How much do you have to weigh to qualify for weight loss surgery?

November 9, 2022

It’s a common question without a straightforward answer.

There is no set weight that you have to be to qualify for gastric sleeve surgery or any of the other bariatric surgery procedures. However, your doctor will want to see that you have attempted to lose weight through diet and exercise and are having trouble losing weight on your own. It’s important to understand that Bariatric Surgery is a tool in your weight loss journey, not a cure.

Typically, patients who undergo gastric sleeve or another bariatric surgery are obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher.

What is BMI?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a calculation that uses height and weight to estimate how much body fat you have. BMI is not a perfect measure, but it’s one of the best ways to compare obesity across different people.

A BMI above 30 indicates obesity, while a BMI of 40 or higher indicates severe obesity.

To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiply that number by 703. For example, a person who is 5 foot 5 (65 inches) and weighs 200 pounds has a BMI of 35.5.

If you’d rather not do the math, here is a handy BMI Calculator you can punch the number into.

On October 21, 2022, the ASMB revised its recommendations for Bariatric surgery qualification. This change comes after 30 years. The ASMBS now recommends that individuals with a BMI of 35 and no other medical conditions qualify for surgery (down from a BMI of 40). Further, individuals with a BMI between 30 and 34.9 who have an obesity-related health condition, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea, also qualify (down from a BMI of 35). However, most insurance companies still adhere to the old guidelines of BMI over 40 or BMI over 35 with other conditions.

BMI Under 35?

Bariatric Surgery is an elective procedure. According to the new guidelines, Bariatric surgery is now an option for more patients struggling to lose weight. Depending on your circumstances, an affordable cash-pay option is available for patients who don’t meet those strict insurance criteria.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, take our short questionnaire to find out if you are a candidate and what surgical options are available.