Qualifying for bariatric surgery requires assessing several criteria and rightly so. Paramount to any surgical procedure is safety and these qualification criteria help minimize the risk and occurrence of complications. Further, patients must be prepared both mentally and physically for the challenging and rewarding weight loss road ahead. Suitability criteria for bariatric surgery will vary based on the patient, their medical history and their method of payment. Some of the most common criteria follow:
- Age: Generally patients between the ages of 18 and 65 are suitable candidates for bariatric surgery. Adolescent and geriatric weight loss surgery comes with its own set of challenges and inherent risks. Consequently, these procedures are reserved for rare cases.
- General health: A patient must be in a suitable state of health to be able to recovery from surgery with a low risk of serious complications. Those who have uncontrolled diabetes and/or do not quit smoking before surgery may not qualify for a surgical procedure. Preoperative diagnostic testing is an important part of determining a patient’s ability to undergo surgery.
- BMI. The Body Mass Index or BMI is used as a rough guide to determine a patient’s eligibility for weight loss surgery. According to the FDA, patients with a BMI of 35 or over with one or more obesity-related diseases and those with a BMI of 40 or over regardless of co-morbidities may qualify for surgery. Learn more.
- Weight loss efforts. Bariatric surgery is not a magic bullet and patients should have a history of weight loss efforts through diet and exercise. We will also measure our patients’ willingness and ability to follow the post-bariatric surgery guidelines for long-term weight loss and maintenance through a psychological test.
- Insurance: Patients choosing to employ their insurance coverage to pay for part of the surgery may be subject to their insurance company’s requirements, which may be different from or more stringent than those mentioned above.
While the criteria above represent the most common qualification requirements for bariatric surgery, they can vary widely based on the procedure or payment method you choose. By attending one of our free weight loss surgery seminars, you will be able to learn more about the qualification criteria that apply to you. After your first consultation, you will be well on your way to learning more about how bariatric surgery can benefit you and what procedure is best for your circumstance.