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Candidate for Bariatric Surgery

Am I a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?

You are a candidate if you have a:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI*) of 40 or greater.
  • BMI of 35-39.9 with obesity related health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, heart conditions, sleep apnea and/or arthritis.
  • Inability to achieve a healthy weight loss sustained for a period of time with prior weight loss efforts.
  • You are willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary to successfully lose weight following surgery.


A better quality of life for your future includes improved health. For some, no amount of changes to one’s diet, nutrition, exercise, or diabetic condition can significantly reduce severe obesity. Besides drastic weight loss, more than 90% of weight-loss (bariatric) surgery patients experience improvement in their quality of life. Bariatric surgery also reduces long-term mortality from obesity-related diseases by 30-40%.1 These health issues include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, sleep apnea, asthma, osteoarthritis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — all ailments that weaken you or prevent you from living your life to the fullest.

If you are morbidly obese, weight-loss surgery can contribute to your weight loss by restricting food intake and interrupting digestive processes. Learn more about the variety of surgical possibilities, along with the benefits. A better, stronger you equals a healthier future.

Patients who have a body mass index (BMI) > 40 kg/m2. This generally equates to 100 lbs. or more overweight for men or 80 lbs. or more overweight for women.

Patients who have a body mass index (BMI) between 35 and 40 kg/m2 with serious conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.

Patients who have failed other medically managed weight loss programs.

These are simply guidelines. It is important to discuss the significance of the weight-loss operation with both your family and doctor.

As you consider weight loss through bariatric surgery, understand how the surgery will impact your body, your lifestyle, your diabetic condition and what you need to do to help maximize your opportunity and truly take control of your life. An ideal candidate for weight-loss surgery will be well-informed about the procedure and have a supportive family and social environment. Being psychologically stable and understanding realistic expectations of the surgery are extremely important. Having an acceptable operative risk is important, as well as not having any active alcohol or substance abuse issues. Ultimately, successful results always depend on motivation and behavior.

More than being overweight, obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat.

Obesity itself is a dangerous disease that creates a domino effect of serious health issues. Because obesity is a chronic and progressive disease that can affect multiple organs in the body, people with morbid obesity are at medical risk of disability or premature death. The estimated number of deaths attributable to obesity among US adults is approximately 280,000 each year.2

Those who are obese run a higher risk of developing various forms of cancer, adult-onset diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. High blood pressure caused by clinically severe obesity can contribute to heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and stroke.

Additional conditions that are commonly caused or made worse by obesity include:3

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, asthma/reactive airway disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Gallbladder disease, GERD (recurrent heartburn), recurrent ventral hernias, fatty liver disease
  • Diabetes, hirsutism, hyperlipidemia, hyper-cholesterolemia
  • Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs), stress, urinary incontinence, menstrual irregularity, or infertility
  • Degeneration of knees and hips, disc herniation, chronic non-surgical low back pain
  • Multiple disorders related to diabetes and yeast infections between skin folds
  • Cancers of the breast, uterus, prostate, kidney, colon, and pancreas

The American Medical Association (AMA) has formally recognized obesity as a disease requiring a range of medical interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention. “Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately 1 in 3 Americans,” said AMA board member Patrice Harris, MD. “The AMA is committed to improving health outcomes and is working to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which are often linked to obesity.”4

The clinical definition of obesity does not define you. Whether you have a multitude of obesity-related health issues, or simply the potential for one, the future can be intimidating. Morbid obesity does not have to become a permanent state for you. Individuals like you have a choice to begin a new chapter of life through bariatric surgery.


  • Percentage of adults aged 20 years and over who are obese: 35.1% (2011-2012)
  • Percentage of adults aged 20 years and over who are overweight, including obesity: 69.0% (2011-2012)
  • Percentage of adolescents aged 12-19 years who are obese: 20.5% (2011-2012)
  • Percentage of children aged 6-11 years who are obese: 17.7% (2011-2012)
  • Percentage of children aged 2-5 years who are obese: 8.4% (2011-2012)


  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Gas and bloating
  • Dumping syndrome
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Temporary hair thinning
  • Depression and psychological distress
  • Changes in bowel habits


  • In 1991, NO state had an obesity rate above 20%
  • As of 2010, more than two-thirds of states (38) now have adult obesity rates above 25%
  • Eight states have obesity rates above 30%: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia


  • Infection, bleeding, or leaking where suture/staple lines have been placed
  • Blockage of the intestines or stomach pouch
  • Dehydration
  • Blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency
  • Protein malnutrition
  • Incisional hernia
  • Irreversibility or difficulty reversing some procedures
  • Revision procedures sometimes needed
  • Death


1. Bariatric and Metabolic Institute. Cleveland Clinic. Available from:

2. Allison D, Fontaine K, Manson J, Stevens J, VanItallie T. Annual Deaths Attributable to Obesity in the United States. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 1999. 282(16): 1530-1538.

3. Malnick SD, Knobler H. The medical complications of obesity. QJM. 2006. 99(9):565-579.

4. Medical group recognizes obesity as a disease. USA Today. June 19, 2013. Available from:

5. Obesity and Overweight. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available from:

6. F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010. Published by Trust for America’s Health. June 2010. Available from:

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