What Makes Someone a Good Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?
Obesity occurs in varying degrees, and in many instances, it won’t warrant bariatric surgery. In more serious cases, however, the amount of weight that needs to be shed will mean an operation will be worthwhile, especially if it’s connected with other health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, GERD, and heart disease.
When determining whether someone is a good candidate for bariatric surgery, various factors are taken into account, including their body mass index, comorbid conditions, and willingness to make certain lifestyle changes.
Body Mass Index
The process of determining whether someone qualifies for weight loss surgery usually begins with their body mass index (BMI). This is a number that shows how your weight compares to your height. The higher the number, the greater your weight in comparison to your height.
In most cases, bariatric surgery becomes an option for patients with a BMI of 40 or higher. Additionally, those who need to lose 100 pounds or more are good candidates for these operations.
In some cases, other conditions may warrant weight loss surgery, even if one’s body mass index is less than 40. Those with a BMI of 35 or more who have certain comorbid conditions will also be likely to benefit from an operation. These conditions include:
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Heart disease
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Respiratory problems
- Osteoarthritis, esp. of weight-bearing joints
- Gallbladder disease
- Urinary stress incontinence
- Menstrual irregularities
- Swollen legs
- Skin ulcers
- Skin breakdown
These conditions often accompany obesity, and they can be very serious if left untreated. If someone has a BMI of at least 35 and at least two of these conditions, then they are a likely candidate for surgery.
Bariatric surgery on its own will not cure obesity. It is simply a tool that can be used to help change one’s lifestyle to facilitate weight loss. Patients must be willing to make certain changes in their lifestyle, including improving their diet and incorporating exercise into their daily routine. Otherwise, the procedure is useless.
If other conditions contribute toward an individual’s obesity, such as certain psychiatric disorders, surgery may not be the answer. In addition, excess consumption of alcohol and carbonated beverages can make surgery risky since these substances have a high risk of causing stomach ulcers.
To determine whether you are a good candidate for weight loss surgery, contact Malladi Bariatrics and Advanced Surgery today.