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Candidates for weight loss surgery

Bariatric weight loss surgery is an option for people who have been unsuccessful losing weight through diet and exercise and for individuals suffering from weight-related health problems.

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Qualifying for weight loss surgery in Florida

Weight loss can sometimes feel like a battle — and you might feel like you're losing that battle.

The bariatric surgeons and their teams at HCA Florida Physicians' doctor practices across the state will help figure out if you are eligible for weight loss surgery. They will guide you through the process from start to finish.

Candidates for weight loss surgery

Whether your surgery is covered by insurance or you are paying out-of-pocket, you will still need to meet certain medical requirements to be approved for bariatric surgery. Our surgeons and weight loss teams will be able to talk you through what you need to do to qualify. 

Eligibility for adult weight loss surgery

In general, we follow the basic weight loss surgery eligibility standards set forth by the National Institute of Health (NIH), American College of Surgeons (ACS) and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). According to those rules, you must meet one or more of the following:

  • Body mass index (BMI) ≥ 40 or more than 100 pounds overweight
  • BMI ≥ 35 and at least two obesity-related co-morbidities, such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea

Most patients also must demonstrate an inability to achieve and sustain healthy weight loss for a certain period of time.

However, each person is different. It's important to discuss your specific eligibility with a medical professional.

Requirements for adolescent weight loss surgery

We offer specialized weight loss programs designed just for children and teens. The first thing we do is work with you and your family to develop a nonsurgical treatment plan. If this is unsuccessful, we offer surgical options to get them started on the right path.

In general, teens must meet the following requirements to be considered for bariatric surgery:

  • Must be at least 16 years of age
  • Must have failed at least three months of organized attempts of weight management, as determined by your healthcare provider
  • Must have a BMI > 35 with serious obesity-related co-morbidities or have a BMI > 40

All teens and their families must be committed to comprehensive medical and psychological evaluations, nutritional counseling and long-term lifestyle changes. However, you don't have to do it alone. We can and will help you all.

Questions about weight loss surgery

Wherever you are in the weight loss process, we know you have lots of questions. We encourage you to ask those questions and to reach out to our specialists with any other concerns you have at any time. In the meantime, here are some questions we get asked a lot:

How do I get weight loss surgery?

Reach out to our teams. We will have an initial consultation with you and discuss your options, talking you through every step of the process.


What weight loss surgeries do you offer?

We are proud to be able to offer you many different types of bariatric surgery. We are also proud that we can offer a great number of those as minimally invasive procedures. This allows you to recover and get on track to a healthy lifestyle more quickly than ever before.

Some of the bariatric surgeries we offer are gastric balloons, bands, bypass and sleeves.


What does an insurance company require to approve bariatric surgery?

Our teams can give you a general idea, but the best thing to do is simply call your insurance company. This will allow you to get the exact right information.

Alternatively, when you come to us for a consultation, our teams can reach out to your insurance company to verify what the company needs. Either way, we can help you set a plan to meet those requirements.


Do you have a "program fee" or hidden costs?

No. None of our practices or providers will try to trick you or sneak in extra costs. They will be completely transparent with you about the price of your bariatric surgery and ensure you have all the information you need well in advance, especially if you are paying out-of-pocket.

If using insurance, you will be responsible, as usual, for copays and deductibles. You will typically also be required to pay for your presurgical liquid diet, which is roughly $100 to $300.


Why will I need to be on a liquid diet prior to surgery?

Mainly because it decreases the size of your liver, making surgery simpler, quicker and safer. Additionally, it will help you lose some weight before the surgery, which is a good start to successful long-term weight management.


How long will it take to get my surgery?

If you are paying out-of-pocket, it can be as little as four to six weeks, because you won't need to meet any insurance requirements.

If using insurance coverage, it often takes between six weeks to seven months. This is because they will have a list of criteria you'll have to check off first, which we'll help you do.

Additionally, if you can, we encourage most patients to lose 10 percent or more of their body weight before surgery. Even if it means taking a little longer before you can get your surgery, it can dramatically improve your outcomes.

Either way, we will work with you to make a plan to reach your presurgical goals.


How long will I be in the hospital?

Often, no time at all, thanks to our minimally invasive techniques However, sometimes more advanced or complicated surgeries will require a stay in the hospital of 24 hours or more.


What will I be able to eat and not eat after my surgery?

The short answer is, "it varies." Your surgeon and their team will talk to you about what to expect after surgery, what to eat, what to avoid and what to do. Your specific diet will be part of the highly personalized nutrition and exercise plan we make for you. You'll get all the support you need to understand and achieve that plan.