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Am I a candidate for weight-loss surgery? | Qualifications for bariatric surgery

February 16, 2022

When it comes to losing weight, there are plenty of options for surgical bariatric procedures, like the Lap-Band®. However, it can be difficult to know when you qualify as a candidate for bariatric surgery. There are several factors you should consider when addressing your eligibility for Lap-Band, including your BMI, behavioral health, and mental health.

Qualifying for bariatric surgery: body mass index

Your BMI, or body mass index, plays a large role in determining your eligibility for bariatric surgery. Qualifications vary based on the type of procedure. Most procedures require a BMI of 40 or higher, or 35 or higher if you have one or more obesity-related conditions. However, the Lap-Band has been approved for patients who have a BMI of 30 with one or more comorbidities. These comorbidities include obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis, among others

Qualifying for bariatric surgery: behavioral and mental health factors

In addition to your BMI, there are multiple behavioral and metal health factors that should be considered when determining your eligibility for the Lap-Band Program. 


Weight loss doesn’t occur without hard work. Diet and exercise are a vital part of weight-loss success after surgery. Before starting the Lap-Band Program, assess your motivation to determine whether you’re committed to making the necessary lifestyle changes. 

Weight-loss history

When considering your eligibility, your doctor will also consider your past experiences with diet and exercise. Bariatric procedures like the Lap-Band are not “quick fixes” to lose weight. If traditional diet and exercise have not worked for you in the past, then the Lap-Band may be an option. 

Eating behaviors

It’s important to understand that the Lap-Band Program isn’t just about losing weight—it’s a step toward a healthier lifestyle. Your relationship with food should also be examined to understand how your eating habits will have to change. For example, if you’re an emotional eater, you’ll need to come up with alternative ways to handle stress.

Mood disorders 

Some mood disorders, like anxiety and depression, are associated with obesity. Untreated, these disorders can inhibit your weight-loss success after surgery. Like eating behaviors, they should be addressed before starting the Lap-Band Program. 

Alcohol and drugs

Smoking, alcohol, and drugs play a role in weight-loss success. Unmanaged problems with consumption may impede weight loss and prevent you from qualifying for bariatric surgery.

Choosing the Lap-Band system

For those who qualify for bariatric surgery, the Lap-Band Program offers several distinct advantages. Among the surgical weight-loss options, the Lap-Band may be the best solution for gradual and sustainable weight loss. During the Lap-Band procedure, an adjustable silicone band is place around the upper portion of the stomach. This band is adjustable, allowing your weight-loss solution to change as your needs change. Because the Lap-Band procedure involves no partial amputation of the stomach or intestines, it’s also the only bariatric procedure that’s completely reversible.  

To learn more about whether you qualify for the Lap-Band Program, register for our online seminar, or find a Lap-Band surgeon near you.

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Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems are approved for adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of at least 30 with health conditions related to obesity, who have not seen success with other weight loss methods, like supervised diet, exercise, and behavior modification programs. Choosing this surgery means committing to changes in eating habits for the long term.

The Lap-Band procedure is not approved for individuals under 18 yo, those with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or lead to poor results, such as inflammatory or cardiopulmonary diseases, problems with the stomach and digestion, symptoms or family history of autoimmune disease, scarring of the liver, individuals unable or unwilling to follow the necessary dietary restrictions, individuals with alcohol or drug addictions, or those currently pregnant. Individuals who become pregnant after band placement may require deflation of their bands.

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems, a long-term tool, may need to be adjusted if you get pregnant, sick, or malnourished. Be careful with anti-inflammatory drugs as they could make the band wear away. Like any surgery, placement of the Lap-Band may have complications such as risks from drugs and methods used, general surgery risks, how well your body handles a foreign object, or in rare cases, risk of death.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with metabolic and bariatric surgery that you and your doctor should discuss. Potential risks associated with the Lap-Band include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach blockage, constipation, swallowing difficulty, diarrhea, abnormal stools, abdominal pain, weakness, incision pain, infection, fever, hernia, chest pain, band movement, stomach pouch expansion, unusual healing, pain at the port site, port movement, and/or hair loss. Additional surgery might be needed. Losing weight quickly could lead to complications requiring more surgery. 

Talk to your doctor, and/or visit our website at for more information on its benefits and risks.