medical assessment
  • Laboratory studies (blood tests)
  • Diagnostic sleep testing (for sleep apnoea) if indicated
  • Pre-surgical anaesthetic assessment


Will my health insurance cover bariatric surgery?

Coverage for bariatric surgery in New Zealand varies between health insurers, with some covering part of the cost of an operation.  In addition, some insurers will cover a bariatric operation where it is the best treatment for another covered health condition such as gastro-oesophageal reflux.  

We encourage you to talk to your health insurer whether they offer a bariatric surgery benefit and what their eligibility criteria are to access this.

Do you offer finance or payment plans?

While we do not offer payment plans ‘in house’, we do partner with Nova medical finance who specialise in loans for medical procedures.  

In some cases, Kiwisaver can be used to pay for bariatric surgery, please see this blog post for further information.

To find out more please contact us.

Do I need a referral from my GP?

The decision to undergo weight loss surgery has important consequences for your overall long-term health.  At Aspiring Bariatrics Laparoscopy and Endoscopy Limited we strongly encourage you to talk to you GP about the pros and cons of bariatric surgery on your health.  If you or your GP have further questions please contact us.

Do you provide adjustments for Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Bands?

Although we no longer place adjustable gastric bands, we are happy to provide an adjustment service and to manage any complications from this operation.  If people have not been seen previously by Aspiring Bariatrics they will need a copy of their operation report from their original surgeon, and a barium swallow x-ray which we are able to organise prior to their first adjustment.

Patient resources

Patient Information Resources
Weight Loss Surgery Links
Otago and Southland Healthcare Providers
  • Southern Cross Hospital – Invercargill based private surgical hospital providing bariatric and other general surgery facilities
  • Mercy Hospital Dunedin – Dunedin based private surgical hospital providing bariatric surgery facilities
  • Queenstown Medical Centre – Integrated Family Health Centre, general practice and accident and medical services provider based in Queenstown
  • Intus Clinic – Specialist provider of digestive and colorectal care services to Queenstown and Central Otago
  • Gutmed – Specialist endoscopy and gastroenterology practice for patients of Southland and Central Otago
  • Renovate Nutrition – Web site of Renee Ladbrook, Invercargill based dietitian
  • Nutrition & Life – Web site of Josephine Greer, Dunedin based dietitian with a special interest in bariatric surgery

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PO Box 6276, Dunedin North, 9059