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Your Health: Who is a candidate for weight loss surgery

For millions of Americans obesity is a problem. Once diets and exercise have failed many turn to surgical procedures to lose the weight. Doctor Josh Roller tells us who is a candidate for weight loss surgery in this weeks your health.

For millions of Americans obesity is a problem. Once diets and exercise have failed many turn to surgical procedures to lose the weight. Doctor Josh Roller tells us who is a candidate for weight loss surgery in this weeks your health.

So when we talk about weight loss surgery, we're talking about surgery for patients who suffer from obesity. We define obesity as a body mass index of 30 or higher.

Body mass index is the term we use to compare apples to apples. We take height and weight into consideration. Generally speaking being about 50 or 60 pounds or more overweight makes you a candidate for weight loss surgery.  

When you get into weighing more, your BMI will go up.  To around 45 or 50 and that generally becomes 100, 150 pounds overweight and those are the people we consider candidate for weight loss surgery.  So severe obesity is considered 35 or higher, morbid obesity is considered a body mass of 40.

Those are the ones we focus on. Almost all of our patients have tried some other form of weight loss first. Usually we call that medical weight loss. Whether it's dieting or exercise prescription medication, psychological counseling, even hypnosis, those are the things we want people to have tried and failed. Now for our patient population that have that body mass index of 35 or higher, the chances of medical therapy working for them and being able to keep that weight off is less than 1 percent.

That's why we focus so heavily on surgery once they reach that body mass index. So surgery is for those people who have failed other methods and that's when we go to the operating room.

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