Qualifying for Weight Loss Surgery

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has set the
criteria for qualifying for weight loss surgery. Most
surgeons and insurance companies abide by these guidelines.

Surgery should be considered for individuals who can show
that dietary attempts at weight control have been
ineffective and have a BMI greater than 40 or greater
than 35 in the presence of comorbidities. If your BMI is
between 35 and 39.9 your insurance company may require
that that you also have at least one of the following
obesity related comorbidities: sleep apnea, diabetes or
hypertension. Check with your insurance company on their policy.

Patients considering weight loss surgery should be well-informed
and motivated with acceptable operative risks. The patient
must clearly and realistically understand how their lives
may change after operation and be able to participate in
treatment and long-term follow-up. These guidelines apply
to adults only.

BMI Calculator

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on
height and weight that applies to both adult men and women.
BMI does not differentiate between body fat and muscle mass.
Therefore, body builders and people who have a lot of muscle
bulk will have a high BMI but are not overweight. A BMI > 35
indicates you may qualify for weight loss surgery.

Calculate you Body Mass Index (BMI)

Free BMI Script by BMI-Club

Waist circumference

BMI Range     Meaning

< 18.5           

18.5 – 24.9     Normal

25.0 – 29.9     Overweight

30.0 – 39.9     Obese

40.0 – 49.9     Morbid Obesity

> 50          
   Super Morbid Obesity

Obesity Comorbidities

To follow is a list of comorbidities (additional conditions
or diseases) related to obesity which may help you in
qualifying for weight loss surgery.

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Family history of stroke
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Family history of heart attacks
  • Hyperinsulinemia
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary-artery disease
  • Hypertension
  • Migraines or headaches directly related to obesity
    or cranial hypertension
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Neoplasia
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Anemia
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Degenerative disc
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Recommended joint replacement from specialist
  • Accelerated degenerative joint disease
  • Asthma
  • Repeated pneumonia
  • Repeated pleurisy
  • Repeated bronchitis
  • Lung restriction
  • Gastroesophageal reflex (GERD)
  • Excess facial & body Hair (Hirsutism)
  • Rashes
  • Chronic skin infections
  • Excess sweating
  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Urinary stress incontinence
  • Menstrual irregularity
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Infertility
  • Carcinoma (breast, colon, uterine cancer)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Pseudotumor cerebri
  • Depression
  • Psychological/sexual dysfunction
  • Social discrimination
  • Premature death

For more information on the NIH qualifications for
weight loss surgery:

Gastrointestinal surgery for severe obesity. Proceedings
of a National Institutes of Health Consensus Development
Conference, March 25-27, 1991.