Qualifying for Weight Loss Surgery

You are considering weight loss surgery, but how do you know if you qualify? A surgical solution to obesity is extreme, so it may not be the right choice for everyone. There are also different types of surgeries available, so you may qualify for one but not another. Ultimately, it is up to the laparoscopic doctor who performs the surgeries to evaluate your situation a make that determination. Here are a few of the qualifying factors they consider in surgical candidates.


The primary criteria are body mass index or BMI. BMI is a numerical computation that indicates whether you have more fat than you should be based on your height and weight. Essentially, it tells the staff at the weight loss clinic whether you fall into the category of obese.

Weight loss surgery requires a BMI of 40 or higher. If you have a secondary health problem associated with obesity, such as diabetes than you qualify with a BMI of 35 or more.

Psychological Screening

Why you are overweight also figures into it. Weight loss surgery is not a cure for obesity. It is a tool to help you lose a large amount of weight in a short time. It will not control how much you eat or force you to stay on the diet.

Part of the screening process looks at your eating habits to determine if there is a mental health issue at play that may interfere with your ability to stay safe after the surgery. There is a commitment required with this weight loss treatment that individuals with eating disorders may not be able to follow.

Who is Not a Good Candidate?

If surgery is a risk for you due to an underlying health problem like cardiovascular disease, you may not be a good candidate. Other factors that might disqualify you include:

  • Inability to commit to the lifestyle change associated with weight loss surgery
  • Unable to understand the risks of the procedure
  • Signs of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Have not tried less invasive ways to lose weight
  • Obesity is due to an endocrine disorder or metabolic disease
  • Smokers
  • Mental health disorders like bipolar disease or chronic depression
  • Pregnancy

Weight loss surgery helps you get to a healthy weight, but it is up to you to maintain it. For most people considering a surgical option for weight loss, obesity presents a major health problem. A procedure like gastric bypass is the most effective way to reduce their risk of chronic illness.

If you are wondering if weight loss surgery is the best option, get an evaluation to see if you qualify. The doctor may ask you to try other weight loss programs first to make sure the surgery is necessary. Once the decision is made, then the clinic can talk to you about the different types of surgeries available and find one the fits your needs.