Gastric sleeve requirements: what makes you a good candidate? 

Chapter 2

Here is the chapter on a subject a lot of you may wonder about in your pre-surgery research: gastric sleeve requirements! Once you’re in your doctor’s office, there are three things that play a major role; your BMI, age, and health conditions. But it is not as simple as that. There are more things to look into, including your physical, general, and psychological health condition. If you fulfill the requirements, then you will be able to get to the surgery.

Don’t forget that these steps are to keep bariatric surgery patients safe from the risk of complications. If you’re struggling with one of the requirements, do not worry, the doctors are always there for help.

Let’s see what it requires to qualify for sleeve gastrectomy surgery:

What are the gastric sleeve surgery requirements?

gastric sleeve requirements

So, we are here to answer the question “Do I qualify for gastric sleeve?” The main gastric sleeve requirements are:

  • BMI of 35 and up;
  • BMI of 30-35 with obesity-related health problems;
  • Being between 18-65 in age;
  • Unsuccessful weight loss history;
  • No severe health diseases;
  • A good understanding of the procedure;
  • A good understanding of risks and complications;
  • Willingness to change your lifestyle;

But let’s go more into detail:

BMI: You need to be overweight or obese, with a BMI of at least 35; A BMI between 30-35 with obesity-related health problems, such as sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, severe reflux, or high blood pressure. You will also need history of unsuccessful weight loss attempts through diet and exercise;

AGE: Being between 18-65 in age;

HEALTH: No medical conditions that would increase the risk of complications during or after surgery, such as active infections, kidney failure, lung or liver problems;

CHANGE: A strong commitment to making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity. A willingness to work closely with a team of healthcare professionals, including a surgeon, dietitian, and psychologist, to ensure the best possible outcomes;

KNOWLEDGE: A clear understanding of the surgery’s risks, benefits, and potential outcomes;

These requirements are necessary to prevent or reduce the risk of complications during or after surgery, including internal bleeding and stomach leakage.

It’s important to note that these requirements may change based on individual circumstances, and it’s best to consult with a bariatric surgeon to determine if gastric sleeve surgery is right for you.

If you want to know precisely if you’re eligible for the surgery, you can contact our team by filling out the form here or by clicking the WhatsApp icon you see on the left below. Our team will get in touch with you no time!

Age limit for gastric sleeve surgery: why does age matter?

Age is an important factor for bariatric surgeons to consider when evaluating a patient’s eligibility for gastric sleeve surgery, as aging can affect the body’s ability to handle the physical stress of the procedure and the changes that occur post-surgery.

Another related factor to consider is anesthesia, which can be complex in nature. The patient’s body must be able to tolerate and effectively eliminate anesthesia for the procedure to be safely performed.

If you’re considering a gastric sleeve operation and you’re concerned about your age, it is best to consult with your bariatric surgeon. Your surgeon can help you understand the role that age plays in the decision-making process and can provide personalized recommendations based on your individual needs and medical history.

The BMI factor: BMI requirements for gastric sleeve

The ideal body mass index range for gastric sleeve surgery is between 35-40, however, this is not a hard and fast rule. If your BMI falls between 30-35 and you have health conditions related to obesity.

What are the conditions you may have connected to obesity?

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • Sleep apnea
  • Heart disease
  • Acid reflux
  • High cholesterol

If you have one or more than one of these conditions, getting the operation will be an option for you still. These conditions often occur together and can worsen over time. However, with the help of gastric sleeve surgery, there is a good chance to reduce the risk of these negative health consequences. 

If your BMI falls outside of these guidelines, don’t worry! Your surgeon may recommend alternatives, less invasive options such as a gastric balloon procedure. It’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your surgeon to understand which options are best for you and your health goals.

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Are you mentally ready?

Being mentally ready for gastric sleeve surgery is an important factor in the success of the procedure and achieving long-term weight loss. Because this weight loss surgery involves making significant lifestyle changes that can have a big impact on a person’s mental health and well-being.

