What is the Required BMI for Gastric Bypass?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

Although each physician may have his or her own standards for the qualifying body mass index (BMI) in regards to gastric bypass surgery, the standard is usually a BMI of 40 or above. This qualifies a patient as being morbidly obese and at a very high risk of developing health problems as a result. The required BMI for gastric bypass is to ensure the risks of remaining overweight are more severe than the risks associated with surgery.

In some cases, patients who are below the required BMI for gastric bypass may still be eligible for surgery if they meet certain other requirements. These patients usually must have at least a BMI of 35 or above along with an obesity-related health condition. Obesity can lead to health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and severe pain related to joint deterioration. Each doctor may make a decision based on this criteria when deciding who to operate on.

Additional factors must also be considered aside from a patient having the required BMI for gastric bypass. Those who have severe heart conditions or other organ failure may not qualify if they are not healthy enough to undergo an operation. This guideline is becoming less stringent as surgeries are made safer and more efficient. There is an increased risk of complications arising in any obese patient when undergoing surgery of any kind.

Those who fall below the required BMI for gastric bypass are generally advised to try other methods for losing weight. Even after surgery, patients must maintain a healthy diet and eating plan as well as begin an exercise routine. Gastric bypass shrinks the stomach surgically so that less food is needed in order for a patient to become full, but this process can be reversed if a patient does not continue controlling portion sizes because the stomach can stretch back to a larger size.

Occasionally a patient may be too far above the required BMI for gastric bypass surgery. These individuals may have too much excess weight, making surgery risky. This not does occur often, since most times the risks associated with surgery are fewer than the risks of remaining morbidly obese. Patients may be advised to lose weight prior to surgery when this situation does arise, or health conditions related to obesity will have to be properly controlled ahead of time.

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