Weight Loss Surgery

Weight Loss Surgery

Our Nationally Accredited Program  

Cookeville Regional Medical Center offers a bariatric, or weight loss, surgery program to help those who have tried other weight loss techniques and need another option. Under the leadership of bariatric surgeon Charles Huddleston, MD, CRMC's program has been accredited as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

Losing weight is sometimes not easy and neither is keeping it off. We understand that challenge and want to help patients who need the surgical option to help them move forward to a more healthy and active life.

Key professionals involved with each patient undergoing weight loss surgery include the bariatric surgeon, a dietitian, and a mental health professional. We provide the services of a highly experienced surgeon – Dr. Huddleston – who specializes in bariatric surgery as well as highly trained nurses, dietitians and other support staff members who will support and guide you before, during and after your surgery.

Are You a Candidate?

Bariatric surgery may be recommended for obese patients unable to lose significant weight with diet, exercise and medications.

If you think you are a candidate for weight loss surgery, you are not alone. More than 65% of adults are overweight or obese and 4.8% are mobidly obese.

What is morbid obesity?

Morbid obesity is defined in someone who is:

  • Greater than 200% of ideal weight or more than 100 lbs. overweight
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) of  greater than 40
  • BMI greater than 35 with one or more severe co-morbid conditions

Take a look at the following criteria to help determine if you are a candidate for surgery.

  • BMI over 35 with co-morbidities or more than 40 without
  • Healthy enough to undergo a major operation
  • Failed attempts at medical weight loss
  • Absence of drug and alcohol problems
  • No uncontrolled psychological conditions

Click here for more detailed criteria that our program follows and is often required by insurance companies.

Once you decide to consider weight loss surgery, you will also need:

  • Consensus by a multi-disciplinary team that you are a good candidate
  • To understand the surgery and risks

Most of all, you must be dedicated to a lifestyle change and lifetime follow-ups.

Remember, we are here to help you with all of these steps. Our monthly education sessions will answer many of your questions. Click here for more information.


Meet Our Surgeon


Dr. Huddleston, General and Bariatric Surgeon 

Born in Idaho Falls, ID, and raised in Livingston, TN, Dr. Huddleston graduated valedictorian of the class of 1993 from Livingston Academy, in Livingston, TN. He then pursued an undergraduate degree from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. He graduated cum laude, with the class of 1997 with a B.S. in Chemistry.

Receiving an invitation to matriculate in the early decision program, he attended the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), in the fall of 1997. Selected to the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society as a junior medical student in 2000, he graduated from the Quillen College of Medicine in 2001. Although being invited to interview for residency at institutions such as Emory, Wake Forrest, and Vanderbilt, he chose to stay at ETSU for his surgical residency, picking them first on his rank list. This decision was based on the breadth as well as the depth of the training that was available at ETSU. Also, given the fact that there were no other surgical subspecialty residencies at ETSU, he had a greater exposure in the Operating Room to subspecialty cases.

After finishing three years of residency, he requested and took a clinical fellowship in surgical research at ETSU. During that time he assisted with multiple research projects including a trial on an artificial blood substitute, All Terrain Vehicle accidents involving children, and an educational program to teach surgical residents the use of ultrasound in the assessment of trauma victims.

Following his research year, with the consent of the program chairman, Dr. Huddleston took a short sabbatical to spend time with his wife Ammie, and their two young sons. During time out of residency he was also called to active duty to serve as a medical officer in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2006 - 2008. Upon returning from active duty, he resumed his surgical training in the spring of 2007, finishing in June, 2009 with over 1200 surgical cases.

Dr. Huddleston enjoys practicing the full spectrum of general surgery, with special interest in advanced laparoscopic cases, bariatric and metabolic surgery.

“I love the technically challenging aspects of bariatric surgery, and feel that it is such a rewarding field,” stated Dr. Huddleston. ”To see someone get the benefits that come with the weight loss following bariatric surgery is so very rewarding.”


Surgical Options

Cookeville Regional currently provides the following procedures to aid in weight loss (bariatric surgery):

  •  Gastric Banding (Lab Band)
  •  Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
  •  Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

Gastric banding, or Lap Band surgery, is done laparoscopically. It requires an implanted medical device and has the lowest rate of complications among the weight loss procedures.

The vertical sleeve gastrectomy is also a laparoscopic procedure and may be an option for carefully selected patients, including high risk or super-super-obese patients. Unlike the gastric banding procedure, there is no implanted device.

The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most frequently performed bariatric procedure and is done laparoscopically. There is no implanted medical device and the procedure has a low rate of complications.


What procedure is best for you?

Take time to study all of the options and talk with your physician and surgeon. The procedure that is best for you will be based on several considerations, such as age, health risk, amount weight loss needed, lifestyle and eating behaviors. Then a mutual decision will be made between you and your bariatric surgeon. Be sure to discuss your plans with family and friends to get their feedback and gain their support.

Surgery can help change your life, but remember, it is a tool that requires your strong commitment to a lifestyle change and a lifetime of follow up.


Paying For Surgery

It is important to contact your insurance company to find out if your policy covers weight loss surgery and whether you meet their weight loss surgery criteria. Insurance coverage varies with each person.

Common weight loss surgery criteria include:

  • BMI  greater than 40 or greater than 35 with significant co-morbidities, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, reflux disease, arthritis or sleep apnea.
  •  Documented history of medical weight loss attempts (3-6 months).
  •  Five-year weight history.
  •  Psychological evaluation.
  •  Nutrition counseling.

We are here to help you! The surgeon’s office staff will assist you on your first visit. To make an appointment to discuss surgery options call 931-528-1992.


Support Group Meetings & Monthly Seminars

Support Group Meetings

Monthly support group meetings are held in the CRMC Education Center Room 2 every 3rd  Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. Please RSVP your attendance to 931-528-1992.

“Is weight-loss surgery the answer for you?” Monthly Seminar

Cookeville Regional Medical Center hosts free monthly information sessions for individuals considering weight loss surgery. The sessions are presented by Dr. Charles T. Huddleston of Middle Tennessee Surgical Specialists. The hour-long sessions cover obesity, types of surgery, expectations of each surgery, the cost of obesity and next steps in considering surgery.

When are the sessions held?

The seminars are held every 2nd  Monday of each month from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in the CRMC Education Center located inside the hospital’s East Entrance. If you are considering weight loss surgery, this meeting will provide information for you as well as your family and/or friends to help you make a decision about what is best for you.

If you would like to attend, please register by calling 528-1992.