Anyone considering weight-loss surgery is going to have questions, and chief among is them is often whether they’d make a good candidate for this type of procedure. While the best way to get an answer to this question is to speak with a center that specializes in bariatric surgery, there are two big indicators that you can determine yourself. If you’re wondering whether you might be a candidate for bariatric surgery, you need to consider two things – whether you’re battling excess body weight and/or health conditions like type 2 diabetes. Here’s what research says about the efficacy of bariatric surgery as a solution to both issues.
Body Weight as an Indicator
Over the last few decades, research has tended to use body mass index or BMI as the primary way of categorizing us based on height and weight. A normal BMI is around 18 to 25, and over 30 is considered obesity. In the modern era, in which metabolic surgery is safer than an appendectomy and brings large long-term benefits in health and longevity, this procedure becomes a valid consideration when someone has reached a BMI of 30 or greater.
There is a large body of research demonstrating that people improve their health, reduce their risks, and generally fare better than their counterparts who continue battling their weight without surgery, at this level of obesity, starting around a BMI of 30.
You would think with all that research going back decades, such a well-proven treatment of such a widespread health condition would be considered a routine health intervention that is covered by health insurance. And it’s true, the health insurance coverage landscape is definitely moving in that direction. Unfortunately, it is still the case that treatment for obesity is not viewed the same as treatment for other health conditions. The way things stand today, you can expect health insurance coverage for metabolic surgery to kick in starting at a BMI of around 35. Some plans make it even more restrictive and do not provide coverage for metabolic surgery until the BMI has reached 40. Tragically, many health plans are still in the dark ages and do not cover metabolic surgery at all. What’s more, many plans put up a lot of nonsense hurdles for people to obtain medically necessary metabolic surgery, such as utterly disproven and wholly useless six-month waiting programs and medically supervised visits, before this highly effective, 45-minute metabolic surgery is covered. Just imagine the uproar if this kind of nonsense existed to block access to cancer treatment.
Health Conditions as an Indicator
The other indicator that you are a good candidate for bariatric surgery are specific health conditions. The most widely researched and definitively proven treatment for type 2 diabetes, for example, is metabolic surgery. Based upon more than 12 randomized controlled prospective trials, metabolic surgery more effectively treats type 2 diabetes than any other therapy, including intensive medical management with the most modern medications and programs. Those studies include patients down to a BMI of 27 typically and clearly show a strong benefit for metabolic surgery for just about everyone with type 2 diabetes, even with just a small amount of excess weight. Increasingly, all of the medical societies, diabetes societies, endocrinology societies, and dozens if not hundreds of organizations around the world now endorse metabolic surgery specifically to treat type 2 diabetes. And most of them include the recommendation to extend the coverage starting at BMI of 30. Do the insurance plans go along? Of course not! However, most of them do cover the procedure for type 2 diabetes starting at a BMI of 35, but once again with those disproven and unhelpful obstacles created to block access for people with type 2 diabetes.
The health conditions that indicate you are a good candidate for metabolic surgery include obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension, degenerative joint changes for location such as the knees and hips, hyperlipidemia, polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility, degenerative spine disease, pseudotumor cerebri, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. For all these conditions, there is a large body of research demonstrating that individuals improve their health and reduce their risks by undergoing metabolic surgery, even with all surgical complications or adverse events are factored in.
If you find yourself battling any of the above health conditions, or you have struggled to lose enough weight to get below a BMI of 30, then you are likely a good candidate for bariatric surgery. The surgery has changed a great deal over the years, and what amounts to a 45-minute procedure and four bandages results in disproportionately long-term positive results. If bariatric surgery is something you’re pondering, the team at Sasse Surgical would love to tell you more and answer all of your questions. Contact us today.