Who is Gastric Bypass Surgery for?

Gastric bypass surgery is a type of weight loss surgery that helps you lose weight and keep it off. It creates a smaller pocket within your stomach where food can fit, limiting how much food you can eat overall. With a smaller stomach, you feel full faster, and don’t eat as much. It is meant for obese individuals who have tried to lose weight with other methods and have not had much success. Doctors encourage this surgery for obese or morbidly obese people who are also at risk for medical conditions that might shorten their life.


The primary factor for who gastric bypass surgery is for is individuals who are in the obese or morbidly obese categories. Most doctors require patients to have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more. BMI is calculated based on your height and weight, as well as age. A BMI of 40 or more is considered morbidly obese. Obese begins at 35 BMI, so in some patients, 35-39 BMI can also be the basis for gastric bypass. This is especially true if, at a BMI of 35 or more, you are 100 pounds overweight and at risk of heart disease, diabetes, or sleep apnea.

Life-Shortening Medical Conditions

Aside from obesity, in general, gastric bypass surgery is also for individuals who are at risk for life-shortening medical conditions because of their obesity. This may include Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, obstructive sleep apnea, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. All of these diseases can shorten a person’s life by threatening it, and are considered weight-related health conditions. With gastric bypass, you can lose much of your excess weight, reducing your risk for these diseases.

Problems Losing Weight Naturally

Not all obese people can get gastric bypass, but some are not able to lose weight on their own. Doctors like to see patients who have tried for 1-2 years minimum with losing weight on their own. If you have tried dieting and exercise combined and still can’t manage to lose the pounds and keep off the weight, then gastric bypass might be for you. Gastric bypass is also not a quick fix to weight loss and takes a lot of hard work, but has a very high success rate in people who could not lose the weight on their own.

Guidelines for Gastric Bypass Surgery

You must be a candidate for gastric bypass, aside from being overweight, having the risk of medical conditions and not being able to lose weight on your own. Your doctor will want to make sure you meet all requirements, starting with checking your BMI, current lifestyle and eating habits, and performing a complete medical history. You also have to be the right age, as risks increase as you get older. If you can’t maintain a healthy lifestyle, you may be denied gastric bypass, because the work is still up to you after having the surgery.

If you have unhealthy habits, don’t be surprised if your doctor requires you to stop before approving you for surgery. Things like smoking cigarettes, doing recreational drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol must be stopped before surgery.