What Disqualifies You for Bariatric Surgery?

What Disqualifies You for Bariatric Surgery? (Explained)

If you're considering bariatric surgery, it's crucial to be aware of the criteria that must be met in order to qualify for the surgery. However, knowing the factors that can disqualify you from undergoing the procedure is just as important. Understanding these factors can help you avoid potential complications and disappointment.

While specific eligibility criteria may vary between healthcare providers, there are general guidelines in place to assess suitability. Factors that could disqualify you from bariatric surgery range from having an untreated mental health condition to suffering from certain medical conditions. It's also worth noting that individuals with a history of substance abuse or those who are pregnant may temporarily be unable to undergo the surgery for their safety.

As you contemplate your options and decide if bariatric surgery is right for you, take the time to assess these factors with honesty and open communication with your medical team. This will ensure that you make an informed decision about pursuing bariatric surgery and minimize potential risks.

Who Cannot Have Bariatric Surgery?

Although bariatric surgery can be a life-changing solution for many individuals dealing with obesity and obesity-related health conditions, it is not suitable for everyone. Certain factors may disqualify you from being a candidate for this surgery.

Body Mass Index

If you have a BMI (body mass index) lower than 35 without any obesity-related conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, bariatric surgeons may not consider you a candidate for surgery. Generally, bariatric surgery is recommended for those with a BMI of at least 40 or at least 35 with accompanying health issues.

Medical Condition

Medical conditions play a significant role in determining your eligibility for bariatric surgery. Active cancer or severe liver disease could disqualify you from undergoing this procedure. Additionally, if you have certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease or chronic pancreatitis, bariatric surgery may not be suitable for you.


Lifestyle factors, like alcohol abuse and smoking, also contribute to your eligibility. Regularly consuming excessive alcohol or smoking can increase your risk of complications during and after the surgery. It is crucial to discuss your habits with your surgeon to determine if any modifications are necessary before considering bariatric surgery.

Mental Health Status

Another crucial factor for bariatric surgery eligibility is your mental health status. Because this significant lifestyle change requires a strong commitment, psychologists or other mental health professionals typically conduct a psychological evaluation. This assessment may reveal conditions such as depression, anxiety, or eating disorders that could negatively affect your success post-operation.

Your dietitian will also need to evaluate your current eating habits to ensure that you're able to commit to the necessary dietary changes following the procedure.

In conclusion, bariatric surgery is not suitable for everyone. Your surgeon will weigh a variety of factors, including your BMI, medical history, mental health, and lifestyle choices, to determine if you are a good candidate for the surgery. An open and honest discussion with your healthcare team is essential to explore your options and decide whether bariatric surgery is right for you.

How Hard Is It To Get Approved For Bariatric Surgery?

eligibility criteria for bariatric surgery

Getting approved for bariatric surgery depends on meeting specific eligibility criteria determined by healthcare professionals and insurance companies. The main criteria to be considered include your BMI, presence of health conditions, and willingness to make lifestyle changes.

Your body mass index (BMI) is vital in the approval process. Typically, you qualify for weight loss surgery if your BMI is 40 or higher, or between 35 and 39.9, with an obesity-related health condition like high blood pressure, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes. To calculate your BMI, medical professionals use your height and weight, making sure it aligns with the guidelines set by organizations like the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

Insurance companies also play a significant role in determining your eligibility for bariatric surgery. They often require documentation showing that you have tried and failed to lose weight through other methods. A detailed history of your weight loss attempts, including participation in supervised weight loss programs, can help support your case.

During your consultation with the surgeon, they will assess your overall health and review your medical history to detect any possible complications. For example, stomach infection or uncontrolled heart disease may disqualify you from undergoing certain weight loss procedures, such as sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass surgery.

Your commitment to making long-term lifestyle changes is crucial for the success of the bariatric surgery. Medical professionals, such as your surgeon, nurses, and dieticians, will discuss your ability to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen after surgery.

In some cases, a psychological evaluation conducted by psychologists is necessary to determine your eligibility. This evaluation will assess your existing mental health disorders, understanding of the surgery, and motivation to follow post-operative recommendations. Your therapist may recommend therapy sessions before and after surgery to support your long-term success.


In conclusion, getting approved for bariatric surgery involves meeting specific eligibility criteria, including BMI thresholds, presence of health conditions, and demonstrating commitment to lifestyle changes. It's essential to consult with your healthcare provider and insurance provider to understand the requirements and achieve the best possible outcome.

