Common Characteristics Among Candidates for Bariatric Surgery

Weight loss surgery is not right for everyone. Here are some of the things we will consider when evaluating your candidacy for obesity surgery.

Your Motivation

While obesity surgery is an effective treatment for morbid obesity, the pounds do not come off by themselves. The surgery is an aid to support you in achieving lasting results by limiting food intake, reducing appetite and slowing digestion. However, your motivation and commitment to adopt a new lifestyle are extremely important for long-term weight loss. New eating habits must be adhered to for the rest of your life. Exercise is an equally important component of a changed lifestyle.


  • You are at least 18 years old.
  • Your BMI is 40 or higher or you weigh at least twice your ideal weight or you weigh at least 100 pounds more than your ideal weight. (BMI is calculated by dividing body weight (lbs.) by height in inches squared (in2) and multiplying that amount by 704.5).
  • You have been overweight for more than 5 years.
  • Your serious attempts to lose weight have had only short-term success.
  • You do not have any other disease that may have caused your obesity.
  • You are prepared to make substantial changes in your eating habits and lifestyle.
  • You are willing to continue being monitored by the specialist who is treating you.
  • You do not drink alcohol in excess.

If you do not meet the BMI or weight criteria, you still may be considered for surgery if your BMI is at least 35 and you are suffering from serious health problems related to obesity.


Obesity surgery may not be right for you if:

  • You have severe heart or lung disease that makes you a poor candidate for surgery.
  • You have some other disease that makes you a poor candidate for surgery.
  • You have a problem that could cause bleeding in the esophagus or stomach. This might include esophageal or gastric varices (a dilated vein). It might also be something such as congenital or acquired intestinal telangiectasia (dilation of a small blood vessel).
  • You have portal hypertension.
  • Your esophagus, stomach, or intestine is not normal (congenital or acquired). For instance, you might have a narrowed opening.
  • You have cirrhosis.
  • You have chronic pancreatitis.
  • You are pregnant.
  • You are addicted to alcohol or drugs.
  • You have an infection anywhere in your body or one that could contaminate the surgical area.
  • You cannot or do not want to follow the dietary rules that come with this procedure.
  • You or someone in your family has an autoimmune connective tissue disease. That might be a disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus or scleroderma. The same is true if you have symptoms of one of these diseases.