Can Your BMI Be Too High for Bariatric Surgery?

April 26, 2023

scale and apple in left corner, apple wrapped in measuring

We must always discuss minimum qualifying criteria for bariatric surgery with our patients. For insurance coverage, a patient’s body mass index or BMI must be at least 35 with one or more obesity-related comorbidities or 40 or more regardless of comorbidities. Recent guidance from ASMBS and IFSO has reduced those recommended BMI levels, but insurance has yet to cover lower BMI surgery. That said, we discuss the upper limits of BMI far less commonly because no official guidelines to that end exist. With TV shows showing extreme BMI patients going under the knife (Think “My 600Lb Life) it’s certainly worth discussing because we see more high BMI patients than ever before. So, what are the challenges of working with a very high BMI patient?

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Insurance Tips for Bariatric Surgery

April 12, 2023

doctor and patient examining insurance policy at desk

When we think of any surgery, particularly bariatric surgery, we may wonder how to pay for it. Bariatric surgery is the only long-term proven solution for obesity, a disease that has reached pandemic status yet remains woefully under-treated. As a matter of policy, many people, even insurance companies, still consider it an elective procedure. As such, the insurance process is not as straightforward as other essential medical coverages, and some insurance companies do not cover bariatric surgery at all. One of the most significant barriers to bariatric surgery adoption is the insurance process and the paperwork required for a pre-authorization. While we try to guide our patients through the process as best we can, most of the work ultimately relies on them getting their medical clearances quickly and filling out their paperwork accurately.

To help, we have developed these five tips to make the insurance process more accessible and remove some uncertainty from what is otherwise a very exciting and hopeful journey.

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New 2022 Guidelines for Weight Loss Surgery

March 29, 2023

person standing on scale in background of coiled measuring tape

You may have heard the big news about bariatric surgery. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity (IFSO) updated bariatric procedure guidelines at the end of 2022. This was the first update in over 30 years. Body Mass Index or BMI was, and still remains, the primary determinant of whether someone qualifies for bariatric surgery. However, the BMI ranges have been updated to better reflect what we know about obesity and its effects.

To fully understand the implications of this new guidance, we must know more about the body mass index or BMI. Body mass index is a relatively simplistic calculation of height versus weight to estimate a patient’s ideal weight. According to the index, patients can be underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. First and foremost, these BMI numbers cannot accurately predict the diseases associated with morbid obesity. For example, some patients with a BMI of 30 may have significant comorbidities, while others with a BMI of 35 may have fewer and less severe problems. When we reach the higher BMIs – 40 and over – most patients have one or more comorbidities. Also, the BMI does not consider gender differences, muscle mass, body structure, and other critical factors that can help us determine if a patient is a good candidate for surgery. For example, a bodybuilder will often classify as obese when they certainly are not.

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How Quickly Can You Get Bariatric Surgery?

March 15, 2023

notebook, apple, water ,pen, utensils, measuring tape and pink clock scattered on white table

Many of our patients are excited when they decide bariatric surgery is the right option for their weight loss and future health. For most, it is a decision, years or even decades in the making. Many have tried and failed with diet after diet, finding themselves frustrated, regaining weight, and sometimes putting even more on. This weight loss, weight gain cycle can foster disappointment and eventually resign them to thinking that they are stuck with a lifelong weight issue and the diseases that come with it. It’s also important to acknowledge that the cost of bariatric surgery, whether using insurance or not, is significant and requires emotional dedication. There is a potential and major financial investment associated with weight loss surgery.

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The Difference Between TIF and Traditional Surgical Fundoplication

March 23, 2021

Before we get into a full comparison between TIF and traditional fundoplication, it is worth noting that fundoplication surgery has been exceptionally effective in the treatment of severe or uncontrolled GERD that has not responded to other lifestyle and medication interventions. The fundoplication has been the gold standard in reflux treatment for decades and continues to be used widely across the country and around the world. Millions of people have benefited from the immediate relief that fundoplication offers.

However, even the best procedures can be improved and the Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication or TIF is, in our opinion, an effective and less invasive option that gives many of the benefits of a traditional fundoplication without many of the risks including difficulty swallowing, gas bloat, difficulty eating and the possibility of an incisional hernia. Continue reading

Lucky Irish Cream Frozen Latte

March 19, 2021

Combining your daily coffee fix with a boost of protein kills two birds with one stone. Lucky for you, this Irish Cream frozen latte recipe is delicious and satisfying. This recipe serves two.

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Preparing for Your Consultation with Dr. Chang

March 9, 2021

Your first consultation with your bariatric surgeon is an exciting step toward a new and healthier life. Before we even get to the nitty-gritty of what you should bring or with questions you should ask, you should understand that taking this first step is no small feat and you should be very proud of yourself. One of the most common comments we get after the procedure is over is “why didn’t I do this sooner!” So you are well on your way.

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Strawberry Protein Waffles

March 2, 2021

Sometimes a protein shake makes for a convenient, quick breakfast. Other mornings a warm fluffy waffle hits the spot. Combine the two for a great breakfast option with strawberry protein waffles.

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Diets Versus Bariatric Surgery

February 23, 2021

Most overweight patients have tried to correct their weight with diet and exercise…usually multiple times.  There are hundreds of different diets.  In principle, a diet plan aims to reduce the caloric intake and/or increase the body’s ability to process certain food like fats and proteins. Most recently, the keto diet has dominated the headlines. 

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Pineapple Protein Whips

February 16, 2021

Light, fluffy and delicious, this recipe gives you a guilt free treat to enjoy while getting in an extra protein boost.

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