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Weight Loss Surgery Requirements

Many people struggle with severe obesity, despite repeated attempts to lose weight. We understand how frustrating it can be. But there’s hope. Bariatric surgery can be an effective tool to lose a significant amount of weight quickly.

At Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, we’ve helped hundreds of men and women achieve significant weight loss – and an improved quality of life – after bariatric surgery. Here are the factors we consider when deciding whether someone might be a fit for weight loss surgery.

Is bariatric surgery right for you?

Every person is different. That’s why we sit down one-on-one with you at your first visit to discuss your health and circumstances before deciding whether bariatric surgery might benefit you.

Before approving you for weight loss surgery, here are the general guidelines we look for:

  • BMI: You should consider a surgical weight loss solution if your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher. You may also qualify for bariatric surgery if you have a BMI of 35 or more with at least one obesity-related problem, such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, or high blood pressure.
  • History of previous weight loss efforts: Surgery should not be the first way you try to lose weight. All candidates for bariatric surgery should have a history of weight loss attempts with diet, exercise, or medication. Many insurance plans require documentation of previous weight loss efforts in order to cover bariatric surgery.
  • Knowledge of bariatric surgery: Bariatric surgery is a tool to help you lose weight. The procedure will not cure weight problems on its own. Before committing to a surgical weight loss solution, we will help you become fully aware of all possible risks, benefits, and side effects of bariatric surgery.
  • Commitment to healthy habits: Our team will do everything we can to support you in your weight loss journey. But only you can make the diet and lifestyle changes necessary to achieve your goals. You must understand and be committed to the lifestyle changes necessary to succeed. This includes agreeing to:
    • Participate in long-term, follow-up care
    • Seek treatment for any mental or emotional challenges that may stunt your progress after surgery

How to prepare for weight loss surgery success

Weight loss surgery is major surgery, so you may feel uneasy about what’s to come. But you won’t have to do it alone. We’re here for you.

Our caring team will make every effort to ensure your safety and comfort through this process. And we will teach you how to prepare for your weight loss surgery. You can do a lot to help ensure a smooth surgery experience and weight loss surgery success, too.

In the months before your surgery, you should:

  • Manage your medications: At your pre-operative visit, your physician will discuss any changes you need to make to the medications you take in the weeks before surgery. In general, you should avoid any aspirin and aspirin-containing medications for at least 10 days before surgery.
  • Quit smoking: We require all bariatric surgery patients to quit smoking three to four months before surgery. Smoking impairs wound healing and increases the risk of complications after surgery, such as blood clots. We can direct you to smoking cessation aids to help you quit.
  • Practice healthy habits: Getting your body in the healthiest state possible helps ensure successful outcomes. Make smart food choices and exercise regularly. If you get sick in the days leading up to surgery, call our office immediately. Your physician may need to evaluate you to see if you’re healthy enough for surgery.

Weight loss surgery: Attend a free information session

Are you ready to lose weight and improve your life? At one of our free information sessions, you can meet our weight loss specialists and learn more about bariatric surgery options. Sign up online or find a session near you by calling (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677.

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