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Criteria for Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is not for the casual dieter and there are several requirements that you will need to meet in order to be considered. While this may seem intimidating, the criteria is actually a good thing because it creates a positive situation for surgery and helps ensure that those candidates who are most likely to benefit from weight loss surgery are granted the surgery.

So how does that affect you? Well, Dr. Stewart and our office staff will work with you to determine whether or not you are a good candidate. That will help you feel comfortable about the safety and likelihood of success for the upcoming surgery.

Considerations for Bariatric Surgery

There are some very basic guidelines that can determine whether or not you are a good candidate for bariatric surgery.  These include:

  • Your age. Patients who are between 18 and 65 years old are the best candidates—although special permission can be granted for those who fall outside the age range.
  • Your Body Mass Index (BMI). Having a BMI somewhere between 35 and 39.9 AND medical complications caused by obesity OR a BMI of 40 or more indicates a suitable candidate. Check your BMI. A BMI of less than 35 does not automatically exclude you from consideration. Dr. Stewart makes this determination on a case-by-case basis.
  • Your smoking preference. Nonsmokers and those who do not drink alcohol excessively or take illicit drugs are generally good candidates.
  • Your dieting history. Many insurance companies consider a documented history of  failed attempts at structured weight loss programs as a necessary criterion.
  • Your commitment. Those patients who are ready to commit to permanent changes in lifestyle and are willing to regularly follow up with their doctor for a long period of time after surgery will have better long-term success.

Reasons You May be Turned Down for Surgery

Unfortunately, not every person who desires weight loss surgery is a good candidate.  Some of the factors that could result in your getting turned down for surgery include:

  • If you are over the age of 65—although exceptions can be made.
  • If you have a BMI of less than 35, you may not be considered.
  • If you  drink excessive amounts of alcohol or take illicit drugs.
  • If you already have medical conditions that create a high risk situation for surgery.
  • If you suffer from a severe mental illness that is not controlled by medication.
  • If you are being actively treated for cancer (if your cancer is in remission you could be considered suitable).
  • If you plan to become pregnant within the next 12 months.

If you think you fall into the category of a good candidate, then it’s time to do some research into the types of bariatric surgeries and the advantages and disadvantages of each before you decide whether or not to have it.