How to Tell If You’re a Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery

By | May 15, 2017

While weight loss surgery (such as bariatric surgery) is a practical option for many overweight people, it’s not ideal for everyone. Is it right for you? Here are some important criteria that weight loss surgeons often consider before giving the go signal for candidates:

1. Traditional methods have failed

By definition, it’s important to remember that any type of surgery involves cutting. Thus, bariatric surgery is oftentimes used as a last resort of sorts. Surgeons often advise that their potential customers first try supervised diet and exercise programs before deciding to undergo bariatric surgery. This not only shows that the person is dedicated to weight loss, but also provides documentation that the surgeon can evaluate prior to any bariatric surgery. Surgery can be expensive. For that reason, many health insurance companies also require that candidates for weight loss surgery show documentation proving that they’ve already tried traditional weight loss methods before resorting to surgery.

2. Body Mass Index (BMI)

Surgeons specializing in bariatric surgery often choose candidates with a minimum BMI of 40. BMI is gauge of a person’s body fat in relation to his or her weight and height. While BMI doesn’t actually measure how much body fat a person has, it indicates whether or not a person has an ideal amount of it based on one’s weight and height. Sometimes bariatric surgeons will allow candidates to qualify for weight loss surgery if their BMI is in the range of 35-39, and they suffer from one or more health conditions that can cause weight gain (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, high cholesterol, and so on).

As an alternative of BMI in determining if one is ideal for bariatric surgery or other types of weight loss surgery, a candidate’s weight must be at least 100 pounds greater than his or her ideal weight.

3. General health and responsible lifestyle

Surgeons who provide various types of bariatric surgery also tend to evaluate a candidate’s general health and lifestyle. Yes, research shows that daily drinking one serving of beer or wine can provide several health benefits. That said, chain-smoking and alcoholism can be significant factors in weight-gain, and thus be factors that prevent long-term success after bariatric surgery. Is smoking or alcohol right or wrong? While that issue is debatable, clinical studies show that they often lead to obesity.

4. Having a long-term commitment

After undergoing weight loss surgery, patients should be willing to commit themselves to a long-term healthy lifestyle. That involves a balanced diet, regular exercise, consultations with their physician, and support group meetings. Surgery can indeed be effective in helping you to reach your weight loss goals. That said, it’s basically giving you a new start on your never-ending quest for a healthy body.

5. Understanding the risks

Can bariatric surgery be effective? Yes, but it’s not without risks. In fact, in about one-third of all cases the patient will require at least one additional surgery following the first one, due to various complications. So it’s crucial that a potential weight loss surgery patient be aware of the risks beforehand. It also underscores the importance of trying traditional weight loss methods before opting for surgery.