Qualifications for Bariatric Surgery
Who is a Candidate?The health benefits of bariatric surgery are significant, but bariatric surgery is not right for everyone. Patients must meet specific criteria to qualify for surgery. The National Institutes of Health Guidelines for obesity surgery use a mix of qualifications pertaining to age, health status, Body Mass Index (BMI) and lifestyle habits to help doctors and patients determine whether weight loss surgery is an appropriate option.
NIH Bariatric Surgery Guidelines
- You must be at least 18 years of age and usually not over 64 years of age. Patients older than 64 may be considered on a case-by-case basis and need to be referred by their primary care doctors first.
- Your body mass index (BMI) must be greater than 40 kg/m2. This usually translates to being about 100 pounds overweight for men or 80 pounds overweight for women.
- Your BMI is between 35-39.9 and you have a serious obesity-related health problem, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea or degenerative joint disease.
- You have been overweight for more than five years
- You are medically healthy enough to tolerate major surgery
- You are not medically disabled nor extremely limited in activity.
- You have made serious attempts to lose weight but these only had short-term effects.
- You do not drink alcohol in excess.
- You do not smoke.
- You are not diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome.
- You have no serious disease that may have caused your obesity, such as steroid-secreting tumors.
- Have no serious untreated, underlying psychiatric disorders, or current issues with substance abuse or narcotic dependency.
- You are willing to be monitored by a medical specialist.
- You understand the operation and the lifestyle changes you will have to make.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Obesity Treatment
Are You Ready for Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery is an effective treatment for obesity, but the pounds do not come off by themselves. The surgery is an aid to help achieve lasting results by limiting possible food intake. People who undergo surgery must dramatically change their eating and lifestyle habits for the rest of their lives. Because of this, those considering surgery must honestly assess their personal readiness and motivation.