Gastric bypass is one of the most popular weight loss procedures out there. It’s also the first widely available bariatric procedure and has been perfected over the decades. Now, gastric bypass is one of several available options.
Since the dawn of weight loss surgery, doctors and researchers needed to figure out what is required for someone to qualify for it. Now, we know who benefits the most and what is needed in order to recover properly.
Requirements for gastric bypass surgery are in place to make sure that the people who need the surgery the most are able to get it. The requirements are also important to make sure that you have an easier time recovering from gastric bypass surgery.
So what are the requirements for gastric bypass surgery? Who qualifies for it? And what happens if you don’t qualify?
What Is Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Gastric bypass surgery is a procedure that causes rapid weight loss using a dual-pronged approach to caloric restriction. The first approach is a restrictive approach, and it involves creating a small pouch within the stomach and sewing it so that the effective stomach volume is 20% of what it was. The second approach is a malabsorptive approach, which involves routing the stomach pouch away from the upper part of the intestine down to a lower part, effectively bypassing the part of the intestine that plays a part in digesting fats.
With these combined approaches, patients are only able to eat a fraction of what they were eating before. Not only that, but some of the calories they take in are not absorbed by the body, which lowers their overall caloric intake.
What Are The Requirements for Gastric Bypass Surgery?
If you want to qualify for gastric bypass surgery, you need to meet the following requirements.
- You must have a BMI of at least 40, OR a BMI of at least 35 with one or more of the following weight-related conditions: hypertension, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, or any other obesity-related condition.
- You have a record of attempted weight loss efforts through diet and exercise, with little to no success
There are other requirements unrelated to weight, such as:
- You must pass a psych evaluation before surgery.
- You will need to have stopped smoking for at least six months before surgery.
Some surgeons may have more strict requirements, such as needing to have been obese for a number of years before signing up for the surgery.
What If I Don’t Meet The Requirements for Gastric Bypass?
If you don’t meet the requirements for gastric bypass, there are other things you can consider. First of all, if you have too low of a BMI for gastric bypass surgery, you may elect to choose a temporary reversible procedure such as the Lap-Band or the gastric balloon. They have lower BMI requirements. However, we generally recommend patients opt for the diet and exercise route.
Almost all patients pass their psych evaluation, even if they have a history of depression. Patients will generally get flagged if they have a suicide attempt within the past year.