Weight Loss Surgery 101: Requirements & More

Are you interested in learning more about weight loss surgery and whether or not you are a candidate? Weight Loss Surgery is a life changer for the right patient, and if you are wondering if you meet the requirements for bariatric surgery, keep on reading.

To better help you understand the different requirements for weight-loss surgery, our team of expert bariatric surgeons gave us first-hand information about everything you should know before having one of these procedures. Let’s go over the “hows” and “whats” about weight-loss surgery requirements.


Weight Loss Surgery Requirements and why they matter so much

Weight-loss surgery is one of the most effective ways to beat obesity. With that being said, this comprehensive weight-loss journey is not for everybody, and in order to make sure the right weight-loss surgery finds the right patient, there are important requirements to be met.

The general requirements for all Weight-loss surgery procedures are: 

  1. You understand that weight-loss surgery is only part of the process. Our surgeons all agree that those who are interested in learning about the criteria to qualify for weight-loss surgery should start by understanding the essential goal of bariatrics. Bariatric surgery is not a substitute for adopting healthy lifestyle habits, it’s only a stepping stone! Each of the weight-loss procedures available for patients has its own benefits and requirements, however, all surgeries have one thing in common: they require patient cooperation, eating healthy, and staying active. 
  2. You have a BMI of over 40. 
  3. You have a BMI of over 35 in addition to obesity-related illnesses. Medical conditions that may qualify for weight-loss surgery include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, severe sleep apnea, and cardiovascular disease. 
  4. You are more than 100 pounds overweight. 
  5. You have tried and failed to continuously lose weight with diet, exercise, and medical supervision. 

Meeting these requirements is one of the first things a bariatric surgeon will discuss with you after a consultation.

Learn about the precautions taken by the bariatric team at VIDA, with Maria García MD, Anesthesiologist specialist on bariatric patients

Candidates for Bariatric Surgery

When asked about the safest form of weight-loss surgery, our surgeons prefer to talk about every procedure on its own. Every patient has different needs, therefore it’s vital for the surgeon to go over the details of each surgery and help patients understand the most reliable option. See our FAQ session, “Is Bariatric Surgery for Me?” here.

Lap Band

When having a lap band or adjustable gastric band surgery, the surgeon uses a silicone band around the upper section of the stomach. By doing this, the patient is left with a smaller stomach that has limited space for food. Having a lap band is a unique form of weight-loss surgery because it is reversible. The silicone band is adjustable and can also be removed.

General requirements for Lap Band Surgery include:

  • Having a BMI of 40 or more
  • Being over  90 pounds over your ideal body weight 
  • A BMI of 35 to 39 can make you eligible for the lap band if you have a weight-related medical condition.
  • Be 18 years old

Gastric Bypass and Mini Bypass

Both the Gastric Bypass and the Mini Gastric Bypass help patients lose weight on 3 different levels: by restricting the amount of food a person can eat, limiting the calories the body absorbs and reducing the hunger hormone, ghrelin. During a Gastric Bypass, the doctor leaves only a small portion of the stomach as functional. The surgeon attaches the stomach pouch to a midsection of the intestine, bypassing up to 3 meters of the organ. (Check out our post Gastic Sleeve vs Gastic Bypass Surgery)

The general requirements for a Gastric Bypass are: 

  • Having a BMI of 40 or higher 
  • Having a BMI of 35 or higher and a serious obesity-related illness. If the patient is under 18, he or she can still qualify by meeting one of those two criteria.
  • A history of failed attempts to lose weight without the surgery

Duodenal Switch

This weight-loss surgery combines the benefits of gastric bypass and gastric sleeve. During the surgery, the doctor removes a portion of the stomach and skips two-thirds of the small intestine. This limits the amount of food patients can eat, the calories that are absorbed and the production of ghrelin.

The general requirements for Duodenal Switch surgery are: 

  • BMI of 50 or greater. Patients with a BMI of 40 or higher can be considered for this weight-loss procedure, but it is usually reserved for those patients with a higher BMI. 
  • Being 18 years or older
  • Unsuccessful attempts to lose weight through diet and exercise

Gastric Sleeve

New weight loss surgery options and techniques allow for less invasive and highly effective weight-loss surgeries, like the gastric sleeve. During this surgery, the doctor reduces about 80% of the stomach, leaving the patients with a petite sleeve-shaped stomach that can ingest less food.

The general requirements for a Gastric Sleeve are the same as the requirements for Gastric Bypass and Lap Band surgeries:

  • A BMI of 40 or higher 
  • A BMI of 35  or higher and obesity-induced illness
  • A history of failed attempts to lose weight without the surgery

Finding the best weight-loss surgery for you is a job best done by an experienced bariatric surgeon.  Call our team of experts in weight-loss surgery at VIDA Wellness and Beauty by dialing 1 (619)738-2144. Schedule your appointment, so an experienced bariatric surgeon will walk you through the entire process, from the main requirements to the positive changes you can expect after the surgery.

Interested in bariatric surgery financing options? Click here


Dr. Gabriela Rodriguez specializes in General and Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery. She brings to VIDA Wellness and Beauty a wealth of experience in bariatrics. Dr. Rodriguez is a founding associate of the Mexican College of General Surgeons. A world-class bariatric surgeon with double certification in the US and Mexico.