Congratulations on taking steps towards making a positive change in life. Getting surgery done is never easy on the mind, but it can be easier with the right tools and guidance. Read on to know if you should get the surgery.
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 Goldwert, Lindsay. “FDA approves Lap-band weight loss surgery for less obese; Patients with BMI 30-35 now qualify.” Daily News, 2011
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- 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.
What You Need to Know Before Choosing Weight Loss Surgery
Bariatric surgery is an irreversible procedure that requires commitment from the individual. It is advisable to keep in touch with your dietician or your local doctor so you can cope with this transition.
The surgery 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. Goldwert, Lindsay. “FDA approves Lap-band weight loss surgery for less obese; Patients with BMI 30-35 now qualify.” Daily News, 2011
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“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 studyArehart-Treichel, Joan. “Psychological Problems Disqualify Many Bariatric Surgery Candidates.” Psychiatric News – American Psychiatric Association, 2007
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- 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.
People who fall into these categories are advised not to proceed with their surgeries. This psychological state is not conducive to good health post surgery. You may be disqualified during psychological evaluation.
Disqualification from Weight Loss Surgery
Apart from the psychological factor, there are some specific co-morbidities that prevent you from becoming an ideal candidate for weight loss surgery. These include:
- Mental problems such as bipolar disorder
- Certain autoimmune diseases
- Severe pancreatitis
- 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.
Financial Considerations for Weight Loss Surgery
Financial considerations are always a concern for anyone going through a medical procedure. Plan your finances well in advance before the surgery to avoid hiccups.
- 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.
Our Client Experience
Even though there are certain guidelines to get qualified for the surgery, you must also consult a professional to know if you actually qualify. There are some cases that have been exceptions to the rule.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
This Post Addresses
- 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?