Bariatric Surgery Qualification Criteria

Although bariatric surgery has proven to be an effective way for people to lose a significant amount of weight, it’s not the right solution for everyone. Patients must meet certain qualification criteria before undergoing weight loss surgery.

Physical Qualification Criteria

In order to qualify for weight loss surgery, you must be able to demonstrate that you are obese and that your obesity is causing or may lead to health problems. Surgery is designed to be a solution to medical problems, so your physician, as well as your insurance company, will focus on the potential health benefits of having surgery.

In most cases, you must have a BMI of at least 40 or have a BMI of at least 35 that’s accompanied by obesity-related health problems. Obesity-related health problems (also called comorbidities) may include high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, or chronic GERD (an acid reflux disease).

In recent years, research has shown that weight loss surgery can be safe and effective for people with mild to moderate obesity. In light of this research, some centers have begun to operate on people who have a BMI between 30 and 35, especially if there is evidence of other comorbidities.

In addition to the weight criteria, most surgical centers will require bariatric patients to be at least 18-years-old and free of certain health conditions that can cause serious complications during or after surgery. Conditions that may make you a poor candidate for bariatric surgery include:

  • Severe heart or lung disease
  • Upper digestive tract bleeding due to enlarged or fragile veins
  • Portal hypertension
  • Abnormal digestive tract anatomy
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Known allergies to the implant materials

Psychological Criteria

Bariatric surgery is not the right option for every severely obese person, even if they meet all of the physical qualification criteria for surgery. Weight loss surgery is one part of an overall weight loss program, one that requires a long-term commitment and significant lifestyle changes in order to be successful. Before taking on the risks associated with surgery, your surgeon will want to have sufficient evidence that you’ll be able to make the changes necessary to reap the benefits.

Commitment is a Qualification Criteria

Most surgeons and insurance companies will ask you to show that you’ve made significant efforts to lose weight over a prolonged period of time. Your surgeon will want to know if you’ve tried diets, exercise programs, diet pills, or other weight loss methods. The purpose of this is to show that you’re committed to the long-term process involved with losing weight. Your surgeon or insurance company may also ask you to commit to a six-month, physician-monitored diet program before actually having surgery.

In addition to demonstrating your commitment to losing weight, you’ll also need to show that you fully understand the risks and responsibilities associated with having weight loss surgery. Your surgeon will likely require you to attend a free informational seminar about weight loss surgery. You may also be expected to undergo a psychological evaluation and nutritional consultation with qualified experts in order to ensure that you’re mentally prepared for having surgery.

  • Understanding the Glycemic Index
    Carbohydrates are one of the six essential nutrients. Despite common talk about avoiding carbohydrates for weight loss, our bodies require them to thrive. Carbohydrates contain sugar. When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks down that sugar and absorbs it into the cells with the help of a hormone called insulin, where it is then converted to fuel and used for energy.
  • Reasons to Consider Weight Loss Surgery
    Getting weight loss surgery is a choice that can have a major influence on your health and quality of life for years to come. The conversation surrounding weight loss surgery may come up at the advice of a doctor, after seeing a friend who was successful in their weight loss efforts or maybe after a series of frustrating weight loss attempts.
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    Every time you turn the corner there is another fast food restaurant or bakery loaded with its own temptations, and you do what you can to stand strong and stick to your post-bariatric diet plan.
  • Healthy Shopping Strategies for a Healthy Household
    When one person in a household gets weight loss surgery, it is actually common for other members of that household to lose weight too. This is called a “halo effect.”
  • Making Healthy Food Substitutions after Weight Loss Surgery
    Approximately six weeks following weight loss surgery you’ll start making the gradual transition back to a whole-foods diet. This is an exciting period for many people. After weeks of gaining sustenance through liquids and soft foods, being able to enjoy a regular meal is something to look forward to.