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Bariatric Surgery Insurance Coverage Disqualifications

Bariatric Surgery Insurance Coverage Disqualifications

When considering bariatric surgery, it is crucial to understand the various factors that might disqualify you from obtaining insurance coverage for the procedure. Insurance companies often have strict eligibility criteria for covering bariatric surgery, and these criteria may differ across companies. To ensure the best chances for coverage, familiarize yourself with common disqualifications.

One of the primary disqualifications for bariatric surgery insurance coverage involves failing to meet the specific health conditions set by insurers. Most insurance companies will require you to have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or a BMI of 35 or above with at least one obesity-related comorbidity, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or sleep apnea. If you do not meet these requirements, your insurance provider may not cover the cost of the procedure.

Another common reason for disqualification is the lack of documented attempts at weight loss through non-surgical methods. Insurance companies typically expect you to demonstrate a history of unsuccessful weight management efforts, including participation in medically supervised programs, diet and exercise, or pharmacotherapy. Without a documented history of consistent and committed weight loss attempts, your application for insurance coverage may be denied.

Furthermore, you may be disqualified if you suffer from severe medical conditions or complications that pose significant risks during or after the bariatric surgery. Such conditions include advanced liver disease, end-stage renal disease, severe heart failure, or other life-threatening medical issues. These high-risk conditions may lead insurance companies to determine that bariatric surgery would be too risky or not beneficial enough for coverage.

Lastly, psychological factors can affect your eligibility for insurance coverage. A thorough psychological evaluation is typically required to ensure you are mentally prepared and committed to the necessary lifestyle changes following bariatric surgery. If you display signs of mental health disorders that could compromise your ability to adhere to post-surgery requirements, insurance companies may not cover your procedure.

To increase your chances of obtaining insurance coverage, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, adequately document your weight loss history, manage your existing health conditions, and address potential psychological concerns. By taking these proactive measures, you can better navigate securing coverage for your bariatric surgery.

Bariatric Surgery Financing Disqualifications

Bariatric Surgery Financing Disqualifications

When considering bariatric surgery, it's essential to understand the financial aspects and potential disqualifications. You must meet specific eligibility criteria to be covered by your insurance or qualify for financing options.

Consult with your insurance provider to determine the coverage options for bariatric surgery. Most insurance companies require a referral from your primary care physician, a long-term weight management program documentation, and evidence of obesity-related health issues.

In some cases, insurance coverage might not be available if your body mass index (BMI) isn't high enough or if you haven't tried conservative weight loss methods such as diet and exercise. Additionally, if your metabolism issues are not severe enough to require surgery, insurance may not cover the procedure.

Take note of these potential disqualifications:

  • Failure to meet eligibility criteria: If your situation doesn't meet the criteria set by your insurance provider or the medical professionals, you may not be eligible for bariatric surgery financing.
  • Lack of insurance coverage: Depending on the terms of your insurance policy, the surgery might not be covered, or you might be required to cover a significant portion of the surgery cost.
  • Unwillingness to follow a specific pre-surgery schedule: Before undergoing bariatric surgery, you may need to attend consultation appointments and a strict preoperative schedule. Failure to do so may disqualify you from surgery financing.

Remember to thoroughly research your financial options and discuss them with your healthcare team during consultation. They can help you determine your unique situation's best course of action.

What To Do If You Are Disqualified?

If you find yourself disqualified for bariatric surgery, it's important not to lose hope. You can take several steps to improve your qualifications or explore alternative options to support your well-being.

First, don't be afraid to ask your surgeon or healthcare provider for specific reasons behind your disqualification. Knowing these reasons will allow you to work on improving the aspects of your health or lifestyle acting as barriers to surgery.

Consider making lifestyle changes that can support your journey to better health. Adopting a healthier diet and incorporating regular exercise into your routine can improve your overall well-being and may eventually change your healthcare provider's decision regarding your qualification for surgery.

Nicotine use is a common disqualifier for many surgical procedures, including bariatric surgery. If you are a smoker, quitting nicotine can significantly affect your qualification process. A range of resources are available, such as therapy, to assist with nicotine cessation.

In some cases, seeking a second opinion may be beneficial. Different surgeons and healthcare providers have different evaluation processes, and it is possible that you may qualify for bariatric surgery in another medical practice or country. For example, the qualification process in Mexico may vary from that of your local healthcare provider.

Lastly, keep in mind that bariatric surgery is only one tool among many for improving your health and well-being. If surgery is not an option, discuss other options with your healthcare provider, such as non-surgical weight loss methods, medication, and therapy.

Remember that the journey to better health is an ongoing process, and staying committed to positive lifestyle changes can still lead to meaningful improvements in your well-being, regardless of whether you qualify for bariatric surgery.

Also Read: Reasons Not to Have Bariatric Surgery (Key Considerations)

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