Gastric sleeve surgery requires a long-term commitment to healthy eating habits, regular physical activity, and behavior modification. These changes can be difficult to make and maintain, especially without proper support and preparation. Before a bariatric procedure, you can talk to a professional about your feelings so that they can provide the help you need.

What if I don’t qualify?

Don’t worry if you don’t initially meet the qualifications for gastric sleeve surgery. There are other options to explore. Your doctor will work with you to find the best solution, even if your BMI is outside the necessary range. Keep in mind that there may be additional risks and challenges if you are not a suitable candidate for gastric sleeve surgery. However, with the help of your doctor, you can navigate these obstacles and find the best path forward.

Statistically, the qualification scale determines the surgical and long-term weight loss success whether it’s age, health status, or BMI. 

  1. The results of weight loss for the elderly may be surgically possible but the weight loss results are not as successful as in youth age.
  2. If your health status shows active infections, pregnancy, cancer or organ problems will increase the complication ratio.
  3. Being out of BMI qualification whether it’s higher or lower will increase the health risks. 

What should I do to be eligible for gastric sleeve surgery?

The only factor that you can change is your BMI. Depending on where your BMI falls, the recommended actions for you will differ. Your doctor can guide you in determining the best steps to take.

If your BMI is too high for the surgery: In order to be eligible for the surgery, the doctor will recommend you do the pre-op diet. This process generally takes two weeks. Until the BMI decreases to 40 or less, then it will reduce the number of surgical complications and risks and you will be eligible for a weight loss surgery.

If your BMI is not high enough: If your BMI is not suitable for gastric sleeve surgery, the best thing you can do is to talk to your doctor. They can give personalized advice and suggest changes to help you reach a healthy weight. Your doctor may also discuss alternative treatments, such as a gastric balloon procedure, that may be appropriate for you.

BMIqualifying rangetoo hightoo lowhealthiest range
30-40                        ✅   
40+            ✅  
25-29             ✅ 
1824                         ✅

What happens if I get the surgery even if I don’t qualify?

If you don’t meet the requirements, that means weight loss surgery will be too hard on your body. The following points show the post-operative complications that could be faced after the treatment.

Blood clotting: Too high BMI can cause blood clots. This situation can delay the healing of stomach stitches. And that is the reason why it is recommended to lose a fraction of the excess weight before the surgery. Lowering your BMI a bit will prevent or reduce the risks of diseases, disability, or stomach leakage. However, the risks are not more than 3% for blood clots. 

Anesthesia risks: The body needs to be able to handle anesthesia. Depending on the age, the risks may differ. For younger patients, as the body is still developing, anesthesia may lead to unexpected complications. For older people, anesthesia is a very strong medicine. Also, if not vital, undergoing surgery is not suggested for elderly patients.

In conclusion, pursuing gastric sleeve operation is a big step towards improving your health and quality of life. Despite age, BMI factors, and overall health that bariatric surgeons consider when evaluating eligibility for gastric sleeve surgery, there are still steps you can take to better prepare for the procedure. Whether it be through dietary changes, exercise programs, or other lifestyle modifications, it is important to work closely with your doctor to determine what’s best for you. With their personalized guidance, care, and support, you can confidently move forward on your journey toward better health and a brighter future.

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Nevo N, Eldar SM, Lessing Y, Sabo E, Nachmany I, Hazzan D. Sleeve Gastrectomy in the Elderly. Obes Facts. 2019;12(5):502-508. doi:10.1159/000502697

Danan M, Nedelcu A, Noel P, Zulian V, Carandina S, Nedelcu M. Operative morbidity of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy in subjects older than age 65. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2019;15(1):8-11. doi:10.1016/j.soard.2018.10.009

Philip EJ, Torghabeh MH, Strain GW. Bariatric surgery in cancer survivorship: does a history of cancer affect weight loss outcomes? Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2015 Sep-Oct;11(5):1105-8. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2014.12.028. Epub 2015 Jan 1. PMID: 26048524; PMCID: PMC4501902.

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