What Is a Maximum BMI for Bariatric Surgery?

Obesity is a complex health issue affecting millions of people worldwide. For individuals struggling with severe obesity, bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, has historically been the “go-to” as an effective treatment option. Recently, non-surgical weight loss procedures have been introduced to the market and are proving to be safe and effective options for those who do not desire or do not qualify for surgery.

One common question that arises when considering these weight loss options is whether there is a maximum BMI for surgery or non-surgical interventions. In this article, we will look at how BMI factors into the eligibility process for bariatric surgery and non-surgical weight loss procedures such as endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty and the Orbera gastric balloon.

Understanding Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a commonly used measure to assess an individual’s weight status. It is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. The resulting number provides a rough estimate of a person’s body fat percentage and helps categorize individuals into weight categories, such as underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese.

An individual’s body mass index (BMI) number is often used in determining eligibility for things such as medical procedures, insurance coverage, and more.

BMI categories

BMI and Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery, including procedures like gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and gastric banding, is a surgical intervention aimed at promoting weight loss in individuals with severe obesity. While BMI is a crucial factor in determining whether someone is eligible, there is no universally fixed maximum BMI for bariatric surgery.

Typically, bariatric surgery is recommended for individuals with a BMI of 40 or higher (or a BMI of 35 or higher with obesity-related health conditions like diabetes or hypertension). However, each case is unique, and factors such as overall health, medical history, and individual circumstances play a role in determining a patient’s suitability for surgery.

Surgeons may consider additional factors, such as the presence of obesity-related comorbidities, the patient’s ability to tolerate surgery, and the potential benefits and risks associated with the procedure. In some cases, patients with a BMI above 50 or extreme health conditions may be advised to pursue alternative weight loss options due to increased surgical risks.

BMI And Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedures

Non-surgical weight loss procedures, such as intragastric balloons and Suture Sculpt endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, offer a less invasive alternative to bariatric surgery. These procedures work by reducing the stomach’s capacity, leading to earlier satiety and decreased food intake.

Similarly to bariatric surgery, non-surgical weight loss procedures also take BMI into consideration when determining eligibility. However, the specific maximum BMI limit can vary depending on the procedure, the patient’s health, and the guidelines determined by the doctor. In general, non-surgical weight loss procedures are often recommended for individuals with a BMI between 30 and 40.

That being said, this recommended maximum BMI for weight loss procedures is not suggested for the sake of safety but rather for effectiveness.

In the case of the Orbera balloon, it is approved by the FDA for patients with a BMI of between 30 and 40, but if an individual who is out of this BMI range desires the procedure, it would be up to the discretion of the doctor to evaluate if they want to perform the procedure “off label.” There are many cases where patients under or over this suggested range have safely and successfully lost a significant amount of weight with the Orbera balloon.

A study of severely obese patients determined that endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty proved to be a safe and effective procedure for patients who are obese and have high-risk comorbidities. Patients with severe heart disease, respiratory disease, transplant patients, and patients with end-stage kidney disease were among the individuals who participated in the study.

The procedure was found to be more effective in patients who had a BMI less than or equal to 40, but it was also determined to be a safe and effective option for these high-risk surgical patients.

Another study that looked at high BMI patients (50+) for whom traditional bariatric surgery would be dangerous concluded that endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) is a viable option for morbidly obese patients that is safe and effective.

In fact, non-surgical interventions such as gastric balloons or ESG have been used to help super-obese individuals lose an initial amount of weight so they can be cleared for a surgical procedure in the future.

Like any medical intervention, the decision to pursue non-surgical weight loss procedures is based on a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s health status, risks, and potential benefits. Higher BMI or underlying health conditions may affect the suitability and effectiveness of non-surgical weight loss procedures; however, the attending doctor will consider all of these factors when creating a patient plan of care.

Importance of Individualized Care

It is important to emphasize that BMI alone does not provide a complete picture of an individual’s health. Each person’s circumstances are unique, and doctors must consider a range of factors beyond a maximum BMI for bariatric surgery when evaluating eligibility for a surgical bariatric procedure or non-surgical weight loss procedures.

A doctor trained in obesity medicine specializing in weight loss interventions will conduct a thorough assessment, taking into account the patient’s medical history, lifestyle, psychological factors, and the presence of obesity-related health conditions. They will work closely with the patient to determine the most suitable weight loss strategy that maximizes safety and long-term success.

While BMI serves as a useful initial screening tool, it is not the sole determinant of eligibility for bariatric surgery or non-surgical weight loss procedures. The decision to undergo these interventions involves a comprehensive evaluation of a patient’s overall health, risks, and potential benefits.

Where Can I Get Help With Weight Loss In New York?

A consultation with a qualified doctor like Dr. Steven Batash with the Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center in NYC can provide you with personalized guidance based on your individual circumstances and needs. These professional experts will create a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan that will consider the complexities of obesity and its related health conditions.

We understand how hard it is to struggle with weight loss and the feelings of hopelessness it can bring. There is hope, and there are options that can help you reach your weight loss goals without having surgery. Also, you will not be on your own; our compassionate and amazing team of professionals will be by your side, supporting you all the way. Contact us today and set up an appointment to speak with us about how we can help you become healthier and live life to the fullest.

Shopping Cart
Price Checker
Weight Loss Procedure Price Checker