You may have heard of weight loss surgery or know someone who has had it, but what exactly is it? What does it involve and who is it best for? Let’s take a closer look at just why people go under the knife to reduce their waistlines – and why it might be worth it for you or a loved one to do the same.

What is Bariatric Surgery and Why Choose It?

Weight loss surgery – sometimes known as bariatric surgery – is a procedure that reshapes the digestive tract in order to force the body to lose weight. It typically involves reshaping or reduction of the stomach, resulting in less food taken in at meals. It is a rather drastic procedure, and is chosen by patients whose doctors agree that they are at more risk living at their current weight than they would be to go into surgery for it.

Bariatric surgery must be performed by knowledge, experienced physician who has been trained in the science of surgical weight loss intervention. Typically, your physician can refer you to one of these experts. First, you’ll have to meet some specific qualifications.

Who Qualifies for Bariatric Surgery?

It’s no secret that bariatric surgery isn’t for everyone. It can be difficult to both prepare for and recover from, but it can also bring life-changing and even life-saving benefits to those who choose it. To find out if bariatric surgery might be right for you or your loved one, consider this list:

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the first qualifiers for bariatric surgery is a pattern of no success with losing weight and improving your health with traditional diet and exercise.
  • If your BMI is 40 or more, you will likely qualify for the surgery.
  • Many people who have a BMI above 35 may also qualify, if they have obesity-related health problems such as diabetes, sleep apnea or other conditions.
  • Teenagers may qualify as well, but they must be finished with puberty and meet the above qualifications, as well.

Rarely, people between 30-35 on the BMI scale qualify for weight loss surgery, but they typically are not granted qualification for full gastric bypass and other major procedures, since an attempt at losing the weight with less drastic measures should always be taken first.

The whole point of bariatric surgery is to take a step toward improving your overall health and quality of life. This procedure is not designed to help you wear smaller clothes or look slimmer, but rather to make a drastic and meaningful difference in your life. If you are interested in finding out if bariatric surgery would be right for you or your loved one, talk to your physician today.