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Bariatric Surgery - Who Is Eligible For The Same?

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, M.Mas, Diploma In Minimal Access Surgery, Fellowship In Minimal Access Surgery, Fellowship In Robotic Surgery, FICS, F.I.A.G.E.S, FAMASI
Surgical Gastroenterologist, Chennai  •  29 years experience
Bariatric Surgery - Who Is Eligible For The Same?

Being overweight is becoming a common sight. However, opting for bariatric surgery is not the first option for everyone who is obese. Also to remember is that morbid obesity is not an isolated condition. It affects a person’s overall physical and mental health in various ways, and therefore bariatric surgery becomes an option only as a last resort.

Some defining criteria for this surgery would be:

  1. A male who is at least 100 pounds overweight for his height or a female who is at least 80 pounds overweight for her height. This puts them at a body mass index (BMI) of more than 40.
  2. If the BMI is in the range of 35 to 39 and if there are significant health issues like metabolic syndrome, then bariatric surgery can be done. For BMI less than 35, other conservative measures are usually tried before resorting to a surgical approach.
  3. Most people with BMI in the range of 35 and above will have health issues like sleep apnoea, heart disease, lipid disorders, and metabolic syndrome.
  4. Conservative measures to lose weight including diet changes and exercise have failed to produce any desired results.
  5. The person, in addition to physical health, should also be emotionally strong to undergo the demands of bariatric surgery. There are changes involving almost all body systems including digestive, respiratory, cardiac, and musculoskeletal, and so the person needs to be prepared for a lifestyle change.
  6. Strict lifestyle changes including diet and exercise are required, so the person needs to be counseled and convinced about these. A person who can see the long-term benefits will be willing to take the effort.
  7. It is also essential that the person has a strong social support system. For immediate post-op care when skin flaps need to be managed, and for long-term emotional support to manage emotional issues, it works wonders if there is a strong social network. The results are usually better in such people.
  8. A person’s overall health would be screened to make sure the lab tests are well within acceptable limits before surgery. It would be unreasonable to get these numbers within limits, if they are way too beyond acceptable limits.
  9. Not the least consideration, but bariatric surgery is an expensive affair. It requires not just surgical costs, but also post-op costs. The good thing, however, is that overall healthcare costs would come down, once the results are visible.

Identifying the right candidate for a bariatric surgery is very essential, as doing this extensive surgical approach on an unsuitable candidate would be a failure.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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