Weight loss surgery is a major procedure, so you will need to meet certain requirements before having the surgery. You will also need to go through a thorough preparation process.
In this article, we will discuss the bariatric surgery requirements and how to get approved for the procedure.
Keep in mind that the information presented here is general guidelines. Your surgical team will have the most relevant information for your personal needs.
- a BMI of 40 or more
- a BMI of 35 or more with serious health problems due to obesity, such as sleep apnea or type 2 diabetes
- a BMI of 30 or more with difficult-to-manage type 2 diabetes
In general, you can also be a
- You have tried non-surgical methods, such as medications and lifestyle changes, and have failed to lose weight or maintain your ideal weight.
- You understand the risks and benefits of surgery.
- You are ready to pursue lifestyle changes after surgery, such as eating habits and exercises.
- You have considered the follow-up care required after surgery.
To prepare for the operation itself, you
- Psychological evaluation. To make sure you are mentally prepared for the procedure, you will need to meet with a psychologist. They will also consider your history of mental health issues, such as depression and eating disorders.
- Nutritional assessment. A dietitian will explain the dietary changes you will need to make before and after surgery. If you have diabetes, you will also need to manage your blood sugar first.
- Weight loss plan. To improve your outlook after the procedure, you will need to lose weight before surgery.
- Medical authorization. Your healthcare team will review your medical and surgical history as well as laboratory tests, which may influence weight loss after surgery. You will also need to be screened for sleep apnea and heart disease.
- Preoperative imaging. If you have had previous surgeries involving the gastrointestinal tract, your healthcare team may order certain imaging tests. This can help determine the best bariatric surgery for you.
Depending on your medical history and needs, you may need other assessments not listed here.
The cost of weight loss surgery ranges from $10,000 to $20,000. In some cases, it may be more or less than this amount.
The exact cost depends on several factors, including:
- the type of surgery
- your location
- your surgeon
- your specific needs
Your health insurance may cover some or all of the costs. The amount you will have to pay depends on your insurer and your plan.
Medicare covers some weight loss surgeries. You will still need to meet certain requirements set by your health insurance plan. Visit the Medicare website to learn how to estimate the costs of your bariatric surgery.
If you’re thinking about having bariatric surgery, talk to your GP. They can let you know if you are a good candidate for the procedure.
When talking with your doctor, consider asking the following questions:
- Am I entitled to bariatric surgery?
- How could weight loss surgery benefit me?
- Are there any non-surgical methods I should try first?
- Do I have health problems that increase my risk of postoperative complications?
- What type of bariatric surgery is best for me?
- What is bariatric surgery?
- What should I do before and after the operation?
- How much weight can I expect to lose?
If your insurer covers weight loss surgery, you will also need to follow certain guidelines. You may need to provide proof of:
- medical problems related to your weight
- previous participation in medical weight loss programs
- letter of medical necessity from your doctor
- health checks completed
It may take 2 weeks to 2 months for your insurer to approve your operation.
Bariatric surgery, like all procedures, carries a risk of complications. Some problems may develop soon after surgery, while others may take time to show symptoms.
Possible complications include:
If you’re not a good candidate for weight loss surgery, or don’t want the procedure, there are alternatives.
Your doctor may recommend:
- Endoscopy. In an endoscopic weight loss procedure, a doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube into your digestive tract through your mouth. This is used to place drugs or devices in your digestive tract to reduce the amount of food you can eat.
- Gastric injections. This treatment slows digestion by freezing the stomach muscles. It is a good option for moderate weight loss needs.
- Medications. Your doctor may suggest weight-loss medications, including drugs that target certain weight-related hormones or genes. Certain medications may also promote weight loss by altering gut bacteria.
- Lifestyle changes. Dietary changes and physical activity are important for weight maintenance, whether you are having surgery or not. You will also need to adopt these habits if you are taking weight loss medications.
To get weight loss surgery, you will need to meet certain requirements. These guidelines are often established by your healthcare team and your insurance company. You might be a good candidate if you have a BMI of 40 or more and fully understand the risks and stages.
If you are interested in the procedure, talk to your doctor. They can let you know if you are a good candidate for surgery and how it can benefit you.