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Gastric Bypass Surgery
Who is a Good Candidate for
Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Not everyone suffering from obesity is eligible for weight-loss
surgery. While guidelines can vary from surgeon to surgeon, the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) has set a few standard criteria
for screening patients for surgery. Those patients whose body mass
index (BMI) is between 35 and 40 can be considered if they are also
suffering from a complication caused by their obesity, such as
diabetes. For patients with a BMI of more than 40, no complication
is required for approval.
Beyond the BMI qualifications, patients must have been obese for
more than three years and have attempted to lose weight through
diet, exercise and medications without success. Because weight gain
is often a result of psychological factors, patients must have a
psychiatrist's clearance before they can have the surgery.
Psychological criteria include assessments for any self-destructive
behaviors, depression or substance abuse. While strict, these
criteria are essential in order to ensure the success of the surgery
and, ultimately, the weight loss.
While doctors do not typically perform gastric bypass surgery on
adolescents, certain situations may make surgery necessary. Doctors
may consider surgery for adolescents who have a BMI of 40 or more,
have tried to lose weight for at least six months, have severe
complications as a result of their obesity and have reached their
adult height. Boys usually reach adult height around the age of 15,
girls around age 13.
You may be a good candidate for surgery if:
- You are 100 pounds or more over your healthy (ideal) body
- You have a BMI of 40 or more
- You have a BMI of 35 or more and have serious health
problems, such as diabetes or heart disease, that are caused by
your excess weight