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About Your Care and Condition

At Spectrum Health, we understand the frustrations often experienced with being severely overweight because we specialize in obesity and obesity-related diseases. Over the years we have treated many patients who had given up hope of finding a solution to their weight problem.

That said, weight loss surgery should not be considered lightly, nor should it be considered as a first option in weight loss. Bariatric surgery alters your digestive system so in order for it to be successful, you must be willing to change your diet and lifestyle. In most cases, this surgery is not reversible. Because of this, not everyone qualifies for surgery. 

Bariatric Surgery Eligibility Requirements

Spectrum Health has guidelines and criteria that are followed to determine if bariatric surgery is right for you. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • You must have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or more plus a serious health problem such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea
  • You must be healthy enough to have surgery
  • You must have tried to lose weight by other means
  • You must complete a full evaluation by our multidisciplinary team which includes medical, surgical, behavioral and nutritional experts

You will have to undergo a wellness and psychological evaluation before your surgery to make sure that you are prepared medically and mentally for the surgery and the ensuing lifestyle changes that will be required for long-term weight loss success.

Other Benefits to Bariatric Surgery

Obesity is a major cause of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea, which are all potentially life-threatening diseases. Bariatric surgery aims to improve or resolve those diseases and give you a reinvigorated and healthier life. Spectrum Health patients who have bariatric surgery are able to lose—and keep off, on average—50 to 70 percent of their excess body weight. This can lead to a significant decrease in weight-related illnesses.

One clinical trial that compared two types of surgical weight loss procedures with medical weight loss found that bariatric surgery effectively eliminated the need for diabetes medication in more than 75 percent of the patients. Many patients reduced their need for diabetes medication, and there were substantial improvements in heart health, cancer risks, sleep apnea and cholesterol levels.

Calculate Your Body Mass Index

A person's body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat. You can determine your own body mass index here.