What is Morbid Obesity?
Morbid obesity can lead to a variety of health problems, known as co-morbidities, and shorter life. Treatment can lead to a better chance for good health and longer life.

As you might imagine, obesity is more than just your weight. Imagine somebody that weighs 300lbs. Now, think of what that person’s body habitus might be if they were 6’7” tall versus what it would be if they were 5’2” tall. Very different right? That is why we need to consider more than just a person’s weight.

We need to somehow relate a person's weight to their height. This is done through something call the Body Mass Index, or BMI. The BMI is simply a person’s weight indexed to their height. The BMI gives us a much more reliable way to estimate a person’s composition in regards to percentage of body fat compared to lean mass.

You can calculate your BMI two ways. One is to simply find your height and weight in a BMI chart, such as the one illustrated here. This table is intended for adults 20 years of age and older. We also provide a larger version for ease of reading.

 

BMI Chart

 

The other way is to enter your height and weight into an online BMI calculator.

 

Is Bariatric Surgery Right For You?

Much has been learned about the surgical management of morbid obesity over the last several decades, not the least of which includes who are the best candidates for surgery. Bariatric surgeons are constantly trying to balance the risk of the surgical procedures with the benefits gained by those procedures. We have done no service to our patients if we put them through the risk of surgery without every expectation that they will have a successful result. Even in the most ideal situation, surgery, while often a good option to assist with sustained weight loss, is not 100% effective.

As such, the medical community, in this instance the National Institutes of Health, has helped defined who the ideal candidates for a bariatric surgery procedure are. This selection criteria includes a consideration of a person’s BMI along with other medical conditions they may have in addition to their morbid obesity. The criteria serve to identify those individuals that stand to gain the most HEALTH benefit from a bariatric surgery procedure. Although some people investigate bariatric surgery as an option to help them look better, keep in mind the goal of any bariatric procedure is to make you HEALTHIER. Please note, these selection criteria are overall general guidelines, so even though you may fall into one of the groups that “qualify” for a procedure, individual circumstances may put you at an unacceptable risk for an operation. If you choose to have bariatric surgery, your choice should be based on discussions between you and your doctor about your condition, your goals, and the risks associated with any procedure.

As a general guideline, National Institutes of Health has set out the following criteria for patient selection for bariatric surgery:

The patient is at least 100 pounds above their ideal body weight or have a BMI above 40, or

The patient has a BMI of 35 or greater and additional health conditions affected by or associated with obesity

Examples of health conditions associated with obesity include, but are not limited to:

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Hypercholesterolerria

Urinary Stress Incontinence

Depression

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Pseudotumor Cerebri

Lower Extremity Edema

In addition to these criteria, there may be additional factors to consider which include, but are not limited to, the patient's history of weight loss attempts, psychological profile, and current health.