When should I consider weight loss surgery?

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UCLA Health
Administration Specialist

If your BMI is above 30, and you have tried diet and exercise but nothing is working, your doctor might perform an endoscopic procedure.

If you are approaching or have a BMI above 40, or you have fairly severe diabetes, heart disease and so forth, your doctor might recommend weight loss surgery because it is the most effective way to combat these complications.

Dr. Aliu O. Sanni, MD
Bariatric Medicine (Obesity Medicine) Specialist
You should consider weight loss surgery if you are morbidly obese, which is defined as having a BMI (body mass index) of 35 and above with at least one associated medical illness (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, gastroesophageal reflux disease, sleep apnea, arthritis, cardiac disease, etc.), or a BMI of 40 alone.
Dr. Sigi P. Joseph, MD
Bariatric Medicine (Obesity Medicine) Specialist

Weight loss surgery is best considered when you think your weight is getting in the way of your day-to-day activities and affecting your quality of life. In addition, you should consider weight loss surgery if you have obesity-related medical problems such as:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • severe arthritis
  • sleep apnea
  • high cholesterol
Dr. Frank H. Chae, MD
Bariatric Medicine (Obesity Medicine) Specialist

You should consider weight loss surgery if you are trying to lose more than 50 pounds and have tried medical weight loss programs in the past without much success. Ask your doctor if weight loss surgery is a good option for you.

Azra Kukic
Bariatric Medicine (Obesity Medicine) Specialist
In this video, Azra Kukic from Reston Hospital Center explains when weight loss surgery should be considered an option.

While it may seem convenient, weight loss surgery should be considered a last resort. Watch this video to hear David Suh, MD, from Riverside Community Hospital speak on the necessity of other weight loss options.

An individual should consider weight loss surgery when they feel their health is in jeopardy, says Bernie Hanna, MD, from Sunrise Hospital. Learn about specific conditions that can be alleviated by bariatric surgery in this video.

You should consider weight loss surgery if your weight is affecting your life and health. In this video, Michael Snyder, MD, a bariatric surgeon at the Denver Center for Bariatric Surgery, describes other issues that might indicate surgery.

You should start to consider weight loss surgery when your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 35. BMI is an estimate of body fat. Currently, insurance companies will consider coverage for weight loss surgery for people who have health problems and a BMI greater than 35, or those with a BMI over 40 and no health problems. Some weight loss procedures are done when a person’s BMS is less than 35. However, insurance companies currently don’t cover this.

Talk to your doctor about weight loss surgery before any health problems become more severe. Having weight loss surgery sooner can prevent certain health problems from starting and help others get better or go away.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.