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Criteria for Bariatric Surgery

When to Consider Weight Loss Surgery in Washington DC

Weight loss surgery is a serious undertaking, and should be considered a last-resort effort for an individual who must lose weight to alleviate debilitating chronic disease.

The decision to consider weight loss surgery for morbid obesity is both complex and intensely personal.

Many factors must be considered in determining who may be a candidate for surgery. Following the National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines for weight loss surgery, candidate selection criteria include:

  • Be at least 100 pounds over their ideal body weight
  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater with one or more obesity-related health conditions
  • Have a BMI of 40 or greater regardless of other medical conditions
  • Have documented multiple failed attempts to maintain weight loss through medical therapy, diet programs, exercise and behavioral change
  • Be committed to life-long nutritional and behavioral changes including diet modification, regular exercise and medical follow-up

An appropriate candidate must also:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Understands the mechanics of how the surgery works
  • Have realistic expectations for how the surgery may assist with weight loss
  • Have the ability to engage in vigorous exercise after surgery
  • Understand and accept the possible risks, potential complications and their implications
  • Show how they have made a sincere effort towards nutrition and behavioral change prior to surgery

Weight loss surgery may not be appropriate for candidates with:

  • Certain gastrointestinal disorders
  • Severe pulmonary or cardiovascular disease
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Increased risk of bleeding
  • Certain mental health disorders
  • Pregnant, or who may be pregnant within 18 months after surgery

Who Can Benefit from Bariatric Surgery?

The decision as to whether a patient would benefit from bariatric surgery is made on an individual basis after a consultation between the patient and a bariatric surgeon.

General considerations for weight loss surgery are as follows:

  • BMI Criteria
    • BMI ≥ 40
  • BMI ≥ 35 with a medical co-morbidity
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