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Gastric Bypass Candidates PDF Print E-mail

The gastric bypass and Lap-Band® procedures are not meant for everyone. One of the most important steps in approaching the gastric bypass is first determining if you are a candidate. Gastric bypass and Lap-Band® surgery offer a tool, that when combined with behavior modification, psychological adjustment, and reasonable exercise, can result in much more significant and lasting reduction in both weight and weight-related illnesses.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened a Consensus Conference in 1991 to determine who should be considered a candidate for obesity surgery.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a candidate for weight loss surgery must meet these criteria:

  • BMI of 35 or over with major comorbidity
  • BMI of 40 or over
  • Tried and failed reasonable non-operative approaches
  • Psychologically stable
  • Best possible medical condition
  • Surgery should be done in a multidisciplinary setting

If you have further questions about gastric bypass and requirements for surgery, feel free to post a question in the pre-op gastric bypass category of our gastric bypass forums.


  • BMI refers to body mass index. This index is an indication of weight taking height into account. Using BMI one can compare in a more meaningful way people of different heights and weights using a single number. You can calculate your BMI from the following formula: BMI = weight (lbs) X 700 / Height (in) X Height (in) or use the BMI calculator.
  • Comorbidity refers to other diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea which are directly related to weight.
  • Failed non operative approaches means that before a patient undergoes surgery she should be knowledgeable about nutritional issues and that she should have tried and failed reasonable diet and exercise approaches to weight loss.
  • Psychologically stable means that a patient's psychological status be optimized. Any problems in this area should be diagnosed and under appropriate treatment before surgery.
  • Best Possible medical condition means that a patient's various problems be fully evaluated and under appropriate treatment going into surgery. For instance patients with hypertension should be on drug therapy, people with sleep apnea syndrome should be on CPAP or BiPAP where appropriate, and smokers must quit at least two months before surgery.

BMI Calculator