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Am I a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?

Body, Women's Health, Men's Health

If you've struggled repeatedly to lose weight — only to regain it — and you're heavier than you've ever been, you may be wondering: Is bariatric surgery an option for me?

“Bariatric surgery can be life-changing,” says Dr. Ryland Stucke, general and bariatric surgeon, “but it doesn’t provide all the same benefits or replace a healthy diet, regular exercise and enough sleep. If you’ve tried everything but still struggle to lose weight, weight-loss surgery may be the best option for you.”

Criteria for surgery

You may be a bariatric surgery candidate if you’re an adult who meets one or more of these criteria:

  • You have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more.
  • You have a BMI of 30– 34 along with one or more serious, obesity-related health problems — such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea.

Before you meet with a bariatric surgeon, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to discuss:

  • Lab work
  • Tobacco use
  • Sleep studies
  • Cardiology
  • Preventive screenings based on your age

You’ll also need to contact your insurance provider to find out what — and how much — is covered on your plan. If weight-loss surgery is covered, be sure to ask about any requirements they may have — like a supervised diet or specific weight loss amount.

A lifelong commitment

Having surgery to lose weight is a serious decision. And even if you're severely obese, it's only appropriate if you haven't been able to trim down with diet, exercise or weight-loss medicine.

Equally important, you must be willing to commit to healthy habits the rest of your life.

This surgery can help you shed a significant amount of weight — and even improve or reverse health problems like diabetes. But as beneficial as it is, it's not a magic bullet. To keep pounds from reappearing, you must maintain a healthy diet and get regular exercise.

Bariatric surgery in Portland

We’re pleased to partner with Oregon Health & Science University to offer bariatric surgery at our southeast Portland hospital. Learn more about our program, accreditation and team.

Sources: American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery; National Institutes of Health