If you are considering weight loss surgery, you have realized that being overweight has serious consequences for your health and your quality of life. Weight loss surgery can be an effective way to get your weight down to a healthy level so you can enjoy life more and set a positive example for your family. However, choosing to have weight loss surgery is a major medical decision, and you must evaluate the risks and complications of weight loss surgery versus the health consequences of living with obesity.
Body Mass Index (BMI) Requirements for Weight Loss Surgery
You already know that obesity is a life-threatening condition, but obesity surgery, like any surgical procedure, comes with a certain degree of risk. For people who are only slightly obese or overweight, that risk may not justify the benefits of bariatric surgery. Our board-certified bariatric surgeon Dr. Shyam Dahiya can help you determine if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery and help you select the best weight loss surgery for your body and your weight loss goals. In general the FDA recommends bariatric surgery only for obese individuals who have:
• BMI of 40+, or
• BMI of 35-39.9 plus a serious weight-related health condition.
If you aren’t sure what your BMI is, try our online Body Mass Index Calculator. If you are in the second BMI category, dangerous obesity-related health problems that may qualify you for weight loss surgery include:
• Type II Diabetes
• Heart Disease
• High Blood Pressure
• Sleep Apnea
In December of 2010, an FDA panel recommended lowering the BMI requirements for LAP-BAND® surgery. A final decision is expected in the coming months, and if the panel’s recommendation is approved, LAP-BAND® surgery will be available to anyone with a BMI of 35+ and 30+ with a life-threatening, obesity-related health condition. So far, the FDA has not considered changing the BMI requirements for Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.
Other Criteria for Weight Loss Surgery
In addition to the BMI requirements, Dr. Dahiya wants to be sure that you are in good mental and physical health before your bariatric surgery. The best candidates for bariatric surgery should be:
• Aged 18 or older
• Unable to lose weight through diet and exercise
• Obese for at least 5 years
• Free from psychiatric disorders, eating disorders, and substance abuse
• Committed to serious diet, exercise, and behavioral lifestyle changes
• In good enough overall health for surgery
If you do not meet one of more of these criteria for weight loss surgery, don’t give up. In certain circumstances, especially if you are severely obese, you may still be a candidate for bariatric surgery. To find out if you can still qualify for bariatric surgery or which weight loss surgery is right for you, go ahead and schedule a bariatric surgery consultation with Dr. Dahiya. Only your board-certified bariatric surgeon can give you a definitive answer about your weight loss surgery options.
If you think you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery in Los Angeles, please contact our board-certified bariatric surgeon Dr. Shyam Dahiya to set up your initial evaluation and consultation.