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Do I Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery can help people who have a high BMI and have been unable to lose weight with diet and exercise.

Key Points:

  • Weight loss surgery can help reduce the risk of many health issues
  • You need a BMI of 35 or higher to qualify
  • Bariatric surgery has high success rates

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, each year, there are an average of 250,000 bariatric surgeries in the United States. Learn more about weight loss surgery and if you qualify.

What Is Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery (also called bariatric surgery) involves making changes to your digestive system to help you lose weight. It can be the right choice for people who have tried exercise and dieting without success. Some types of weight loss surgery limit how much you eat, while others reduce your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients.

Why You May Need Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery can help people lose excess weight. It can help reduce the risk of life-threatening health issues related to excess weight, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)

It is a procedure that is best suited for people who have tried to lose weight using more conservative options but have not succeeded.

How Do You Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery?

Your body mass index (BMI) is essential to know if you qualify for weight loss surgery. BMI is a measure of your body fat based on your weight and height.
To qualify, you must have a BMI of 40 or higher. Alternatively, you also qualify if you have a BMI of 35 or higher and have at least one obesity-related health condition, such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Acid reflux
  • Hypertension

To ensure you are a good candidate for this type of surgery, you will need to go through some medical pre-screening.

Your primary care physician will have to evaluate your overall health. You may have to speak with a dietician to see if there are changes you can make to your nutrition that can accomplish the same results as surgery.

Because weight loss surgery depends in large part on your own motivation to keep the weight off and stay healthy, you will also have a psychological evaluation. They may ask about your behaviors toward eating and whether you have any alcohol or substance use disorders.

Your weight loss surgeon and anesthesiologist will walk you through the procedure and what you can expect. If you have blood-clotting problems or any health conditions that can make the use of general anesthesia a risk, you will likely not be able to get the surgery.

If you have medical conditions, a specialist will also be part of the pre-screening process.

How Long Does Weight Loss Surgery Take?

The length of the procedure depends greatly on the type of surgery you receive. The hospital stay can also vary. For a sleeve gastrectomy, for example, you may be able to go home on the same day or the following morning, while you may need to stay in the hospital a bit longer after a gastric bypass.

The recovery can also vary, time-wise, depending on the procedure and your overall health.

Weight Loss Surgery Procedures

West Medical offers a few different types of bariatric surgeries.

Sleeve gastrectomy is an excellent choice that offers weight loss results with fewer risks. The goal of the procedure is to reduce the size of the patient’s stomach. To perform the procedure, West Medical uses a laparoscope, which is a surgical camera. The laparoscope makes it easier to perform the surgery with minimal incisions.

Another type of weight loss surgery is gastric balloon surgery. In this surgery, the surgeon inserts gastric balloons into your stomach. These balloons take up space and reduce the space available for food. West Medical uses two different types of balloons: Orbera and Spatz.

Gastric bypass is another option. It involves creating a pouch using the stomach and attaching it to the small intestine. It is a type of surgery that reduces both your intake of food and the absorption of calories.

Lap-band surgery has helped thousands of people lose weight but is no longer the preferred procedure due to possible complications over time with the gastric band. For a minimally-invasive option, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is highly recommended for many patients who qualify.

Weight loss revision can help fix a weight loss procedure that was not successful.

What Are the Patient Outcomes of Having Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery can result in more weight loss than non-surgical treatments. It can offer long-term improvement in diabetes and lipids, with 90% of patients with type 2 diabetes achieving great results after just a few weeks.

As with any surgery, there are risks involved. Your surgeon will tell you about them in detail.

Common Questions Associated with Having Weight Loss Surgery

Get the answers you need about these procedures.

Who Is Not a Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?

People who have clotting issues, severe heart disease, or any other serious illnesses that make the use of anesthesia risky are not candidates for weight loss surgery. People who are only moderately obese with a BMI below 35 are also not candidates for weight loss surgery.

Can You Get Weight Loss Surgery at Any Weight?

You must have a BMI of 40 or higher or 35 and higher and have an obesity-related health condition to qualify for bariatric surgery.

What Disqualifies You from Getting a Gastric Sleeve?

If you have a BMI lower than 35, have certain physical or mental conditions, or if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you do not qualify for this procedure.

Do You Have to Lose Weight Before Bariatric Surgery?

Most people do need to lose at least 10% of their weight before weight loss surgery.

Schedule an Appointment with West Medical

Learn if you qualify for weight loss surgery by  scheduling an appointment with West Medical today. We have locations across Southern California in Tarzana, Irvine, Long Beach, and Rancho Cucamonga. One of our expert team members will be happy to help you!


Types of Weight Loss Surgery

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve)

Gastric Balloon

Weight Loss Revision Surgery

BMI Calculator

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