Determining if Bariatric Surgery is right for You

Determining if Bariatric Surgery is right for You

Deciding whether to have bariatric surgery can be one of the most important decisions an individual can make in their lifetime. Lifelong changes to nutrition, exercise, and an overall dedication to health are important factors that individuals should take into account before committing to the decision to have bariatric surgery. So how do you know if it’s right for you?

Because bariatric surgery is a medical procedure, the decision to proceed with surgery should be based on your individual medical history, health conditions, and weight, all of which should be discussed with your doctor.  A primary care physician or bariatric surgeon can help you determine if you meet the criteria for bariatric surgery. 

General Guidelines 

Those looking to lose a significant amount of weight are the ideal candidates for sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass surgery, and the laparoscopic band (or lap band).  These individuals are usually obese, morbidly obese, or suffering from a severe weight-related health condition. 

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, or ASMBS, considers the following qualifications: 

  • A BMI equal or greater than 40, or an excess of 100 pounds
  • A BMI equal or greater than 35, with at least two obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes
  • An inability to lose weight through conventional methods in spite of prior weight loss efforts 

For those who meet the criteria and decide to proceed, the ASMBS recommends finding an experienced, board-certified Bariatric surgeon to perform the procedure.

What is Body Mass Index?

If you’ve never heard of Body Mass Index (BMI) before, you may be new to the concept of weight management or bariatric surgery.  The BMI of an individual is a measurement of a person’s relative size, based on their height and weight. The body mass index is one of the various methods used to determine if an individual is of healthy weight, or if they are at risk of developing a weight-related health condition. It also plays a significant part in determining whether an individual is a strong candidate for bariatric surgery.

How you can calculate your BMI: 

To calculate your body mass index value, you can use an online BMI calculator, or conduct a simple formula using your height and weight. Known as the Imperial BMI Formula, you can use this to determine your BMI:

(Weight (lbs.) * 703) / Height (inches)^2 

Multiply your weight in pounds by 703 and divide that value by your height in inches, squared.

Things to Keep in Mind:

The BMI tool is best used as a general guideline but is not meant to be a diagnostic tool. For individuals with higher muscle mass, such as athletes, the body mass index may be inaccurate. The best determination of your overall state of health and weight is through your primary physician.

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