New ASMBS Bariatric Surgery Guidelines

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Over the years, the popularity of bariatric surgery has soared as a viable solution for those who are struggling with obesity and its associated health issues, aiming to achieve long-term weight loss. The NIH and ASMBS guidelines surrounding bariatric surgery have been established for several decades, aiming to maximize positive outcomes for patients. However, recent months have brought about some changes in these recommendations.

In 1991, the National Institutes of Health introduced specific criteria to determine eligibility for weight loss surgery. These criteria included having a body mass index (BMI) falling within the range of 35 to 39.9, accompanied by obesity-related health conditions, or a BMI of 40 or higher in the absence of such conditions. Over the past thirty years, these figures have undergone modifications based on a multitude of studies.

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) issued new guidelines for bariatric surgery towards the end of 2022, bringing about a reduction in the BMI range required for eligibility. According to the updated guidelines, patients now need to have a BMI ranging from 30 to 35, along with obesity-related health problems, or a BMI of 35 or higher without such conditions, in order to qualify for weight loss surgery.

It is crucial to understand that even with these guidelines in place, bariatric surgery remains a challenging process that should not be taken lightly. Therefore, it is strongly advised to consult experienced medical professionals for guidance before considering any form of bariatric surgery.

Bariatric surgery serves as a proven treatment option for individuals struggling with severe overweight or obesity. Adhering to the recommended guidelines laid out by the ASMBS helps ensure that patients receive optimal care throughout the entire bariatric procedure, from pre-operation to post-operation stages.

Bariatric Surgery Guidelines

Various health conditions such as sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and others continue to be factors considered in bariatric surgery eligibility, unaffected by recent guideline changes. Additionally, previous attempts to lose weight through diet and exercise remain as important criteria. In some cases, excessive weight or existing medical conditions may complicate the surgical procedure.

Despite the updated guidelines for bariatric surgery, a comprehensive evaluation is still necessary to determine if you meet the qualifications beyond BMI requirements. Emotional factors can also play a role in the decision-making process. Your initial discussion with the surgeon is designed to address your concerns and ensure that you are a suitable candidate for weight loss surgery.

Based on the consultation, the surgeon will recommend the most appropriate bariatric procedure for your specific needs. Each procedure, such as gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, Lap-Band® or duodenal switch, has its own distinctions. Factors such as your BMI, weight loss goals, and individual circumstances will help determine which surgery is most suitable for you.

Adherence to pre and postoperative dietary guidelines is essential. In the weeks leading up to the surgery, you may be required to lose a specific amount of weight to facilitate the procedure and reduce complications. Additionally, you may need to take supplements to ensure your body receives all the necessary nutrients after the surgery.

Following the surgery, a strict diet plan must be followed, which often begins with a two-week all-liquid diet. This phase can be challenging for many, but the changes in your body will aid in the transition. Hormonal changes will result in a quicker feeling of fullness and fewer instances of hunger.

It is important to recognize that bariatric surgery involves a comprehensive process with various considerations, both physical and emotional. By following the guidelines and recommendations provided by your healthcare team, you can maximize the potential benefits of weight loss surgery and improve your overall well-being.

Is Bariatric Surgery the Right Option for You?

When contemplating bariatric surgery, it is vital to recognize that adopting a healthier lifestyle and making long-term changes after the procedure is essential for sustained success. With the right level of care and commitment, weight loss surgery can yield remarkable physical, mental, and overall health benefits for individuals who are dedicated to putting in the necessary effort.

It is important to note that bariatric surgery may not always be the definitive solution, and it is imperative to consult with medical professionals before making any decisions regarding this treatment option. Seeking expert advice tailored to your specific circumstances ensures that you receive guidance that is well-suited to your individual needs. With the right support and guidance, weight loss surgery can be a transformative and life-altering experience.

By keeping these considerations in mind, you can make informed decisions about your health and well-being when evaluating the available options for weight loss. Understanding the guidelines associated with bariatric surgery empowers you to take charge of your healthcare journey and embark on a path towards long-term success through weight loss surgery.


The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) is the largest group of bariatric surgeons and integrated health professionals in the United States and the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) represents 72 national associations and societies throughout the world.

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