If you’ve looked through the Oregon Weight Loss Surgery website, you’ve probably noticed the section titled “Am I A Candidate?” This is the portion of the site in which we detail eligibility for weight loss surgery, information that is important for low BMI patients.

(Quick side note: We encourage you to explore the OWLS website; it’s packed with information about weight loss procedures, weight loss surgery financing options, and more. Plus, the site features a robust and informative weight loss blog to which new and interesting content is added regularly.)

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: Low BMI patients and Oregon Weight Loss Surgery.

Near the top of the “Am I A Candidate?” page is a headline that reads “If you have a BMI over 30, you may qualify for a weight loss surgery procedure.”

It’s written that way because the guidelines that are used to determine weight loss surgery eligibility are designed with a little wiggle room.

Generally speaking, a bariatric surgery candidate will meet the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) criteria (which you can see here) in order to qualify and to have the procedure covered by their insurance.

Patients may still pursue bariatric surgery even if they fall outside those guidelines. Contact OWLS today to discuss your options if you think you are a low BMI patient.

Low BMI Patients and Weight Loss Surgery

Eligibility for weight loss surgery in the United States is not simply determined by body weight or body fat. It’s not determined by how you look or feel or by the weight you gained over the holidays. Instead, it’s generally determined by a formula called the body mass index.

Body Mass Index

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated using height, weight, and gender, to determine a ratio. This ratio is used to identify a healthy weight range. Doctors use the standard BMI calculator to evaluate their patients.

It’s important to remember that being overweight and being obese are two very different things. However, both can lead to increased risk of health issues, including heart disease.

In fact, looking back over those NIH guidelines, we find eligible surgery patients typically have a higher BMI — one that is greater or equal to 35. Plus, patients tend to also have additional obesity- and health-related complications, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • High cholesterol

Additional eligibility factors include multiple failed attempts with supervised dietary, behavioral, and medical therapy. There are other considerations as well, including:

  • Having realistic expectations
  • Being and staying motivated (both before and after surgery)
  • Committing to a lifetime of lifestyle changes 
  • Committing to long-term follow-up care
  • Evaluation by a team of medical, surgical, psychological and nutritional experts

Oregon Weight Loss Surgery in Portland

So, as you can see, there are many factors other than being a low BMI patient that could possibly prevent someone from being eligible for weight loss surgery.

But don’t let that get you down! We are here to help you, just as we have been since we first opened our doors.

If you think you may have a low BMI but are still considering weight loss surgery, give us a call and we’ll discuss your situation with you.

Please remember that insurance companies have their own criteria in determining whether a particular weight loss surgery is covered. It might be helpful to ask your insurance agent if your policy covers bariatric surgery.

Contact Oregon Weight Loss Surgery for details and to see if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery.

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