Qualifying for Weight Loss Surgery: What You Need to Know
It's a common misconception that anyone who wants bariatric surgery can have it. In truth, though weight loss surgery helps people lose substantial amounts of weight, it isn't for everyone.
It's important to determine your eligibility for bariatric surgery. The qualification process helps surgeons identify those most likely to benefit from weight loss surgery. While you need certain physical characteristics, you must also commit to long-term lifestyle changes and medical follow-ups.
Body mass index and bariatric surgery
Qualifying for weight loss surgery starts with a complete physical exam, followed by a review of your overall health. Your surgeon determines your body mass index (BMI), which measures your total body fat percentage based on your height and weight.
Your body mass index helps predict your likelihood of developing certain diseases or medical conditions related to being overweight or obese. To qualify for bariatric surgery at Sentara, your BMI must fall into one of two categories:
- BMI of 40 or higher: You qualify for bariatric surgery.
- BMI of at least 35: If your BMI is at least 35, you can still qualify for surgery if you have other medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea.
Lifestyle changes critically important for weight loss success
Any type of weight loss surgery is a huge commitment, and you'll have to make certain lifestyle changes afterward to lose the most weight and keep it off. That's why Sentara surgeons assess your readiness to change before accepting you for surgery.
To be eligible for weight loss surgery, you must commit to following treatment recommendations, nutritional plans, exercise regimens and blood work requirements. Candidates who cannot or will not stay engaged with the process may not qualify for bariatric surgery at Sentara.
Eligibility for bariatric surgery: other factors
In addition to your commitment to diet and exercise, other lifestyle factors may prevent you from receiving the weight loss surgery you want. Your surgeon will discuss these factors with you in greater detail.
Your surgeon will also determine whether you might have a psychological condition that needs management. Poorly controlled psychological conditions can severely limit your weight loss success. If your surgeon determines you need additional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist first, you'll receive a referral to a Sentara expert.
Weight loss surgery isn't for everyone, but by understanding the process and making a commitment, you can succeed. Sentara offers weight loss seminars and appointments with bariatric surgeons to discuss your concerns. We'll help you determine if weight loss surgery is right for you, evaluating your unique needs and weight loss goals.