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Do I Qualify for Bariatric Surgery?

Qualifying for bariatric surgery requires time, patience and organization. The qualification process is meant to help ensure the safety and comfort of the patient, while also being sure that bariatric surgery will offer the most effective weight loss outcome possible. Since every person’s circumstances are unique, the testing required before surgery can vary. Following are the commonly required criteria to ensure that the procedure is indeed right for the individual.

  • Age plays a critical role in qualification for bariatric surgery. The National Institutes of Health guidelines stipulate that patients should be between the ages of 18 and 65 in order to have the best chance of recovering with the fewest complications. There are programs that offer bariatric surgery for those under the age of 18 and those over the age of 65. However, they are few and far between. For adolescents, there is debate as to whether they can properly conform to the required post-operative lifestyle changes. For geriatric patients, the issue of extended recovery time and complications is a concern.
  • The BMI or Body Mass Index is a quick calculation to see whether or not a patient is obese. Patients with a BMI of 35 or over, presenting with one or more diseases associated with obesity or patients with a BMI of 40 regardless of the diseases associated with obesity may qualify for bariatric surgery. The BMI gives the patient, surgeon and insurance company alike an idea as to whether a patient would be suitable for a weight loss surgery procedure.
  • Good faith attempts at weight loss through dieting and exercise are also an important part of qualifying for surgery. The patient will be encouraged to try dieting and exercise before they consider bariatric surgery. Most surgical practices and insurance companies will expect to see some form of documentation that the patient has tried and failed with more conservative weight loss methods.
  • The patient’s general health will also go a long way in determining whether or not bariatric surgery is suitable. The purpose of these diagnostic tests is to ensure that the risks of surgery do not outweigh the benefits. Testing, including heart, lung, kidney and liver function may be performed. Patients will also be expected to stop smoking well before their procedure.

There are many qualification criteria, tangible and intangible, in determining the patient’s suitability for surgery. Indeed, even a patient’s attitude and outlook toward the post bariatric surgery lifestyle will help us determine whether or not they are ready. To learn more, we ask that you attend one of our weight loss surgery seminars. A subsequent consultation will help you understand more about your particular circumstance and what needs to be documented in order for you to be cleared for surgery.