Who Qualifies for Weight Loss Surgery? Are You a Good Candidate?

Who Qualifies for Weight Loss Surgery? Are You a Good Candidate?

If you’re living with obesity or struggling to manage a weight-related medical condition, weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, might be the solution for you. However, before you explore your options for weight-loss surgery, you need to know if you meet the qualifications for bariatric surgery.

The Qualifying Criteria for Weight-Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery candidates are required to meet specific medical criteria. Candidates must: 

  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher
  • Have a BMI between 30 and 35 with an obesity-related condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), or severe sleep apnea
  • Have a BMI of 40 or more, with or without an obesity-related medical condition
  • Weigh under 450 pounds
  • Have an inability to lose weight 
  • Have an obesity-related condition(s) that is life-threatening if untreated
  • Have no underlying medical conditions that place them at risk during and after surgery

Before the weight-loss surgery process can officially start, patients go through standard health screenings to ensure their bodies can handle a surgical procedure. In addition to medical criteria, patients must agree to psychological preparation and establish their motivation to be diligent about losing weight after surgery. This extra precaution is important, as weight-loss surgery patients face a serious risk of mental health conditions post-surgery. 

Unsure of your BMI? Find yours with an online BMI calculator. 

How to Qualify for Weight-Loss Surgery

If you meet the criteria for weight-loss surgery and you’ve decided it’s the right choice for you, the next step is meeting with a healthcare team, which often includes the following specialists:

  • Primary care doctor
  • Surgeon
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Dietitian
  • A nurse specializing in weight management
  • Psychologist or psychiatrist
  • Additional specialists based on your medical conditions

Your healthcare team will prepare you for what to expect before and after your surgery. After meeting with your team, they will determine if you’re qualified and ready for surgery, as well as address any medical, behavioral, or psychological concerns. 

If you don’t meet the criteria, patients who are determined to lose weight naturally are still able to make appointments with a nutritionist and exercise specialist. These same specialists work with patients to lose excess weight naturally before and after surgery.

Your healthcare team may discuss the following behavior and mental health topics to ensure that you are mentally prepared to meet the demands of weight-loss surgery:


Your specialists will review the lifestyle changes you must make, such as your diet, nutrition, and exercise routine.

Weight-Loss History

Your team will discuss your previously attempted diet and exercise plans and the challenges you’ve faced. They use this history to provide recommendations for a post-surgery lifestyle that matches your needs.

Eating Behaviors and Mood Disorders

Obesity is linked to eating disorders and unhealthy eating behaviors, which can be related to certain mental health conditions and mood disorders that make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight and exercise plan. Your team will help you develop a plan to address these issues before you can qualify for bariatric surgery.

Alcohol and Drug Use

Alcohol, drug use, and smoking make weight loss difficult. Those who are unable to treat these concerns are typically unable to move forward with weight-loss surgery until addressed. 

Professional Help with Weight-Loss Surgery

You are not alone in deciding to pursue weight-loss surgery! Speak with experts in the field to discuss making positive steps toward a healthier lifestyle. The healthcare team at Tri State Bariatrics can answer your questions and guide you through the entire process. Schedule an appointment with us today to begin your journey.

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