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How Do I Know if I Qualify for Bariatric Surgery?


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Am I a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?

You qualify for bariatric surgery, if:

  • Your body mass index (BMI) is equal to or above 40 (overweight by 100 pounds in the case of men and 80 pounds in the case of women)
  • You have a BMI that lies between 31 and 40, in addition to a co-morbidity of obesity, such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiac problems, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea
  • You have tried but failed to lose weight through conventional means, such as diet and exercise
  • You are motivated enough to lose weight and are aware of the risks associated with gastric sleeve, bypass surgery or any other weight loss surgery.

Eligibility for WLS

What You Need to Know Before Choosing Weight Loss Surgery

Usually, bariatric surgery is an irreversible procedure that requires commitment from the individual. The patient needs to be strong enough to deal with it, especially regarding the transition that arises after it. It is advised only when there is no other alternative left to lose weight. Therefore, you are a candidate for the gastric sleeve or bypass surgery if you:

  • Have been obese for approximately five years
  • Tried to lose weight for two years through other measures
  • Are not addicted to smoking or alcohol
  • Do not require blood thinning medications frequently
  • Are not less than 18 years of age or more than 65 years (varies)

Qualification for surgery also depends on the health history of the patient and the practices followed by the surgeon. Some surgeons accept patients with a BMI of more than 30 and treat them with a gastric balloon or even gastric banding (provided some specific co-morbidities exist). The point to note is that the positives associated with a patient’s weight loss surgery should be higher than the risks involved.

“That’s the #1 reason I had the surgery. 3 bp meds for hypertension, super high triglycerides/ cholesterol, fatty liver, high liver enzymes, type 2 diabetes, and severe acid reflux. My BMI was too low for insurance to pay but I did a ton of research on low BMI patients with these medical conditions and found that it shows not only long-term weight loss success but that most medical conditions like mine could be eliminated.” – Melonie F. (A Mexico Bariatric Services Client)

Psychological Preparation for Bariatric Surgery

A study2 conducted on patients to examine their mental preparation for bariatric surgery revealed that:

  • Most of them were emotional eaters
  • Many of them did not make a sincere effort towards the diet programs
  • Quite a few of them had unrealistic expectations from the surgery or were not fully aware of the potential risks
  • Some of them did not have social support to cope with the changes post-op.

Hence, you may be disqualified during psychological evaluation if you fall into any of the above categories and do nothing to control it. If you gain weight even after being assigned a weight loss program before surgery, your bariatric procedure may not see the light of day.

Do I Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery

Financial Considerations for Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery comes at a financial cost. If you are unable to arrange funds well in time, you are bound to get disqualified.

  • Many insurance providers have certain restrictions which make it difficult for the holder to get funds released.
  • They may not cover certain procedures or cover only parts of some
  • You may also have to be of a certain BMI for availing the cover
  • It is better to check everything beforehand to avoid unpleasant circumstances later on
  • Here are a few options to finance your bariatric surgery.

Disqualification from Weight Loss Surgery

Some specific co-morbidities prevent you from becoming an ideal candidate for weight loss surgery. These include:

  • Mental problems such as bipolar disorder
  • Certain autoimmune diseases
  • Severe pancreatitis
  • Ulcers
  • Any other ailment that affects the GI tract

Remember that many surgeons do not accept individuals who have a BMI under 35, but it is not a good idea to increase your BMI  to get eligible for surgery. Those with severely high BMI are recommended to change their lifestyle measures to reduce weight. This also helps avoid the occurrence of complications during the surgical procedure.

Our Client Experience

  • Some of them had the gastric sleeve procedure even after having a BMI between 30-35.
  • Most of them were denied surgery in the US due to low BMI (less than 35) and were happy with their decision to travel to Mexico for the same.
  • The coordinator assisted them in finding out if they were eligible for surgery in a hassle-free manner.
  • The concerned doctor helped our clients in deciding between gastric bypass or gastric sleeve based on the merits of each case.

References:

  1. Goldwert, Lindsay. “FDA approves Lap-band weight loss surgery for less obese; Patients with BMI 30-35 now qualify.” Daily News, 2011, http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/fda-approves-lap-band-weight-loss-surgery-obese-patients-bmi-30-35-qualify-article-1.121237
  2. Arehart-Treichel, Joan. “Psychological Problems Disqualify Many Bariatric Surgery Candidates.” Psychiatric News – American Psychiatric Association, 2007, https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/pn.42.23.0024a
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Gastric bypass surgery: Who is it for?” Mayo Clinic, 2017, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/gastric-bypass-surgery/art-20046318
  • What qualifies you for weight loss surgery?
  • How overweight do you have to be to get the sleeve?
  • Who is eligible for the gastric sleeve?
  • How much do you have to weigh to get a gastric sleeve?
  • What disqualifies you from bariatric surgery?
  • How overweight do you have to be to get gastric bypass?

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