If you are battling weight concerns and are thinking about bariatric surgery, you no doubt have questions. How well does weight loss surgery work? How hard is recovery? What is a patient’s life like after surgery? How do I even know if surgery is a solution that makes sense for my situation?

However, if you are serious about a weight loss procedure, there is one question that you should answer first: Am I candidate for bariatric surgery?

The experienced surgeons at Longstreet Clinic’s Center for Weight Management hear this question every day, and the answer is simple – even if there are some considerations involved. All answers involve your Body Mass Index (BMI), which you can calculate by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters.

“Weight loss surgery is recommended for patients who have a BMI higher than 30 with obesity related conditions [called comorbidities], such as type II diabetes and who have attempted to lose weight in the past,” said Center for Weight Management surgeon Eric J. Velazquez, M.D., MBA, FACS, FASMBS. “Surgery is also recommended for patients with a Body Mass Index of 35 or higher, with or without comorbid conditions. These guidelines are set by the Society of Bariatric Surgery and the International Federation of Surgery for Obesity.”

A healthy BMI is between 18.5-25; between 25-30 is considered overweight and over 30 is obese. Maintaining a BMI above 30 (sometimes even above 25) for an extended period commonly leads to other health concerns – comorbidities.

Common obesity comorbidities include:

  • Type II Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Certain types of Cancer

The great news is that bariatric surgery has been proven to help prevent or even reverse health concerns such as these. And, depending on the type of weight loss surgery performed and the individual’s background, the remission rate for type II diabetes post-surgery is between 70-85%, hypertension 65% (another 15% improved), sleep apnea 85-95%, and the risk of cancer is cut in half.

These realities are part of why guidelines for weight loss surgery recently changed. However, it is important to understand that many insurance companies are still adapting to these standards.

“These guidelines are brand new from October of last year (2023) and not all insurances are on board yet,” Dr. Velazquez said. “Insurances are still (largely) following the older guidelines for surgery that are a BMI of 35 with obesity-related conditions or a BMI of 40 without conditions.

“However, there are some insurances that are getting on board. I recently read an article that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New Jersey adopted the new guidelines and are now approving the new recommendations.”

Those realities are also why the Center for Weight Management has a dedicated team of professionals ready to deal with insurance providers on behalf of the patient – as well as a flexible payment plan for anyone who qualifies for a bariatric procedure.

If you do meet bariatric standards and decide to pursue a weight loss procedure, you will have to answer more questions. That is why the surgeons at the Center for Weight Management take time to meet with every patient and personalize each approach to bariatrics.

“One of the differences about our program is that (our) surgeons see these patients up front,” said Center for Weight Management surgeon Robert L. Richard, M.D., FACS. “It’s hard to know what kind of surgery anyone would need in a generic sense – because there are many options.

“That’s why we evaluate all our patients individually, go through their medical history, go through their activity, weight loss history – and we help that patient to understand what their goals of weight loss are and what (if any) comorbid conditions they have. All of that will affect what type of operation they choose.”

The Center for Weight Management’s board-certified bariatric surgeons are up to date on all the latest weight loss surgery techniques and procedures, including:

Each procedure is unique, and you should take the time to determine which best fits your situation, both physically and mentally. However, you should also understand that each surgery aids in portion control, changes the way your body processes food and results in a permanent change to your digestive system.

“We put our patients into the right operation at the right time. For instance, the sleeve gastrectomy might not be the right operation for someone who has really bad reflux, but it also may not be aggressive enough for someone who has severe diabetes,” Dr. Richard said. “The duodenal switch may be the best operation for a patient who has a severe case of obesity, with a very high BMI.”

Only by working together with a qualified and experienced bariatric physician, can you truly determine what best suits your needs.

“Our practice individualizes the use of these operations. We are surgeons who only operate on obesity, so this is what we do – and it’s all that we do,” Dr. Richard said.

That kind of knowledge can be critical when making a life-altering decision such as answering the question: Do I qualify for bariatric surgery?

If you are tired of battling obesity and are looking for a lasting and meaningful solution, the caring, comprehensive staff at the Center for Weight Management is always eager to discuss your situation and is ready to help. To learn more, please call Longstreet Clinic’s Center for Weight Management today at 770-534-0110 or toll-free at 877-921-0110. Or you can watch our online seminar then fill out our contact form, and our weight loss team will reach out to you.

Is bariatric surgery right for you? Background Image
Contact Us