Do I Qualify for Bariatric Surgery?
Clinically reviewed by Karen Barnett Sparks, RNC, Baptist Health Louisville weight-loss program coordinator and Ciara Ferguson, Lexington Bariatric program coordinator.
Bariatric surgery (weight-loss surgery) is the term for various procedures on the digestive tract (gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, etc.) that help people lose weight. While these procedures are generally safe and effective, having surgery (of any kind) is a significant undertaking involving risk, recovery time, financial obligations, etc. And a full comprehensive evaluation at an accredited Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Quality Improvement Process Program is recommended. Check with your insurance to inquire if you have bariatric benefits.
Consequently, it’s important to try other weight loss methods before surgery and understand the challenges associated with surgery before deciding on a bariatric procedure. Your surgeon will guide you towards the recommended procedure for you to help achieve your goals.
Also, not everyone is a good candidate for weight-loss surgery. If you’re interested in having a procedure, you should start by attending a free informational seminar and undergoing an assessment with the entire bariatric team about your goals and their requirements.
Criteria for Bariatric Surgery Candidates
To be considered an ideal candidate for bariatric surgery as an adult, you must meet one of these conditions:
- You have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more.
- You have a BMI of 35 or more and an obesity-related health condition like sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, or heart disease.
So, there isn’t a specific weight requirement for bariatric surgery. Instead, it’s more about your height-to-weight ratio and other health factors.
In addition to the conditions above, your doctor will want to know that you’ve tried other methods like lifestyle changes and medication but haven’t succeeded in losing weight or maintaining your target weight. They’ll also ensure you understand the benefits and risks of surgery and the post-procedure actions required to recover fully and stay healthy — things like modifying your diet and exercise habits.
Other Bariatric Surgery Requirements
Another requirement before weight-loss surgery is your willingness to undergo various tests, including:
- A psychological evaluation that considers your mental health in general and any history of depression or eating disorders, substance abuse and psychological conditions.
- A medical assessment, including a full history and physical, lab tests and screening or further testing based on your medical history.
- A nutritional evaluation to discuss a healthy lifestyle change and not another fad diet pre and post surgery.
- Medical imaging and testing, particularly if you’ve had previous bariatric surgery
Head into Your Bariatric Surgery with Confidence
Please note that the requirements above aren’t meant to discourage you from having bariatric surgery if it’s the best option for improving your health and quality of life! The point of sharing them is to help you understand if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery and prepare you for the process.
With everything from your health to your finances in order, you can look forward to your surgery, knowing that you’ve positioned yourself for success. Learn about Baptist Health’s world-class bariatric care and weight loss services.