I’ve had several patients present for bariatric surgery evaluation in the last few weeks who have asked this very question, “am I a candidate for bariatric surgery.” To avoid any confusion, I thought it best to outline the factors that will be assessed when determining whether or not you are a candidate for bariatric surgery.
Body Mass Index & Bariatric Surgery
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement of your body weight divided by your height. A BMI of 20-25 is considered “ideal body weight.” Obesity reflects a BMI of greater than 30. Class I obesity is a BMI of 30-35, class II is a BMI of 35-40, and class III, or morbid obesity, is a BMI of 40 or greater. If your BMI is 40 or greater you are a candidate for bariatric surgery. If your BMI is 35-40, most insurance companies require that a major co-morbidity be present. Obesity is a disease that causes other disease processes to occur such as type II diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, and hyperlipidemia. A BMI of 35 and one of these existing co-morbidities will also make you a candidate for a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.
Class I obesity (BMI of 30-35) with a metabolic uncontrolled disease, like type II diabetes, is now also an indication for weight loss surgery, as both the bypass and sleeve will put diabetes into remission 60-80% of the time. This being said, it is important to point out that some insurance companies still refuse to cover the cost of surgery for a patient with a BMI lower than 35, despite studies that demonstrate the type II diabetes will resolve or improve.
It is also relevant to discuss the presence of osteoarthritis in a patient with a BMI greater than 35. You may be a good candidate for weight loss surgery rather than undergoing joint replacement surgery. Often the dramatic weight loss that occurs after a bypass or sleeve gastrectomy is enough to relieve the pressure that causes the pain in the knees and hips, avoiding the need for a joint replacement.
Repeated Failure from Previous Weight Loss Attempts
Finally, bariatric surgery is an elective procedure for morbidly obese people for whom all other weight loss methods have failed. So, if you have failed to lose significant weight on a diet and keep it off, it’s time to consider weight loss surgery. Make 2019 the year that you resolve to lose the weight and the co-morbidities, allowing you to enjoy a more active and healthy lifestyle.
At the Colorado Bariatric Surgery Institute (CBSI) all of our bariatric procedures are done robotically, which has distinct advantages over procedures done laparoscopically. We have demonstrated that our patients have less pain and bleeding, and have a faster, smoother recovery. If we can help you with your weight loss needs, please give us a call (303-861-4505) and make an appointment. 2019 is the year for a healthier, happier you!
Tom Brown, MD
Colorado Bariatric Surgery Institute