Do I Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery?

August 25th, 2011 - Posted to Weight Loss

Obesity is a leading public health problem in the United States, and now in other regions of the world as well. Public health authorities have commented on the need to manage this rapidly growing epidemic, and have advocated bariatric surgery as a possible solution for the most seriously overweight among us. But not everyone who is overweight is a candidate for weight loss surgery.

Body mass index (BMI) is a number used as a general guide to determine whether someone is a candidate for surgery. BMI does not directly measure body fat percentage, which is a more accurate representation of body composition. Rather it is a simple ratio of height to weight, which is easily calculated for any individual. Because BMI is not a perfect assessment of obesity, very muscular athletes may have BMIs that indicate that they are overweight; some "normal-weight" sedentary people may actually have much more body fat than their BMIs would suggest. For most of us, though, it can be a good starting place to determine whether our weight is too low, healthy, or too high. In general people with BMI over 30 are considered "obese." A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is "overweight"; 24.9 and below is either normal or underweight. "Severe obesity" generally starts at a BMI of 35.

The BMI Threshold

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended that adjustable laparoscopic gastric band ("lap band") surgery be considered for people with a BMI as low as 30. For other bariatric procedures, a minimum BMI of 35, coupled with obesity-related diseases such as Type II diabetes, is generally required. A BMI of 40 or above is widely considered to qualify an individual for bariatric surgery, even if no other weight-related health conditions are present. However, because there can be so much variability in body composition and the resulting medical conditions, it is best to undergo a medical evaluation when considering weight loss surgery to determine the most suitable treatment options.

During an initial free consultation, a bariatric surgeon, such as Dr. Jeremy Korman at Marina Weight Loss, located at Marina Del Rey Hospital, will help you determine whether surgery could be a good option for you.

The Drive to Succeed

Weight loss surgery is very helpful for many people seeking to lose excess fat. These operations make it easier to control portion size and to feel full after a reasonable amount of food, but surgery doesn’t do all of the work for you. In order for the operation to be as effective as possible, you have to commit to lifelong changes to your eating and exercise habits. Weight loss surgery is not a magic wand. It's more like a really strong walking stick. But a walking stick only supports the hiker as she keeps moving up the trail. It's up to the hiker to do the walking.

Find Out More

If you have questions about obesity or weight loss surgery, or if you're wondering if it could be right for you, please contact Marina Weight Loss at Marina Del Rey Hospital. Our phone number is 310.577.5540. We're here to help, and we would love the chance to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have as you seek answers to the problem of obesity.